Integrating Experiences?? (And adding chicks to flock questions)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Morgan7782, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    If you have had a good or bad experience introducing new chickens to an existing flock, please share your story here. I am fairly new to chickens, and will be doing this in the upcoming summer. I would appreciate any tips and stories [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  2. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to say the worst experience I had when introducing a new chicken to my old flock (a Japanese Bantam hen to a small flock of silkies and one Sebright) was that one of the normally docile Silkies chased the poor Japanese around the yard (literally) and pecked at her head. The Japanese was a loud, human-hating screaming hen and I guess she just got on that one Silkies nerves. If chickens could sing Opera, that hen would have been a star [​IMG]

    Otherwise, no issues with introducing new members. After quarantine I generally watch them for a while to make sure theres no blood shed and let them be. The first few days I had to hunt her down to put her in the coop, then they seemed to call a truce and she went in by herself with the others.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My first experience integrating was tough. I put them for 7 weeks where they could see each other. Then when the chicks were 14 weeks, I put them in the coop at night. My first mistake was putting one of the cockerals in first. He freaked out and sounded his alarm, which woke everyone up. All but 1 of them did fine, but for 2 weeks there was a lot of chasing, bullying, pecking, etc. (no blood) One cockeral however, was pecked pretty badly on the top of his head.(blood) He had messed up toes, which caused him to be unable to roost. So he couldn't get away from them. I'd go out and find him in a corner with his head pushed through the fence so they couldn't peck at him. I tried everything, giving him hiding place in the coop, but nothing worked, so I removed him from the coop and put him back in the other one by himself. After that, I determined that his vision wasn't the greatest either. When he'd peck at something, he missed a lot.

    My 2nd integration, I blocked off an area and made an opening that just the babies could fit through. Again, I put them in at 14 weeks and at night. (after seeing each other for 7 weeks) Everything went really smoothly. They didn't even really use the hiding spot much, unless my RIR came into the coop, she's not very nice to the "new kids". The 2nd day there was a tiny bit of chasing, but nothing compared to the first time. They are now 19 weeks old and they will all lay down together, but the new ones are still kind of a mini flock within the flock. (they cruise around together) There's the occasional squabble (usually over scratch) but everything really went peaceful.
     
  4. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Thank you very much for the tips guys! I have never gotten new chicks while I had older girls, so this is new and I would like it to go well [​IMG] I have one BR and one EE both girls and both 9 weeks old. Neither is a bully type, but the BR is definately the dominant hen. I will have a new, bigger coop/run for the 'big girls' and use my CURRENT coop/run for the younger chicks as they get older. It's already 95 here now expected this weekend so the new chicks will probably be able to go out to their coop sooner then the BR and EE had. They will be sharing a fence and such, to get used to each other without the dangers of touching.

    I have another question though. I will be getting my NEW chicks from the same feed store I got the EE and BR from, and they come from Belt Hatchery.

    A.) How long do I need to keep them QUARNTINED?

    B.) My 9 week olds are on grower feed now, can I feed that mixed with chick medicated feed for the new chicks? Or do I absolutely need to stick with Chick Starter ONLY with no grower mixed in? How would you all manage feed for two 9 week olds, and then the new babies that will be a day or so old?
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Your older ones are 9 weeks old? Well then, you may have it easy. It is so much easier to integrate when they are young. My hens were 9 months old when I integrated the first time, and over a year the second. I've integrated chicks of different ages, and had no trouble whatsoever.

    Just give the new chicks some time to get some size on them (4 weeks or so), then you try putting them all together. I feed chick starter only until the youngest ones are 12 weeks old, then I switch to Flockraiser. You might have to switch earlier (or separate feeding areas, like an area only the babies can get into for food), once the older ones begin laying, they need to be switched to layer feed. (or flockraiser) The day old chicks will basically be quarantined while in the brooder.
     
  6. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Thanks for the information [​IMG] My chicks will be around 12/13 weeks old when I get the day old chicks.

    About the quarntine: It is getting HOT here, I wanted to bring the new chicks outside to enjoy fresh air at about a week old (will probably be in upper 90's) but they will be exposed to my older chicks because of the shared yard. Different runs but they will be very close together. Is the quarntine for health reasons? Or safety for the little ones sake? If for health reasons, when will I know I can have the older and younger groups sharing a area? Thanks again!
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't quarantine day olds for health, but you want to make sure they don't get trampled by the older ones. Put them together at about 4-6 weeks, when they have some size to them and won't be trampled or squished.
     

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