Integrating New Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CoalLucker, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. CoalLucker

    CoalLucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I'm thinking of adding some new chickens to my current flock. The chickens I want to add are older than the ones in my current flock. When I've integrated before I've just put the new chickens with my current chickens and sometimes that works but I've heard some people do it slowly. What do you suggest?
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy CoalLucker

    After a quarantine period, I use the ‘look but not touch’ method of integration using wire or a crate etc so that they can get used to each other without the threat of injury. I keep them separated in this way for at least a week.

    Does your existing flock free range?

    I let the existing flock 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.

    I find that free ranging is a good opportunity to let everyone get to know each other .. space is a great tool when integrating.

    I also find that a water pistol comes in handy .. it is amazing how a squirt of water in front of them can cause a chicken to change her mind about picking on someone [​IMG]

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

    Also, when they are integrated into the run and coop, for a couple of months I ensure that there is more than one source of water and food, just in case the newbies are being bullied away from either.
     
  3. CoalLucker

    CoalLucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The current chickens free range but the area's not super big, I'd say about the size of a backyard-- maybe a little bigger. Which is why I find it alright when I just throw the new chickens in because they have some room to run away if they need to. The chickens I have right now are really docile and never really peck at anything, especially each other. With this information what would you recommend?
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Personally, if you are adding more than one, and all the birds are full grown, I just add them. There are a few skirmishes, but full grown birds will generally not be victims, unless you have a much smaller breed or a fancy breed. General dual purpose birds the same size, I have not had problems with.

    I have added them just before dark, and they generally wait to roost up till everyone else has done so, and it is close to full dark.

    Couple of points though: You need enough room for the new birds.
    Chicks you need to be patient.

    Numbers do make a difference. I find that if you add 4 - 6 new birds, it spreads the pecking out, and it kind of confuses the main home town flock. There are still skirmishes, but they are spread out over many birds. IF both sets of birds are full grown birds. If at the same time, you cull some birds, that really shakes things up, and spreads it out over the whole new flock. If you are going to do it, do it all at once.

    A single bird, or just two, you probably do need to do the see but not touch set up.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  5. CoalLucker

    CoalLucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    would you recommend that i do a quarantine even if i know that the chickens that will be coming to me are disease free?
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    As Mrs. K is offline I will try to help. How do you know that you new chickens are disease free? Sure, you may have seen them and they show no external signs of illness, but that does not mean that they are not carriers of something that could affect your flock. Having said this, unless you have the space to quarantine your new birds a considerable distance from your existing flock, it may not be very effective (it does give you some time to observe the new birds for any possible symptoms and to worm them, if you wish).
     
  7. CoalLucker

    CoalLucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i've seen the chickens that i will be receiving as they are being given by a friend. none appear sick and their whole flock is perfectly fine and they have a much larger flock which includes many other types of birds including ducks and guinea.
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Do what you feel is most appropriate - sometimes, regardless of any advice one may receive, its the best way.
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    A lot of people pretend to quarantine. If you do not do quarantine right, you may as not do it at all. It requires a great deal of space, 300 feet between birds, a complete change of clothes, separate feed. Most people with a backyard flock do not have this capabilities. Healthy chickens do look healthy. I have added chickens and gotten lucky. Do NOT EVER add something you feel sorry for. And don't buy chickens at auctions. Those chickens have been exposed to God knows what. I belong to a Facebook page, and those people add willy nilly from auctions and that makes my blood run cold.

    So in your situation, I would add the birds, not quarantine, and not worry too much.

    BUT it is a real possibility, that those healthy birds, could bring in something, your birds have never seen, and wipe your current flock out. Realistically, if this is your friend, ten to one, you have already visited her chickens and could have very easily already tracked diseases back to your flock. In valuable flocks, people would wear shoe coverings, so as not to track in possible disease. Or not allow visitors at all.

    If losing your current flock, would be a financial loss or an emotional loss that would be difficult to deal with, then don't add strange birds. Raise up replacement birds from day old chicks.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  10. CoalLucker

    CoalLucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you for your input! i will probably do a small and less extensive quarantine just to make sure that they are actually healthy
     

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