Integrating younger flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by csgibbs, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. csgibbs

    csgibbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2015
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    Hello. I apologize if this has been asked before. I couldn't find any information on this specific situation. I have three approximately 2-1/2 month old Orpingtons and thirty-one 4-week-olds. I had intended to keep them separate until the younger chicks caught up in size to the older chicks, but they are quickly outgrowing their section of the coop. Would it be okay to introduce the 4-week-olds since there are so many of them, even though they are much smaller in size? I have no adult chickens. They have been in the same coop, but separated by a wall, so they haven't been able to see each other.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Given your situation, I would try integration and see how it goes. You mention the little ones are outgrowing their section of the coop - is the portion that has been allotted to the older birds larger? If so, switching "sides" might be another option. How much space, total, is there in your setup and how much of that spaces has been allotted for each group? Is there a way you can make the partition so that they can see through it vs. being solid? If so, that would be a way to bridge the separation before allowing physical mingling and allow the birds to become accustomed to the sight of one another.
    So, that being said, in your situation I would just give integration a go, keep an eye on things to be sure no one is being excessively abusive or abused and respond accordingly to whatever came about. I would schedule it so that for the first few days I was readily available to monitor things and respond quickly should intervention be necessary - if that is going to mean waiting a few days that would be when I would rig a see-through barrier for them to have in the meantime.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto OGM's questions...and....


    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

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

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  4. csgibbs

    csgibbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2015
    Northern California
    Thank you both so much. I have rigged a wire wall for now and I'll be watching closely.
     
  5. csgibbs

    csgibbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2015
    Northern California
    I guess it's a good sign that my older chicks were way more interested in the wire and zip ties I used than the other chicks.
     

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