Integrating question

Crestcrazy2

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Apr 29, 2020
1,362
8,459
391
Missuori
When there old enough you put the chicks in a cage (or like four for that many chicks) and lock them all in a coop for a day or two and then release them and let the pecking order establish , at least this is how I do it not sure about other people, good luck šŸ˜‰šŸ‘
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
15,641
58,120
1,117
SE Missouri, USA
We use what's called the "see don't touch" method. We have a pen next to our older flock's run where they can be side by side with only a fence between them. There is a separate coop for the younger ones, of course they have food, water and grit, everything they need. They live side by side like this for a couple of weeks and then one day we open the gate that separates them and they begin to mingle without really even noticing. After a week or so, we start encouraging the young birds to sleep in the big coop, and about a week after that we close up the baby coop and that's that! Fully integrated, no problems. Just adapt that to your situation if you can.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,517
20,802
907
Southeast Louisiana
Many different ways to go about it. How much room you have is an important factor and may dictate certain things. If you have a lot of room it can be pretty easy. If your space is tight you can have more challenges.

My brooder is in the coop so the chicks are pretty much raised with the flock. They are not strangers. I have a big coop and lots of room outside, over 50 square feet per chicken even when it is crowded. At five weeks I open the brooder door. It's that easy for me. Not everyone has that kind of room or brood in the coop so this won't work for everyone.

There are some general things you can do to improve your odds off success. Give them as much room as you can, inside and outside. Outside room doesn't do any good if they are locked inside so manage them in a way that room is available when they are awake. Having clutter inside and outside can help. By clutter I mean give them places to hide under, behind, and over. Don't create traps where they can be caught and can't get away but try to break the line of sight.

Feed and water in widely separated places. Older ones sometimes bully younger ones by keeping them away from food and water. Spread it out so they can't do that.

House them across wire for a while before you let them mingle. Give them a chance to get to know each other.

Do not try to force them into a small space together, thinking they will fight it out and get it over with. It doesn't work that way. Be patient and let them work things out on their schedule. If they want to stay separate (and they should), let them. If they want to sleep in separate areas let them as long as it's not your nests and is predator safe.

There are other tricks you can use to make this easier but without knowing what your facilities look like it's hard to get specific. Often it goes a lot smoother than many of the horror stories you can see on here, the problems are the ones that get talked about. But there are risks. Good luck!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,955
11,356
636
western South Dakota
A lot depends on your set up. However, adding more chicks to less established hens will really help. There is only so much pecking an old lady can do, with that many chicks, it spreads it out.

Now they will not be BFF until the new chicks begin laying, but they can live together IF YOU have enough room. Space is important.

Have hideouts in your run, pallets up on blocks, mini walls, totes on their sides or chairs, ladders. Anything that lets birds get away from each other and out of sight.

The best for me is to introduce them early, by 2-4 weeks depending on the weather. Create a safety zone, where the chicks can be seen, with food and water, leave them there a day then lift the fence up a couple of inches so that the chicks can come out at will, but can also escape into without the big girls chasing them.

This lets the chickens work it out on their terms, not on human terms, which works way better.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,679
130,542
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Yes, lots of space and a safety hole.

This is how I, and others accomplish....
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/

Still following the ....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
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.

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

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Morrison1020

Chirping
May 11, 2020
63
72
76
Thompson CT
A lot depends on your set up. However, adding more chicks to less established hens will really help. There is only so much pecking an old lady can do, with that many chicks, it spreads it out.

Now they will not be BFF until the new chicks begin laying, but they can live together IF YOU have enough room. Space is important.

Have hideouts in your run, pallets up on blocks, mini walls, totes on their sides or chairs, ladders. Anything that lets birds get away from each other and out of sight.

The best for me is to introduce them early, by 2-4 weeks depending on the weather. Create a safety zone, where the chicks can be seen, with food and water, leave them there a day then lift the fence up a couple of inches so that the chicks can come out at will, but can also escape into without the big girls chasing them.

This lets the chickens work it out on their terms, not on human terms, which works way better.

Mrs K
Thank you for your response We are in the middle of a shed to coop conversation. My plan is to wait until the big girls and littles are intergrading to move them to the big girl coop. May be easier if my big girls are confused lol We have a 20 foot run that we will separate them until they are ready. CB867AC2-ED44-44BB-A296-A5D677E6CDCA.jpeg 963446F7-30E6-42A6-AB50-D6D1F581059F.jpeg F32E8E5A-744F-4B03-8C5D-C740E18B8D57.jpeg
 

Morrison1020

Chirping
May 11, 2020
63
72
76
Thompson CT
Yes, lots of space and a safety hole.

This is how I, and others accomplish....
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/

Still following the ....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
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.

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

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

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