Integrating New birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by IndianaGreg, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. IndianaGreg

    IndianaGreg Chirping

    Aug 8, 2017
    I have 11 new baby birds and they are currently 6 weeks old. I want to integrate them in with my 16 older birds but not sure how old they have to be to do this.
    Any suggestions and ideas on how to successfully do this would be of help.
    Thanks for all suggestions and How-to's…. Thanks again.
    chickens really likes this.
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Definitely in a look no touch pen for a week or more and even then it's not always successful.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    What does your coop and run look like?
    Dimensions and pics(inside and out) would help immensely.
    I am set up to brood in coop from 1 week after hatch and integrate at 4-6 weeks.

    Where are the chicks living now?

    Here's some tips about....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Basically you are nearly doubling your birds in the flock. Space is a key issue. Measure your coop - do you really have room? You should have a coop that is about 10 feet x 12 feet for this to really work. A good run would be 10 x 30. If you don't have this space, you can still add the young ones, but will need to cull older birds. Do not think you can free range to cheat on space. Winter is coming, and they will be confined to the coop in the dark.

    If you do have that - well then I think this will not be to hard. Add some hideouts to the run, add some pallets leaned up against walls, add some roosts, add some boxes or totes placed on their sides, add some roosts, ladders, saw horses. All this will make the run look cluttered, but breaks up wide open areas and allows birds to get away from each other and out of sight. KEY in reducing aggression.

    The more birds you add, the better IF YOU HAVE THE SPACE. It spreads out the pecking. Pecking and chasing take a lot of energy, and a bird can really only do so much.

    Once you set up your run, then turn out he older birds and lock them out, with the new birds locked inside for a day. I would feed near the fence line on both sides. You can return them to their coop at night, if you want, but I just let the older birds in before dark, where the urge to roost is nearly as strong as the urge to fight. Get down there early in the morning to see how it is going and check frequently.

    There will probably be a few dust ups, but as long as a chick can get out of sight, and no chicks are getting trapped or bloody, let them figure it out. The more you separate them, the longer it takes. They will remain a sub flock until they begin to lay.

    Once in a while you get an older hen that is just vicious, if so, pull her out and put her where ever you have had the chicks for a week, and let the rest work this out. A week or 10 days later add her back in.

    Mrs k
  5. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    What exactly do you mean by integrate?
    The probability is the new additions will probably stick together, even if you house them all in the same coop. The breeds and ages and sex of the current and new additions will also have an influence on how well, or badly 'integration' works.

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