Integrating new chickens to group

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thomaschick, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. thomaschick

    thomaschick New Egg

    May 9, 2015
    Liberty Hill TX
    We have 4 bantams and 2 sex links currently and they get along decently (the sex links are 'the big girls' and tend to run the show). My husband 'surprised' me with 4 new baby chicks about a month or so ago (all Rhode Island Reds). they are much more feisty than our other chicks and are of course in their own area in garage and growing fine.

    My question is when and how do we move them to the coop and yard? We let our ladies free range all day and I'm really not sure how to make this transition? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Let them get used to each other free ranging. WATCH HOW THEY INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER. Then you may try to put into coop in the evening. If they are accepted , then its a win.. If there is a lot of fighting and picking, then try to place the chicks in a dog cage inside the coop. They will be safe from the bigger chickens there. After a while they will be accepted. Remember that there will always be chasing going on to establish pecking order. I think your RIR will reach the top of order in time. They are not totally aggressive, but do know how to carry their weight. Initially keep a watch so the picking does not result in serious injury and bleeding. A few feathers lost is not unusual. If you do get an injured hen that is bleeding.. SEPARATE IMMEDIATELY. Reintroduce when healed.

  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Personally, i keep new chickens (after a week or so) in a mini-coop in the main coop for a couple of nights and then let them out with the rest of the flock. Its a good idea to have at least 2 feeding / watering stations out of eyesight of each other - this tends to lessen aggression and ensures that your newbies have access to food.

    As stated by cavemanrich, its important to keep an eye on them when you let them out to make sure the pecking is not bonkers.

    Good luck
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

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

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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