Integrating a new flock

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Otter Chicken, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. Otter Chicken

    Otter Chicken Hatching

    Jan 20, 2015
    I've been reading a lot about integrating my new flock and my old flock together on here and thought I was ready. I have the following:

    10 month old hens:
    3 Araucanas
    1 Rhode Island Red
    2 Barred Rocks

    11 week old hens:
    2 Black Sex Links
    3 Black Austalorps
    2 New Hampshire Reds
    3 Buff Orphingtons

    1 11 week old Araucana Rooster

    I put them next to each other through a screen door for a few weeks and let them mingle for a little bit of and on a couple times. 2 days ago I put them together. They have a 4x8 coop at night and add a large run during the day. The babies seem to be really scared of the bigger girls even though only two of the adults really pay much attention to them. As I have read, it seems the lowest of the older girls are the ones that go after the bakes but it hasn't seemed too bad. No blood, just pecking and squealing by the babies. My concern is that the babies all stay huddled in the corner in fear anytime the big girls come in the coop and won't go outside for the most part unless we force them out.

    Should I consider this normal and expect that it will get better with time? Or am I trying to integrate them too early?

    Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks in advance.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The best time to integrate is when the younger ones are about 16 weeks old. Before that, there is always the risk of bloodshed. If the younger ones won't stand up to the older ones, it is only a matter of time before one of them will be cornered and bloodied/possibly killed from my experience.
  3. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    The best way I found to introduce them is this: Once the new birds are 10 weeks old, put them in a cage in the run with the other chickens. This insures they they can see and meet but not reach and attack one another. After about two weeks of this, I let them mix. I made sure they have lots of room to run and hide along with extra feeders and waterers. (Bossy hens will hog feeders and starve new birds.) After about a month, they get along like long, lost sisters! They really love each other!

    Know that there will be some brutal fighting. This is necessary. Only interfere if one chicken is being turned on or if there is blood shed.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I would cage the worst bullies and let them sit for a few days and see if the other chickens accept the younger ones.
  5. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Good advice.
    Make sure when you introduce them, the space isn't too tight. You want the younger ones to be able to get out of the way and not be in the others faces because they have no where to get out of the way.
    It's better too if the younger ones sound like chickens and are no longer making peeping baby noises.
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! X4, a long time of getting to know each other with wire separating them before hand and waiting until they are the same size before combining them usually works best. One other thing, if I understand your coop and chicken numbers correctly, 17 chickens in a 4x8 coop is really really crowded if they have to spend any time in there. Nice article from the Learning Center
  8. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    You've received some good advice already! Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  9. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Songster

    Dec 23, 2014
  10. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] We're glad you joined us!

    Good luck with integrating your flocks!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: