how do i add new chicks to my flock????

luvzmychickens

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 17, 2010
69
0
39
i have 3 6 week old Road Island Reds, they will soon be ready to move out to the coop, but i already have 5 other chickens out there... how do i add in the new ones (and at what age?) this is my first time adding new chickens and i dont know how to do it... please help!!!
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gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
432
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
I use an alternate method of integration.

If you've got the space and materials, set up a "grow out" coop (can be a dog house or hutch) INSIDE the chicken run fence, and then use garden stakes and chicken wire or poultry fencing to make a little run around that coop. Give the youngsters their own waterer and feeder. Leave 'em in there for a week or two.

The older birds will check 'em out through the fencing but not be able to harm them. They can all see, hear, smell each other and even peck a little and do chest bumps through the poultry fencing without any injury to the youngsters.

Then just remove the poultry fencing and garden stakes, but keep the feeder and waterer there for the kids.

The big chickens will react to them like, "Oh, I know you, you're not a stranger. Just remember *I* get treats first, and don't get in my way. I'm senior."

There will be some pecking, some chasing, some squawking, but nothing serious.

Good luck, whatever method you use.
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
5,142
682
This world is not my home.
I allow my young ones to be penned where they can be seen and heard by the older flock but no one can have contact. My broody pen is connected to my coop.

As I free range, it is just as easy as opening the door and letting them go. All the birds are so busy foraging they don't have the notion to tussle. The young ones just follow the older birds into the coop at night and there may be minimal fussing at roost time but nothing big.

If I had a penned run, I would use the method in the first paragraph for a week or so, then place the young ones on the roosts at night. By morning the older flock is familiar with their presence in the coop and may deliver a few pecks here and there at the feeding station but it shouldn't be anything major.
 

Shaun

Songster
11 Years
Sep 24, 2008
150
0
119
SW Central Michigan
I've added chicks lots of times, I make sure everyone can see but not fuss with each other for a week or two, and I might wait until they're a little older. Then, I wait until everyone is asleep, tiptoe out with a flashlight and add the new chickens to the coop. For some reason, when they wake up all in the same coop, there's less problem. Maybe their smell gets to be something usual in everyone's brain while they're asleep - who knows? There will be the usual "pecking order" tussles, but if you can let them free range it will help. The new birds may have to be put back in the old birds' coop for a few nights until they realize it's their home. I've never had any major issues integrating like this.
 

kitkatnoah

Chirping
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
140
0
99
Houston, Texas
Luvzmychickens, I am at the same point that you are right now. I am keeping 2 pullets in a large rabbit cage inside the chicken coop (they have their own feed & water). The older chickens see the younger ones and will be curious about the newcomers and will try to peck them through the cage, which is normal. Right now I have an older hen who is trying to lay on the pullets by laying on top of the cage, lol, she's going broody. I'll keep the pullets in their cage for a week or two until my established flock to gets used to them, then I'll open the door while everyone is roosting at night and put the young ones next to the older hens. I did the same thing for an older hen that was given to me and it worked like a charm.

Good luck & don't worry!
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donnavee

Crowing
12 Years
May 7, 2009
828
127
256
Hillsborough NC
I used the same method as others have recommended. I have a grow out coop with a separate run connecting to the older girls run. I brought the young ones outside to their own run at 4wks. When they were about 6wks, I let them free range for a short time in the evening with the older girls. They all stayed in their own little flocks and there was no fighting. When they were about 10wks old, I let them together in the run. No real fighting, more just stay out of my way because we were her first. I still kep separate food, water and the little ones still slept in the grow out coop. At about 12wks, hubby and I put the young ones on the roost at night with the big ones. Then I made sure I was out to supervise things at the crack of dawn in case there were any problems. There weren't any - everyone was fine. My "young ones" are now 26wks old, and everyone gets along fine, but the two flocks really didn't start "hanging out" together until the younger ones started laying eggs.

Another thing to remember, be sure you supervise those first attempts at integration and always have a place for the smaller ones to escape to if the bigger ones get too aggressive. I put up temporary netting with a small door for the little ones to go in and out. The bigger girls couldn't fit through it.

Good luck.
 

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