Integration process question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MCArt20, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. MCArt20

    MCArt20 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    1
    49
    Aug 22, 2016
    I had been in the process of integrating two new pullets, @22 weeks old in with my two older hens. I had been having them spend time together, then seperating them for some periods, especially at night. Then one of the pullets got sick so I abandoned ship on integration while treating her. Now all is well and I'm back to getting the flock together. My question is, how to I integrate them for night. I doubt the pullets will even know where to go, so I guess I will put them in the roost area, but should I wait til other hens are sleeping, and then do it? And then let them out very early in case of any issues? Thanks, all opinions welcome!
    Mary
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    20,204
    8,757
    596
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Mary, how big is your coop and run? General rule of thumb is for 4 s.f. per bird in the coop and 10 s.f. per bird in the run. If less than that, you are likely to have some aggression issues, up to and including blood shed. Easiest way to integrate is to give them plenty of space, plenty of treats, and let them work it out.
     
  3. MCArt20

    MCArt20 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    1
    49
    Aug 22, 2016
    Well I'm not too worried about the run outside- they have about 1/3 of our yard, which is @64' x 35', a large L shape attached to a wedge shape. They have been running around together in there for a while, then once a day or every other day I let them out into the rest of the yard, so they have room. The part of the coop they Roost in is 25" x 30", not including the nesting boxes, and there is a run area underneath they can go into as well, another couple feet longer, than the roosting area. The coop is supposed to be for 4 chickens, that's what the guy at the feed store said anyway........

    They are working it out, and now are out in the run together for good. I just wasn't sure what to do for night- I don't think the pullets will go to the main place to to roost for sleep, I think they will hunker down outside under a bush...... so just wondering if I should put them in the roost or not for a while.....let them figure out where to go???
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,760
    9,256
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Coop is tight for 2 birds.... let alone 4.
    One of those little prefab coops?
    Pics would help.
    Many have made the entire prefab coop/run into a coop for more room.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,823
    1,496
    366
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If they are getting along in the run, then maybe it will work for the summer. I am not sure if you have two roosts, each 30 inches long? Or one roost, or what? Those darn pre-fab coops are often too small.

    Also it will make a difference what part of the country you are in and the climate. If you are in the north, and you want to keep the 4 birds, you should spend the summer modifying your coop. In the northern part of the US, winter is made up of long nights and short days. Those nights the birds will spend cooped up and it really does not matter how big the run is, it is the sleeping arrangements that matter.

    Take a look at your birds, when roosted, are they close to the wall, are they close to the ceiling? In cold weather, this will cause a great deal of frost bite, as the birds will be damp. They breath out a great deal of moisture, and that will collect on cold surfaces and 'rain' back down on them. More chickens equal more moisture, same space. Coops need to be open and airy so that chickens are dry. Dry chickens are warm chickens even if the coop temperature is cold.

    For now, I would knock out the nesting boxes, just to give as much room as possible in the coop. Add an extra roost if you can, a closet pole will work good, or an old branch or a two by four. You can create new nests in the run with a box or a bucket. Hang a little curtain over it, and they will love it.

    Then if you put the pullets in after the older girls have gone to bed, (my pullets always act like teen age girls, and want to stay out at night. I have found, doing it two or three times and they figure it out.

    Mrs. K
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  6. MCArt20

    MCArt20 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    1
    49
    Aug 22, 2016
    [​IMG]

    We are in Oregon, and so by knocking out the nesting box, remove the dividers? The coop came with roosts, plenty of room height- wise, but they sleep in the sand. (I use sand in the bottom of all the coop areas. I put in others, a 2x4, I tried a round pole, but the choose to sleep in the sand. One, RIR often sleeps in the nesting box, not always, and has been broody before. To do a make shift coop- We are a little handy, for repairs and making small changes but to rebuild walls, We would need help. Also please explain about the nesting boxes... thanks!! Right now, the pullets sleep in a dog kennel near by, and the big girls of course use the roosting house.
     
  7. MCArt20

    MCArt20 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    1
    49
    Aug 22, 2016
    Also adding that we had several feet of snow layered with ice this winter for several weeks, and they did fine. I cleared space around their coop so they could walk around but they even walked around on the snow exploring the whole yard. (My two original hens). The coop worked great for two. The addition of these other two pullets are what I am grappling with now...
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    20,204
    8,757
    596
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    IMO, the coop is the issue, along with it being too small, chickens seek security by roosting high. They are not able to meet that need in such a coop, so they are under constant stress by having that need unmet.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,760
    9,256
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,823
    1,496
    366
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    oh my, me either.

    I was hoping that the nests were inside the coop taking up space.

    Truth is, this is not going to hold 4 birds in a healthy manner. I am very amazed that they are getting along in that space. I would not have expected the 2 birds to come through the winter well.

    You can certainly try this, they are your birds. Maybe you will get lucky, but I do not foresee that.

    Years ago, I had a coup, and I added more birds to it. As the chicks grew bigger, the squabbles increased. Some very negative behavior began. I was blaming the chickens, the feed, racking my brain for solutions, and was hit by a predator. Took out 5 birds... funny thing is, within days, I could tell my flock was calmer, the tension was gone, the chickens were getting along, just a pecking and a scratching and laying eggs. The predator did me a favor, in which he reduced my flock so that it fit my set up. Now in the summer, you can cheat a bit, but come fall, you need more space.

    You more than likely are either going to have to get a larger set up, or reduce your flock. Those darn pre-fab houses are darling, and cost a chunk of change, but they grossly overestimate how many birds can fit in a set up, and they are not good on ventilation either.

    Mrs K
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by