Integrating new birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marktoo, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Integrating new birds & chicks to an existing flock is
    such a pain in the neck,with quarantine, & the play pen method, etc. Then the stress & strife when actually adding them to the flock. Just curious, does anyone wth a small flock & limited space bring a new flock up to point of lay, then cull the entire old flock? Does integrating new birds get easier with experience? Thanks for your thoughts on this.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I find integrating very easy, add them young to a separate pen, 4-8 weeks, don't crowd or keep more than you coop can fit, don't follow the usual recommendations of space requirements, as it usually isn't enough space, and free range if possible.

    There are plenty of folks that cull out their hens at two years of age, it used to be a pretty normal way to manage a flock, but it often depends on if you see them as livestock or pets.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It can indeed be very difficult, until you've done it a few times and have your facilities set up to make it easy.....
    ....and that often takes more time, space, and resources than many people can or want to implement.
    Part of the 'Romance meets Reality' of backyard chickeneering... way more space is needed than many folks realize when starting out.

    Even with ample space, it can be trying. I am waiting for pullets to start laying so I can cull the older girls and get the population down to fit my wintertime space limits. It's pretty crowded out there with 24 birds in a 16 x 6 coop, and without the 500 sqft of run space I have it would be chaotic and unhealthy for all involved. But my birds are for food not pets, they need to lay enough eggs to pay for their feed...I am just breaking even at this time of year.

    You might want to start new thread, or have a moderator edit the title of this one to include the words,
    "small flock and limited space", to get more of the kind of responses you need.
     
  4. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the replies! I guess I pretty much know my options here,as well as the pros & cons. Just annoyed with myself for only getting 2, day old sexed chicks, thinking one wouldn't turn out to be a cockerel. Hey, it worked with the first four & I really only wanted three! Chicken math is every bit as complicated and frustrating as common core. Lot of time invested in raising those two up & a bit difficult to come up with a good solution to make life easier for the remaining pullet.

    Integrating the chicks was fairly easy actually. I used the method you described Oldhen. They were in a separate coop & run from week 5 on, given more & more access to the big girls. The door on their run was too small for the hens to get in. The problems arose when I culled the coclerel at 13 weeks, which left the pullet without a buddy. Her personality has changed, she has become very skiddish & aloof. The 3 wyandottes are soo mean to her, she is so low she's not even on the pecking order

    I have two 25' x 25' garden plots, the chickens occupy the one where the garden isn't . The coop & run are moved once a year. The coop is small, 4' x 4' but they only sleep in there, it is butted up to a secure 3' x 10' run where the food, water & nest box is located. They always have access to a 17' x 17 ' run & the whole plot most days.

    The hens are spoiled rotten but they will be on the menu.at some point.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    The minute you said Wyandotte I can see why you are having troubles. They are one breed mentioned quite often as being billy's in smaller set ups. So maybe next time pick a breed that can handle it more. Avoid RIR too.
     
  6. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Since the Wyandottes were the first I have nothing to compare them to. The pullet is a Australorp! Wyandottes make excellent yard art though.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Wyandotte are very pretty and I don't have any troubles with mine so I was surprised at how often I see them mentioned as bullies. Australorps are one of my favorite breeds, they do better in confinement I think.

    I have found it interesting how everyone has different experiences based on their set ups. I always thought chickens were chickens, but apparently lots of stuff factors into it. That's what make it so interesting. I have learned a lot from folks on this sight.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I had a bully wynadotte, her daughter - a mix, was mean too.
    As my mother used to say "pretty is as pretty does"..hahaha!
     
  9. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was just looking at some of the other threads on integrating young birds into an existing flock. I have come to the conclusion that I really don't have a problem.

    I was in hopes that the hens would welcome the pullet into the flock with open wings. Unrealistic, I suppose. The hens aren't bloodying her up like some in the photos so I guess she's lucky.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Yep, pecked at, but not bloodied chicks is considered a success. It's the nature of the chicken to peck each other throughout the day. Chicks just scream loudly making it sound worse than it is.
     

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