Barredrocker99

Chirping
Sep 17, 2020
68
55
71
Hello all!! I have ten hens, they’re all pullets, and they’re absolutely lovely! I would love to add to the flock, though. How would the chickens fare if I got some new chicks? I know a lot of the time when you add new chickens to a flock that has already established a pecking order and whatnot, it doesn’t tend to end well.. but I was wondering if it would make a difference if I let the chicks grow up a bit, then add them to the flock? I added all the breeds of hens I have in the tags, if that matters!
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
2,294
3,684
351
Lincolnton, NC
You will have to implement a see but no touch system; and when you feel the time has come, integrate them slowly. Your chickens may be lovely, but big chickens are not nice to new chickens or little chickens / chicks. It’s all about resources, and when they time comes to integrate you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of space, plenty of obstacles and hiding spots as well as additional feeding and watering stations around the coop and run.... the OGs will keep the newbies from eating and drinking.
 

Barredrocker99

Chirping
Sep 17, 2020
68
55
71
You will have to implement a see but no touch system; and when you feel the time has come, integrate them slowly. Your chickens may be lovely, but big chickens are not nice to new chickens or little chickens / chicks. It’s all about resources, and when they time comes to integrate you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of space, plenty of obstacles and hiding spots as well as additional feeding and watering stations around the coop and run.... the OGs will keep the newbies from eating and drinking.
Oh yes, I just meant they’re lovely in the sense that I’m just obsessed with them(lol!), but I know from experience they can be very aggressive if the situation isn’t handled correctly. That’s really good advice about the water & food station, thank you!! They would have plenty of room to hide from the big girls if they happen to bully them, so I’m not worried about that aspect!
 

FarmerGirl101

Crowing
Jun 20, 2016
1,464
2,737
302
California
You will have to implement a see but no touch system; and when you feel the time has come, integrate them slowly. Your chickens may be lovely, but big chickens are not nice to new chickens or little chickens / chicks. It’s all about resources, and when they time comes to integrate you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of space, plenty of obstacles and hiding spots as well as additional feeding and watering stations around the coop and run.... the OGs will keep the newbies from eating and drinking.
Just curious, why wouldn't just putting them into the coop not work? I usually just put them straight in and let them figure themselves out. They are fine in a day or too and I haven't had any deaths from that
 

Barredrocker99

Chirping
Sep 17, 2020
68
55
71
Just curious, why wouldn't just putting them into the coop not work? I usually just put them straight in and let them figure themselves out. They are fine in a day or too and I haven't had any deaths from that
Hens have a pretty strict pecking order, and when little ones, or even older but new ones are introduced, it screws up the whole pecking order, and they don’t take well to newcomers. I had hens several years ago, and when we brought in a new one that was even the same age as them, they rejected her and pecked her so aggressively she had to be culled. It can be pretty dangerous for all of them if you don’t take proper precautions!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
13,909
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop

Barredrocker99

Chirping
Sep 17, 2020
68
55
71
Some of us do an early integration, where chicks grow up more or less with the adults, and integrate in at around the age where a broody might naturally wean them. If you can set up for it, I feel it's the easiest way to add human brooded chicks to a flock.

Here's my article, there's several other people's set ups linked on it as well: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/
Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
2,294
3,684
351
Lincolnton, NC
Just curious, why wouldn't just putting them into the coop not work? I usually just put them straight in and let them figure themselves out. They are fine in a day or too and I haven't had any deaths from that

I only allow sleeping in the same coop once I see my chickens have accepted the new ones and allowed them in in the first place. They’re not necessarily going to get pecked to death, but it’s absolutely possible.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,727
1,047
401
Fleetwood, PA
I second the chicks growing up in a brooder in the coop & integrating young if you have the room. I did that this fall & the chicks were hanging with the big ones during the day by 5 weeks. They slept in their protected brooder escape area until about 6-8 weeks & then gradually started roosting with the big ones. It went amazingly smooth!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
26,727
18,527
857
Southeast Louisiana
They would have plenty of room to hide from the big girls if they happen to bully them

To me this is a key aspect. I don't know what you mean by "plenty of room", I have no idea what you base that on. Can they get out of line of sight and stay out or can the adults see them? Or maybe stay so far away it's not worth bothering them? It's not just square feet, it's also the quality of that room.

What often happens with mine is that if their personal space is violated the older ones run the younger ones off. That may be a peck and they run away but chasing may also be involved. If the younger ones don't have enough room to get away and stay away it can get bad. Some hens are just sadistic brutes toward weaker chicks or chickens and will seek them out to destroy them but I find these to be relatively rare in my flock. Sometimes chicks as young as two weeks being raised by a broody hen can intermingle with the adults without a problem.

The idea behind housing them across wire is that some chickens will attack strange chickens. That can be a rooster or one of the hens. This does not mean that every chicken in the flock will immediately try to run off or kill any stranger they see. From what I've seen most will not. But enough do that it is often beneficial to house them across wire for a while so they are no longer strangers when they mingle.

Just curious, why wouldn't just putting them into the coop not work?

Sometimes it will. Each chicken has its own personality. Some coops are big enough and have enough hiding places or ways to avoid the older ones that it can work. This is not a black or white issue, there is a lot of gray involved. It's not that it never works or that it always works, there are a lot of different factors involved. You don't get guarantees with our suggestions, they are intended to help your chances of success.

My brooder is in the coop so my brooder-raised chicks grow up with the flock. My broody hens raise their chicks with the flock from Day 1. I have a relatively large coop with enough clutter. Even when I am crowded every chick or chicken has at least 60 square feet per chicken outside and I have weather where they (adults and chicks) can be outside all day every day. I have several feeding and watering stations, inside the coop and outside. My brooder raised chicks are roaming with the flock at five weeks of age. My broody raised chicks make their way with the flock on their own whenever the hen weans them. A couple of times that has been as young as 3 weeks. 4 weeks isn't unusual. Mine don't start sleeping on the roosts until they are older but when I open the coop in the morning it is pretty normal for the chicks to be on the roosts while the adults are on the coop floor. Those five feet high roost are a safe haven for them. If your roosts are low enough that the older ones can peck them when they are on the roost it is not a safe haven.

A lot of the time these integrations go really well, even if you don't follow all of our suggestions. Really, it can be that easy. But dumping small chicks in a small tight coop or coop and run where they are shoehorned together is no very likely to work.







 

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