How long to keep new chicks in kennel before integration?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Summer98, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Summer98

    Summer98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some two month old chicks that I am integrating into an older flock. They are inside a dog kennel, which is inside the coop they will be joining. They have sat in this kennel for three days. The chickens can see and hear everyone else, but can't touch. When can I open the kennel door and release them?
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I usually wait a week to 10 days and then integrate but I leave an opening in the kennel so the little ones can escape if the older ones give them too much grief. I also keep feed and water in the kennel because sometimes the older chickens try to keep them away from "their" feed and water. Everything usually calms down after a week or so. Hope this helps.[​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:


    Integration of new chickens to flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Very nice information from Aart. I’ll elaborate on a bit of it.

    One way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is in case of conflict the weaker runs away from the stronger or just avoid them to begin with. Room to run away or avoid is very important. The adults will outrank the younger chicks until they mature enough to make their way into the pecking order. For my pullets that’s normally when they start laying eggs. Until then the younger seem to form a separate flock, living peacefully with the older but keeping their distance. Sometimes they will mingle with the adults but they run the risk of getting pecked to remind them it is bad chicken etiquette to invade the personal space of your betters.

    I integrate mine at 8 weeks, but my brooder is in the coop. The chicks and chickens have been next to each other for those 8 weeks. I also have a lot of room. The younger chicks have their own separate place to sleep in at night and lots of space during the day. I also have three or four separate eating and watering stations so they don’t have to confront the adults to eat and drink. Depending on your conditions and set-up, you might be able to do this earlier than 8 weeks or it might be best to wait until much later. We are all different.

    I’ve never lost a chick to the adults integrated this way, but others have lost chicks at integration. I really think space is the biggest concern. As long as they have room to run away or avoid it normally works out.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Summer98

    Summer98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ended up having them in the kennel inside the new coop for one week. Everything went well. Now they intermingle fine. There was some mayhem for the first few hours, but nothing deadly. Mostly pecking and chest butting. ;-)
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I start integrating new chicks when they're just two weeks old by letting them visit the big chickens for a few hours during the warmest part of the day. They're in a "playpen", and safe from getting pecked. By age four weeks, they're mingling with the adults, but they have the safety of their playpen to run back into if chased. There are numerous entrances to it so they can't get trapped with no way to get back to safety.

    This is the most important thing - making sure there aren't any dead-ends, corners where the chicks can get trapped and pecked to death. As long as a small chick has ways to evade an adult bully, they do very well with the main flock. Mine are fully integrated between six and eight weeks of age.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I like this idea...and used it integrating different aged chicks last spring.
    Think I'm going to apply it further with small doors in the coop partition next year.
     
  8. Summer98

    Summer98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How would it go if a mother hen hatched them in the coop to begin with? My broody hen hatched them elsewhere on the farm and that's why I had to slowly integrate them back into the original coop. But what if she had hatched them in the nest box to begin with?
     
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    It generally goes very well. I have never separated a broody from the flock and have never had any issue through multiple hatches.
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Meant to add - it does require that there be sufficient space for everyone - so I would not try it in any of the small pre-fab setups out there.
     

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