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??How do I add to my flock without risking my current chickens??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by keysfarmgirl, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. keysfarmgirl

    keysfarmgirl In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2009
    Florida Keys
    I just got the Chicken Health Handbook, which is a very good book. One thing that worries me is that it says:
    --Do not mix older chickens with young ones
    --Do not add new chickens from different sources
    I have 2 pullets (8 months old) and I want to get more. I would be getting young birds from a different source, but one I think is reputable. Now I am worried that I am risking my hens health. Is it really that bad to add to your flock?

  2. DiVon80

    DiVon80 Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Pearl River,Louisiana
    Buy babies(day olds) and keep them in your house away from the others. If there is a problem it would probably come up in the first month. Thats what I do. By the time the littles ones or old enough to mix w/ the others things should be fine.[​IMG]
  3. Mrs. Turbo

    Mrs. Turbo Songster

    Jan 26, 2009
    yup, get eggs or day old chicks
  4. Driftwood Coop

    Driftwood Coop In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2008
    Amesbury, Mass
    It's tricky. I think if they are the same breed it might not be as difficult. I added 6 to my existing flock of 4; they were about 1 1/2 months apart in age. It took them about 2 months to fully assimilate,and even now, 6 months later, they prefer to hang out with their original flockmates.
  5. keysfarmgirl

    keysfarmgirl In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2009
    Florida Keys
    My current 2 are Ameraucanas. I have bought 3 Buff Orps that are 7 weeks old, but I have not picked up yet. I was going to get them when they are about 12 weeks old. I can't get the day old chicks because I am not set up for raising from that age, so I like to get older chicks or pullets. Is it terrible to mix them at this age?
    Do I need to keep the 7 month old Ameraucanas away from the 12 week old Buff Orps? If I do, for how long? I am nervous about introducing any health issues AND about the older ones beating up the babies. yikes!!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quarantine for at least a month anything but day olds from a reputable hatchery. Even if a private seller assures you that all their birds are healthy, they may be carrying something and not showing symptoms yet.

    After quarantine it's still best to keep the younger ones seperate from the older ones until the older ones show they are ready to accept the youngin's. This can be accomplished by creating a see-thru barrier in the coop made out of chicken wire with the young ones on one side and the adults on the other.
    Even after they are free to mingle expect some pecking and fussing. As long as no blood is being drawn they'll work it out.
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. I quarantine my new birds for at least a month before I introduce them to the others. I put them in adjacent runs for awhile so they can get used to seeing each other. I take them out of quarantine after a month. I put mine together when they are about the same size. They will still establish their pecking order. I first let mine range together when my pullets are around 15 weeks old but watch them carefully. Initially when I let the birds out in the yard to free range, I put some scratch and seeds out in the yard so they will fixate on the treats instead so much on each other. I had two of my older hens pounce on some of the younger ones and even pull some feathers out. and yes they can kill other birds. I put the aggressive ones in a separate run for a week where they could see the others. When I let them back out with the flock one was still a bit aggressive. I happened to have a hose in my hand and when one of the older birds jumped on a younger one I gave her a shot of water from the hose and she got off and ran into the coop and didn't come out for awhile. The older birds still chase the younger ones once in awhile. One of my big girls will still pounce aggressively on the younger ones. I try to get her when the hose is in my hand and if I can try to catch her in the act so she will associate the shot of water from the hose with don't do that. There are pictures on my BYC Page.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009

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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  9. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    What about your own hatches I am running out of room
    oldest hens a year old and another group about 6 weeks old.
    also another group about 2 weeks old.
    Can i put them all together in the large coop.
    when they get a few weeks older?
    in the evening ,
    when the older ones are roosting.and maybe wont
    pat attention?
  10. keysfarmgirl

    keysfarmgirl In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2009
    Florida Keys
    Thanks for all the input. I will have to figure out how to build a quarantine area. These are things you don't think about when you are new to chickens. It can get a little complicated considering the chickens are so "low maintenance". Hahahahaha:lol:

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