Integration and New coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bean789, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Bean789

    Bean789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently had a new large 4 X 8 ft coop with 6 X 12 ft covered run built and it should be ready for the girls in another 2 weeks after painting and 'de-fuming' is completed.

    My situation is that I have a flock of 8 pullets(?) just beginning their egg laying stage (30 weeks old) who have been in a temp. coop for about 8 weeks now. I also have 6 new chicks and 4 guineas, about 9 weeks old, who have outgrown their brooder and are in a makeshift larger run outside covered partially on 3 sides for protection from rain/wind/drafts/predators (they are fully feathered but one of them is a bantam silkie who is very much smaller than the other 9 brooder/run mates). When the new coop is ready, I would like to possibly integrate them to the new coop together as one flock? Put the younger ones in first and then the older pullets? Or vice versa? OR.........???

    Any suggestions would be so very helpful as I do not want any of them injured or killed in the transition.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since the younger ones are smaller yet and lesser in number I would put them in for a week first to give them home court advantage. In the mean time if it were possible i would try to have the runs meet on a common side so they can get to know each other.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Den in Penn's suggestion is a good one.

    The 18 birds in a 4x8 coop concerns me tho......that's a pretty tight space for that many non-integrated birds, especially when ~half of them are that much smaller in size.

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

    Integration of new chickens to flock.


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

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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. Bean789

    Bean789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read in several sites that it is possible to have 2 coops with a shared run as long as all the hens have established their order and are together on a daily basis. Is that a myth and not possible?

    The temp. coop the older girls are in now will be upgraded with new hardware cloth and placed on a platform in order to raise it off the ground. It was a used coop I purchased and needs some wood replaced and I don't like the floor material that was used and the plywood underneath is rotting out. It has been fine so far but it is an awful yellow color and they ran out of paint so it really needs some aesthetic enhancement. The temp coop is 'open' in the front (with hardware cloth) and a hinged door and there is a temporary fenced run for it for now. After I place it on the new platform and newly paint it, all of which can be done in a day, I could add it to the other end of the newer run and keep the hardware cloth in place on the front of it so as to keep them all separate for a couple of weeks. I could also put up a temp wall in the large run that they will eventually share. This will allow the younger ones to establish themselves in the 'home court advantage' situation, grow a little more, and they will all be able to see each other. I will need to always have at least 2 feeders and waters and maybe add a 3rd one for good measure.

    In addition to all of that (you would think I have a compound here) I have a 9 ft. tall 'coop' that could be 'revamped for the guineas, who like to be in high places. This would leave 14 hens in 2 shared coops with the guineas in their own taller coop. I need to find the forum on guineas in order to better understand how they would react or adapt when raised with chicks then separated from them before I decide on the final coop design/placement.

    Or is my design flawed with the 2 coop idea? Will the older girls pretty much remain with their own coop vs trying out the new one? I see some recommend 2 sq ft per hen vs 4 sq ft per hen. Of the entire flock there will be 9 full size hens, 5 bantams with 2 of the bantams being Silkies and 1 Sultan. Then there will be the guineas. Also, the space under both coops will be accessible as well as the designated run area thus giving approximately 132 sq ft. total space run space.
    [​IMG]
    This is the view of my new coop from the opposite end where I hope to add the 2nd coop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  5. Bean789

    Bean789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Multiple coops attached to one run is a great idea! Partitioning coops and/or runs is another great tool for your 'compound'.
    It's pretty easy to rig a temporary chicken wire partition in coop or run, I used a couple of 2x2's with the wire stapled on and then attached to 2x2's to the coop and/or run wall.

    IMO 4sqft per bird in the coop and 10sqft per bird in the coop and run is a minimum for avoiding behavioral problems caused by crowding, due to observing birds confined to twice that amount of coop over this past winter, but others disagree and it's every keepers own choice.

    There is a guinea fowl forum here at BYC.
     
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two coops one run works. When I was growing up, a neighbor farm had a half dozen coops, (8x8 was the smallest) that shared a pasture. You'll find that once a hen is imprinted with a coop as home, it usually takes a good reason for them to change coops.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Two coops and one run is part of my integration. I house the brooder-raised juveniles in a separate coop on the other end of the run with the run divided so they can see each other. At about 8 weeks I open the gate and let them mix. I’ve never had a serious problem. In addition to the 12’ x 32’ run they have a 35’ x 90‘ area inside electric netting so they are not at all crowded. They do sleep in separate coops for a while after they integrate.

    My broody raised chicks are just kept with the main flock to start with. The broody handles integration.
     
  9. Bean789

    Bean789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very good information and sharing from all of you. Thank you so much. Hopefully soon all of my girls will eventually free range as an integrated flock for a few hours each day in the afternoons and longer on weekends so it isn't like they are always stuck in the run area. They will have about a 1/2 acre in the back area of our property to roam.
     
  10. gilcamp4

    gilcamp4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    here is my two coops with run attached in the middle
     

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