Integrating... thoughts?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MsLisaG, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. MsLisaG

    MsLisaG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2012
    Northern California
    To give a little background, we have a small flock of 4. One of them started growing a large pink comb and wattles before 4 weeks old, so obviously a cockerel. The breeder agreed to take him back in exchange for a 12 week old pullet. The others are between 4-6 weeks still and not completely feathered yet, so they are still in the brooder. The new one will go straight to the coop. I've never tried to integrate before, so I'm not sure how this will play out.

    Since the new one is older, will she likely be the agressor in the situation, or since she is outnumbered will she be the one to worry about? I know to not try to integrate until the chicks are roughly the same size as the new one and to maintain a separate areas for awhile and so forth. Any tips or insight is definitely appreciated!

    Lisa
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    How cold is it there in Northern California? At 4-6 weeks I think your birds are feathered enough to go outside. I mean if it is still 35 and lower at nights you could put in a 60 w colored bulb on a clamp (secured) light to turn on those really cold nights. If your not going below 40 F then I'd not even worry about it.

    My thought of integrating is your likely to have the best result introducing them all to the coop at the same time regardless of the one being a lot bigger. Unless your prepared to keep the smaller ones separate for a long time until close to size, we're talking another few months, your best chance of bigger one not exerting too much dominance is now. Otherwise it will have the added aggression of territory. "This is my coop, get out!"
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  3. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    La Fayette, NY
    Is there any way to divide the coop in two parts with wire so they can see each other, but still be safe?
     
  4. MsLisaG

    MsLisaG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2012
    Northern California
    It has been getting between 40-50 at night here and between 60-70 during the day. They have been out several times to play and explore the coop during the day and seem fine temp wise. (they are two silkies and a red sex link. The new one will be a buff orp.)

    I can put some wire in the coop for separation, that is a good idea. We can also section their run if needed... It is 3x9 at the moment (we plan to make it larger soon though, probably this weekend.)


    Another question - how long should I keep them confined to the run before I let them out in the yard during the day? (with supervision of course.)
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If your supervising then let them play in the yard. That is also a great way to get them to know one another as it has plenty of places to "get out of the way". Your run should not need to be divided as it's good size for that many birds. If monitoring you notice the older getting rough with pecking order you could provide a box with small hole so wee ones can escape out of site and large one can't get in. It literally could be a cardboard box. Any kind of structure could be put in run so anyone being picked on can "get out of site" as it's the in face to aggressor that makes them think the victim hasn't gotten the point yet.
     

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