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Integrating new additions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by csaylorchickens, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2015
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    My Coop
    Right now I have 4 chickens, one hen 3 roosters lucky me :/ I am eventually going to take the Roosters to the zoo to you program locally where I live in the use the Roosters to feed their livestock. I figure that's the best humane way to handle the roosters since I'm not allowed to have them on my property. They are 10 weeks old right now I only have one hen and I'm not sure when I should integrate her into my regular flock. They are faveolle hens, my laying flock and they're really nice and I'm pretty sure they'll treat the new edition with no issues. I'm pretty sure in two weeks I could just take her and put her with the other girls and it would be fine. My dilemma is what do you do about the food? She's not ready for layer Feed yet obviously cuz she needs about 2 more months before she can even think about eating that kind of food. But the roosters are already starting to crow in the morning and I know my neighbors are not happy about that. I was going to take all three roosters to the zoo do you program tomorrow. But that leaves my poor little hen all by herself and her mini coop. It's also cold at night now you know it gets to be about 20 degrees at the coldest at night and I just would hate to leave her alone in the mini coop.

    Ideas or thoughts on what would be best?
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy csaylorchickens

    With the food, your whole flock can eat pullet grower and if you do not already, have some oyster shell separately available for the current layers if/when they need it for calcium. Then when she is old enough, they can all go back onto the layer feed.

    With the integration, if the nights were not cold, I would have left her sleeping on her own but popped her in the run during the day, separated by wire so that they can all see each other but not touch. However, sleeping on her own, in the cold, is not ideal.

    One thought; do you have one hen who is particularly friendly? You could try introducing her to your youngster in the mini coop, meaning that they could sleep together and then when integration happens your youngster will have a friend. Integration can be difficult for one on her own.

    Or, if you have the time availability, you could try the separated by wire during the day and simply pop her on the roost with everyone else when they have gone to bed. This will mean that you need to be up early in the morning to ensure that she is not picked on and pop her back into her ‘look but not touch’ area until she is more accepted.

    Last thought is to try and get her another 10 week old buddy who can live with her in the mini coop until you are comfortable integrating them; again, they will have each other for company and support during the integration. However, I do not know how difficult that would be to do in your area and the risk involved if not quarantined etc.

    Good luck with her and please let us know how you go.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2015
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    My Coop
    Thank you for your suggestions!!!

    I think I have one that is nice but I'm not sure if I can trust them right now. There is a local chicken breeder that has an 8 week old easter Egger pullet for sale $20. I could get that pullet and put the two together in the mini coop until they are 18 weeks.old...around Feb 1. I won't be able to be around to leave her in the coop at night only. I work.full time school full time. So I think the best option is to get one more hen.

    When it comes.close to putting them.with my flock, do I have to put the cage between them at first? I have a wire galvanized cage I could set the girls in in the run so the others can get used to them?
     
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey csaylorchickens

    I have heard of people just putting the newbies in the run straight up and letting everyone sort it out with both good and bad results.

    I tend to err on the side of caution and do not like to see any of my gals getting beaten up so I have them separated by wire or in a crate etc so that they get used to each other without the threat of injury. Any drawn blood is going to require further separation until it heals.

    Sure, there will probably still be bickering while the pecking order reestablishes itself when they are integrated, but it should not be quite as brutal.

    Do they free range at all? I find that free ranging is a good opportunity to let everyone get to know each other .. space is a great tool when integrating.

    Another thing I do is let the existing girls out for a free range while the newbies are locked in the coop and run. This gives the newbies the opportunity to explore and feel comfortable in what will be their new home without the threat of being picked on and also learn where all the good hiding spots are.

    Same with free range, but reversed. I let the newbies wander around the garden while the existing flock are locked in. Granted, the existing flock have a good whinge about this [​IMG] but again, it gives the newbies chance to explore, get settled and find all the good hiding spots without being picked on.
     
  5. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Sorry, just wanted to add .. there will probably be some bickering when you introduce your lone hen to her new friend but it shouldn’t be too bad .. their need to have company should outweigh any real desire to pick on each other and they will be similar sizes etc.
     
  6. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2015
    California
    My Coop
    Thanks again! Yeah I let the girls free range at least once a day for an hour or two. (I have caught cats prowling and one racoon so I always supervise) they go by the mini coop and check out the hens and roosters now. A few times I have let the small hen walk around with the big girls and they seem ok. Only one aggressive peck because the little one started eating the greens that big hen was eating. That sounds like a good idea. What if I bring the hen I have in the carrier when I pick up the new one?
     
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hhhhm, I hadn’t considered the option of taking the lone hen to pick up the new one and this is just me but I probably would not do it, only because I would not want to freak her out or upset her. Also, if you have them both in the carrier on the drive home and they do decide to fight, not much you are going to be able to do about it.

    When you get the new hen home, I would still keep the lone hen and new hen separated by wire until bed time when, as I mentioned before, their need for company and someone to snuggle at night will hopefully outweigh the idea of picking on each other.

    I do want to add a warning here if I can .. quarantine is always a good idea when bringing in new birds as you may bring in something that could wipe out your whole flock.

    In times of emergency, I have had to introduce a new hen when I was down to one and I was lucky, but that is not always the case.

    So, putting the new hen in with your lone hen is definitely a risk and one that only you can make the decision to take.

    However, if you do take the risk, I note you mention your existing flock wander over to talk to the little ones and check them out. I definitely would not allow that to happen until you have had the new hen a couple of weeks at least.

    I would hate for something to happen to your whole flock.
     
  8. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2015
    California
    My Coop
    So quarantine is 2 weeks? Yeah I am thinking I should quarantine the new addition in the dog crate for at least 2 weeks and then introduce them. I love my new buff her name is Goldie (my son named the rooster golden :( ) and I would hate for her to get sick and the rest of my flock I would be devastated! So that sounds like a good IDEA too
     
  9. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2015
    California
    My Coop
    I didn't think about disease
     
  10. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey csaylorchickens .. it is always a concern .. with me, even to the point that I am paranoid after visiting the feed stores or anywhere where there are chickens or people who have chickens .. not wearing the same shoes down to my coop etc.

    Sadly, this means that you will have gone from one lone hen to two lone hens until the quarantine is over and yep, I believe the recommended minimum is two weeks.

    It is a tough one .. I am wondering if it is not worth going with trying to use one of your existing, more friendly gals option?
     

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