How & when can I add new chicks to my existing flock??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ktornadoes, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. ktornadoes

    ktornadoes Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2015
    Ohio River Rat
    I have 4 chicks ranging in age from 7 to 10 weeks in a brooder in my garage. I have 6 other chickens (2 roosters, 4 hens) who are 24 weeks and are free ranged and in my coop outside. My 6 birds in the coop are on layer feed, and my 4 in the garage are on medicated starter/grower. Both flocks do not have access to seeing one another, but i have introduced them a few times, to which one of the roosters acts aggressive. My questions are, how should I introduce the two flocks when they're on different feeds, and when or at what age should I try to mix the two flocks? I've read so many different thoughts on how to do this, I wanted to get some of your thoughts. Thanks very much for your time and help!
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Your 7 and 10 week olds are ready for a non-medicated grower feed. When you fully introduce, you can switch your 24 week olds back to grower as well.

    You need to do a separated introduction; the best way to do this is to place a large dog cage or crate in the coop, and use chicken wire or a similar material to cordon off a corner or end of your run. For the first 1-3 days, the new birds should stay inside their crate/cage inside the coop itself, to teach them where to sleep. After this, you can allow them to spend the days inside the cordoned off run. This should take place over 1-2 weeks. Once this period is over, you should wait until nightfall, remove the barriers, and place the new birds on the roost beside your existing flock.

    When your youngest birds reach 16 weeks, you can switch back to a layer feed.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

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

    Integration of new chickens into 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.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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