Integrating the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by asionne, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. asionne

    asionne Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2012
    Vancouver, Washington
    Can anyone tell me the best way to integrate new pullets into my existing flock? I have three that are 5ish months old, and I have 4 that are 3 weeks old. I am planning on integrating the babies in when they are old enough to go outside, but I don't know the best way to do so. My coop is big enough for all of them. How do I protect the babies from being picked on/attacked?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Like numbers is a good thing, the age spread is a bad thing. They should be closer to the same size.
    What do you mean by big enough? Is it big enough for 7 integrated birds or is it big enough for babies to get away from birds that want to kill them?
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Do not put them with the older birds until they are almost the same size, the older birds will be really rough on them and can even seriously injure or kill them. I don't integrate until 12 to 15 weeks old. Until that age I keep my youngsters in a grow out pen with it's own coop right alongside the older girls. The little ones move from their brooder into their grow out pen at 5 weeks old. So the older ones have a lot of time to get used to seeing them around before there is ever any mingling. By the time they do mix pecking is very, very minimal.

    You just really want to take it slow when integrating new birds. Chickens do NOT like newcomers, at all, and if you try to go too fast the more problems you are likely to have. I know some people advocate the "stick 'em the coop at night" approach for new birds. For what it's worth, this has never, ever worked for me. The older birds are smart enough to know there are newcomers when they get up in the morning and unless you are right there to supervise before they get off the roost it can result in injury to the new birds. Slow and easy and you'll end up with a peaceful, combined flock with a minimum of stress to all. Including yourself!
  4. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    Once they are fully feathered and ready to go outside you can do a couple things.

    Split your run area allowing the new girls and the older girls to get acquainted without risking injury...

    Add the new girls to the coop after everyone has gone to roost...

    Allow everyone to free range together giving them ample space to escape and hide from each other until they start to get along.

    There will be some fighting to establish pecking order but hopefully if given enough space and time they will eventually all settle in.

    Best of Luck!
  5. asionne

    asionne Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2012
    Vancouver, Washington
    Big enough for all the integrated birds. Their run is quite large, if I know what kind of hiding places will work for the younger ones, I can make it available.

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