Integrating new flock

JulieCB

Chirping
May 20, 2020
39
33
74
Central Virginia
We have just finished building our enclosed run and are getting ready to get our first chickens next week. We decided to go with pullets for our first experience and bypass chick rearing until we are more familiar with the process. This late in the season it is difficult to find coop-ready birds but I have found two farms with availability. Two will be Buff Orpingtons, born April 11th (7 weeks at pick up) and two will be Golden Comets, born March 25th (10 weeks at pick up). Our run is about 8x16. Our current coop is small, about 10 square feet but we are currently building a larger coop that will be ready in a couple of weeks, before the girls reach maturity. I don't currently plan to quarantine the birds from each other. My question is can anyone tell me what I might expect bringing unfamiliar birds together at the same time, and given their respective ages? I'm thinking it would be better to have them arrive together on the same day rather than let one group establish dominance and then introduce the other but I really don't know. Any thoughts/advice are greatly appreciated.
 

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
28,977
47,806
1,232
Colorado Rockies
You have excellent instincts. Go with them. Being on equal footing going to a new home, all birds will be more focused on adjusting to the new environment than the pecking order. The relative size differences at seven and ten weeks are negligible and shouldn't be an issue.

However, individual temperaments are an unknown quality and it's impossible to know how they will all get along. You'll need to play it by ear.
 

JulieCB

Chirping
May 20, 2020
39
33
74
Central Virginia
Agrees on the instincts.
The small coop may be a concern.
How big is the run, and is it predator and weather proof?

Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, and 'hiding' places may help distract.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Our run is 7 x 18 feet, roofed and fully enclosed, predator-proof. We are working on another run that will be the closest thing these chickens get to free range. It will be about 12x40 and will be used for supervised foraging (predator pressure is pretty high where we live). We are building a much bigger coop. Thank you for your respose.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
10,872
17,749
726
western South Dakota
Put some clutter in your run. Pallets, roosts, chairs, anything a bird can get behind, or out of sight of the other birds. This lets them work on the integrations on their terms, taking breaks when needed. Way better than a wide open space, where a bird in any position sees all the other birds all the time.

Add two feed bowls, where as while eating at one, out of sight of others.

But, really, I would not expect you to have too much trouble at all, adding the same number of birds to a place brand new to everyone.

Mrs K
 

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