Integrating new chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by amydanielle147, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. amydanielle147

    amydanielle147 Out Of The Brooder

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    I currently have 13 chickens all about 6 months old, I had 16 but lost a few along the way. I want 3-5 more but don't know if I can or not. I've heard about integrating chickens but I only want to do that if the end result is them being perfectly fine in the end, not constantly fighting. Is that possible? Would it work better if I add a bigger group of chickens? What's the best way for me to go about doing this? Or am I better off just leaving it? Also they are kept in a pen most of the time with 3-4 hours of roaming time on week days and almost all day on weekends
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sure you could do that....you'll need lots of space, separated by wire for the first few weeks.
    Are you adding chicks or full grown birds?
    There will always be some fighting in any flock.


    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

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    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.

    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.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224


    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     

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