integrating chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sueandthe6, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. sueandthe6

    sueandthe6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    122
    1
    61
    May 18, 2014
    southeast Pa
    I have two 8 week ish cochins that I might need to work into my flock. I adopted them as marans but marans they are not. :( However, they may also not be girlie girls. double :( I moved them outside this week (they had been in a crate on my kitchen table). I have a plastic crate connected to a wire one so they have space and the girls can see them. Today for bit I left them out to roam the run with the older girls. The first time I had put them out maybe two weeks ago just in a wire crate in the yard- the wynadotte really was after them through the bars. So today I watched her closely but she really was ok. Surprisingly the leghorns both went after the chicks several times although they had been seemingly oblivious when I was only putting the chicks out for a few hours while the girls fee ranged. Anyway- the leghorns were pretty serious about their feelings- actually grabbing the cochins feathers. I scooted the leghorns away and stayed close and in the end after about 15 minutes everyone was dong their own thing. I did not leave the cochins out- that will be a long time coming I suspect. This is my first time ever with chicks and integrating them. If either one is a pullet- and I do need to integrate- can I just keep letting them together for longer periods supervised? I work three jobs-just under 70 hours a week) so I don't get a lot of time to spend with them. Will twice a week "together time" be enough?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I think the most common thing is to let them live side by side for some weeks, where they can easily see and hear each other but there is a chicken wire or similar fence between. Then when they are all about the same size, just turn them loose and let them work things out, intervening only if blood is drawn. A very good sized area to put them into together, preferably with hiding places and separate watering and feeding stations helps lots. Another method is to place the new birds on the roost after dark -- and hope by morning the current flock has accepted their presence.

    People have used many methods. Where I live, people just throw the new ones in with the olds ones when they arrive, and let the squawking begin. How many chickens this harms or kills, I have no idea. I do know my neighbor did it recently with all laying age birds, and the only thing that happened was the pen was noisier than usual for a few days. These birds were fenced but in a good sized yard with grass, weeds and bushes.

    Here's a short thread with a great article about integration linked in post 2:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/803815/integrating-two-groups/0_20
     
  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    460
    67
    121
    Dec 10, 2013
    Tennessee
    Whenever I introduce new chickens I let them live side by side with no mingling for a week or two. Then I make an escape area for the newbies. Just a small wood frame covered with chicken wire. I make the doorway big enough for the younger chickens to get in and out but too small for the older chickens. I put food and water in it in case the older ones give them trouble at the feeder. The pecking order is usually settled in a week or so. I know its hard to watch but try not to interfere because this just delays them in establishing the pecking order and settling in together. Short visits won't let them settle in either. I have integrated new chickens into my flock twice and this method has worked for me. But keep in mind if you have a bleeding chicken get it away from the others asap.
     
  4. Farmer Ken

    Farmer Ken Out Of The Brooder

    39
    3
    23
    Jun 25, 2014
    Golden Vally AZ
    x2 on mtngirl35's post.

    If you go to fast you will stress out your flock. The new chickens are seen as invaders and not new members of the flock. And you may even end up with dead birds and no egg production .
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by