Integrating New Pullets

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MedSchlFarmers, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a common question, but every flock is unique. We have 8 pullets 20-23 weeks old. 5 of the 8 have started laying in the last couple of weeks. Yesterday I bought 2 Black Copper Marans. They are 5.5 weeks and look like they are going to be pullets. When should I introduce them to the others? Is sooner better since my flock is young and just starting to lay? My older girls are gentle and kind. I haven't noticed any pecking amongst them. My 18m old human daughter hangs out around them too. The breeds of the 8 are 1 Lavender Orp, 2 Barred Rocks, 1 Brown Leghorn, 1 Black Sexlink, 1 Black Silkie, and 2 Easter Eggers. Any thoughts/tips are appreciated. If I'm out there will I be able to stop a "fight" if one breaks out? I really don't know what to expect. I currently do no have a cage to put out beside the coop/run. The 5.5 week olds are in a rubbermaid on a screened porch. The best I could do is keep the older ones inside the coop and let the babies in the run for a few hours a day, they would be separated by hardware cloth. Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'd go for the opposite of your idea, i.e. keep the mature birds outside the run, and keep the chicks inside (you can do this after the pullets have laid) as chicks make great predator bait. Separating part of the run would be best - even a few tree branches and some chicken wire would do the trick.

    Its not set in stone, but usually, it seems that letting chicks be part of the main flock when they are 10+ weeks old is ok.

    These links may help you decide on a strategy that suits you.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1015820/reintegration-by-supervised-visits#post_15742910

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/introducing-new-chickens-using-the-see-but-don-t-touch-method

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1098683/introducing-new-chickens-to-old-flock#post_16895615

    Good luck
    CT
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's because they all grew up together....introduce some new 'strange' birds and you may well see their vicious side.

    It's hard to say how your newly laying pullets will react to 5wo chicks.
    I integrated 4wo chicks to the flock.....I think smaller birds can be less of a threat to adult birds.
    BUT chicks had been brooded right in the coop separated by a wire wall,
    and first 2-3 weeks of intro was with tiny chick doors in the wire wall so chicks could escape to a safe place if needed.

    After wall came down, chicks still had their own feed and water stations, adults couldn't eat out of chick feeder and chicks couldn't reach adult feeder. Food and water (basic sustenance) are main concerns for all involved and something to defend with vigor.

    Space is important too..... the more space, with hiding places for chick, the better.
    Integration can be a catastrophe in too small a space.

    Please please please be careful with your toddler near the birds....shiny human eyes are prime pecking target.
     
  4. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is normal ok behaviors when the interact for the first time? I'm seeing some pecking and chasing.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    As long as blood isn't drawn and no one is being pinned down and beaten unmercilissly they should be fine.
    Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, lots of places to hide....lots of ideas in the links the CTKen posted...check them out.
     
  7. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I was really surprised at which pullets cared the most about their presence. It was the ones I would guess are towards the bottom of the pecking order. Maybe making sure they aren't last?
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    That's to be expected. They have the most to loose by someone jumping ahead of them in the pecking order. The ones at the top, know they are at the top.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I've always thought they finally had someone's butt to kick, so revel in it. hahaha!
     
  10. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for the info and links. So far so good. Here's what my husband put together today with some scrap materials from building the coop. Seems to be working perfectly. I had to laugh, our extremely docile Silkie can fit under with the chicks and gave them each a few pecks for good measure. We have never seen anything like it from the silkie [​IMG][​IMG] I guess there is someone she can rule over after all....for now.
    [​IMG]
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