Integrating just one bird to an established flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickensofBBN, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. ChickensofBBN

    ChickensofBBN In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2014
    Lexington, KY
    We bought three pullets about a month ago. We lost one of the pullets last week [​IMG] We discovered an injury and infection a few days after we got her home from the breeder, but by that time it was too late to save her [​IMG] We also discovered poultry lice on one of the other pullets when we got home [​IMG] It took us three weeks to fully clear up the problem. Obviously we aren't going back to that breeder again. Being such newbies to chicken owning, we were sorely naive about buying from local breeders, and didn't know all of the dangers and concerns until we ran into them first hand. Now we know the signs to look for, and that it's not worth the potential risk just to get a special breed or color.

    So we have two "pullets", and just finally accepted the reality that one of them is actually a boy! We live in the city, and it simply isn't an option for us to have a rooster, so we're in the process of rehoming him. Now we are down to the unexpected problem of trying to integrate a single young chicken into an existing flock of nine. Our first thought was to try to buy a couple more pullets around her age, integrate them to her first, and then integrate this new flock in with our older girls. Unfortunately we can't find any pullets within an hour drive that fit the age range! [​IMG]

    My question is - have we set ourselves up for an impossible task? Is there a way to safely integrate a single bird into an existing flock? Currently she is roughly 13 weeks old, and our older girls are all about 7 months old. For now, her and her boyfriend [​IMG] are living in a brooding pen in our garage, and have supervised free range in the evenings with the older girls.
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's different with every flock. It's a good sign that you can put them together with supervision. I would try to let them live next to each other, separated by a wire fence, maybe for a few weeks, or til the young one is about the same size as the rest. It may go better than you fear!

    Here is a good article about integrating; mabe you can pick something up from it.
  3. ChickensofBBN

    ChickensofBBN In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2014
    Lexington, KY
    Thank you!
  4. fiefs20

    fiefs20 In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2014
    I'm going through roughly the same thing. I however have 3 littles and 5 in my established flock. I tried putting them together a few weeks ago but learned a very valuable lesson. Since then, I bought a dog cage put it in my run with a waterer, feeder, and a dowl for them to pearch on. They've been in that for about 5 weeks now and they're 13 weeks old. I finally took the plunge and put them in the coop last night with the big girls and let them free range all day with the big girls trying to get them to integrate. So far things are going well. No chicken massacre happening and I made sure I woke up before dawn to open up the coop and run so they could get out and have many hiding places from the big girls.

    With you only having one I'd wait until she is full grown then try the method of putting her in the coop with them at night. After dealing with almost loosing three chicks at 8 weeks old because I was too naive to think they would be fine since its 3 against 5 I learned I was totally wrong. Be very careful.
  5. nayeli

    nayeli Songster

    Jan 18, 2014
    Did you quarantine the new pullet at all? She could be carrying a disease that could wipe out your other 9. There are many risks to new chicks, hatcheries are lower quality but less risk than buying locally.
    I would just be worried since one of yours already died.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Integrate the rooster with the pullet, and when that calms down, then get rid of the rooster. A single bird integration is a tough go.

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