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Integrating young chickens into existing flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tootie123, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    I have eight four week old chicks. I am in the process of putting them into
    a small coop I have outside now that they have most of their feathers and it has
    not gotten real cold yet here in the South.
    My questions is, does it really work to sneak the new chickens in with the existing
    hens at night and sit them on the roost with the older chickens in the main coop?
    Want to come up with a solution to try to avoid too much stress and pecking going on with new chicks.
    They will be free ranging with older chickens for awhile before we start the integrating
    process. Thought I would wait till they are about 3 months old before I try to
    put them in coop with older hens.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Free ranging them together for a couple of months is a great way for them to get to know each other. I did that. With my new birds this year I had to move them into the main house. They didn't want to leave thier grow out coop. I put them in just before dark while it was still light enough for them to find a spot to sleep. The older hens didn't have a problem with them. I waited till they had reached POL. I don't know how pressed you are to get them together, so once they are used to each other I would say any time.
     
  3. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    2
    41
    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Good to know. Want to try it and see what happens. Didn't know if that
    was a true statement or not about putting them with the older hens at
    night so they wake up together in the morning. Have read and heard
    that but never knew it it worked for sure. Yes, they will free range
    together for awhile. Sooo....should sort of get used to each other.
    In no big hurry to put them together. Chicks should be good in
    small coop for awhile. Thanks
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If you do try putting them in the big girls coop at night just make sure you are there first thing in the morning to watch and see how it goes. If they've been free ranging together for a while and penned next to each other for a while it may go off without too much trouble. Otherwise it could be a big fight, you just never know. It may work with large flocks but the smaller the flock the easier it is for the older ones to recognize strangers in their midst when they wake up. I have a small flock and the whole sneaking-the-new-ones-in-at-night thing has never worked for me.
     
  5. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    193
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    My grow out coop is a tractor and the hens could walk up to the coop and run when they were free rangeing. Latter when the chicks were old enough I let them range too. For the last month before I put them in the main house, the grow out was attached to the run and they mingled during all wakeing hours. The pullets were going in and out of the main house invesigating the nests checking out the facilities. One even spent several nights in with the hens. I was hoping they all would move out of the by then cramped tractor, no luck there. They really had intergrated but were sleeping in differnt places. Just before roost time just seemed to be the right time for me to force the issue. Funny thing, I closed off the tractor so they couldn't get in it the next night. I wasexpecting to see them milling around it looking for a way in. Suprised me that they didn't do that, but went right to the main house.
     
  6. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    2
    41
    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Ok, seems this is a trial and error process. I will
    keep close eye on them when doing transfer. Don't
    want my new hens beat up. No don't have a large
    flock of older chickens, only two red hens.
    Thanks
     

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