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Integration time line?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DreamsInPink, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 3 different age groups of chicks... and 9 babies coming in June. I currently have 2 groups in the coop... not in the run yet, as they haven't been in the coop long enough to know it as 'home' and our run isn't quite finished. I have an introduction pen in the coop with the younger of the 2 groups in it. They are separated only by nylon chicken wire. No issues. Here's the breakdown of the scenario:

    Group 1 - 8 1/2 weeks old
    5 Isa Browns and 6 Cornish Cross (who will be dispatched soon) - have been in the coop 1 1/2 weeks.

    Group 2 - 6 1/2 weeks old
    5 Silkies, str run, 2 Barred Rock pullets and 2 Silver Lace Wyandotte pullets - have been in the coop < 1 week

    Group 3 - 3 1/2 weeks old - still dirtying up my craft room in indoor brooder :rolleyes:
    12 Buff Orpingtons, str run



    So, group 1 and 2 are in the coop.. separated by nylon chicken wire. When can I start introductions? I plan on maybe getting some of group 2 out of the intro pen and letting them mingle with the others, closely supervised. Should I wait until the Cornish Cross are gone to do this, or does it really matter?

    I'd LOVE to put group 3 in the coop as well. I have room in the intro pen to divide it in half. With the nylon chicken wire.. so all 3 groups would be able to see each other.

    And I'd really like to brood the June batch in the coop.. in the intro pen. It'll be quite warm by then, so little supplemental heat will be needed.

    What is the best way to go about this? And once my run is complete, could I put groups 1 and 2 out for some outside time together, even if they are still separated in the coop?

    My coop is 10 x 20 and my run is 20 x 60.

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    The 6 1/2 week olds and the 8 1/2 week olds large fowl breeds can likely be put together now if they are pretty close in sizes. ISA Browns are a lighter bird while the others are typically heavier breeds...they should be fairly close in sizes, and if they've been fine in the runs with netting, chances are they'll integrate fine now after the CX are removed.

    I would not integrate the Silkies yet. They are much smaller than the others and will remain smaller. I've had some issues with my Silkies running in the main flock. The other birds tend to haze them and want to pick on those crests. You may need to attempt integrating later when they are fully grown. Silkies can incur serious head injury as younger chicks until their skulls develop more bone for the cresting.

    As to the 3 1/2 week olds, they are still too young and small and will be picked upon by the older birds. I would keep them separated but visual to the others when you can get them into that run. You could potentially move the 6 1/2 weeks and 8 1/2 weeks into one side and put the Silkies with the 3 1/2 weeks for a little bit of time until the BO's are gaining size on the Silkies...by then you may be able to integrate them in with the other birds.

    Typically, I do not put a bird younger than 8 weeks in with adult birds, preferably waiting until 10 to 12 weeks of age. They need to be at least 3/4 size to be able to hold their own in an established adult flock, unless you have a broody hen or a very good rooster on duty to integrate those chicks (I've got a 2 week old running in the main flock with momma and pappa keeping close eye on it).

    As stated, Silkies may take some integrating and watching depending upon how mellow your flock is. BO's can be pushy, so you may need to watch closely with that interaction as the BO's age.

    My thoughts.
    LofMc
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  3. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you very much.... I'm thinking my Silkies might be older than the other 4 in group 2.. as they are about the same size.. I thought they were supposed to be smaller, but so far, they seem big to me. :confused: I can get pictures.. actually I have some that are older.. that I could post... just for size reference. I'm actually kind of regretting getting the Silkies.. from what I've heard about the difficulties of putting them in with large breeds of chickens. :(

    I'm not sure if you assumed or not, but I don't have any older chickens.. these 3 groups are it.. so no older flock to worry about. My oldest is 8 weeks old. I'd LOVE to be able to integrate groups 1 and 2. :D

    I had planned on waiting until the Cornish cross are gone, simply because I figure they will be re-establishing the pecking order then anyway, right?
     
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, exactly, with the CX gone, the pecking order will shift and I think you can put group 1 and 2 together just fine...sans Silkies...as stated those may be more problematic.

    However, if the Silkies are the same sizes now, you can try it. If they integrate now, it may go well later....or not....many chickens just like to pick on them as they look so crazy with those crests, and they will be smaller when the others gain full sizes.

    I've had to segregate my broody Silkies form the flock as they were simply hazed too much. I always seemed to have a chicken that just went for them...several from the very babes Silkies raised (the ungrateful brats).

    LofMc
     
  5. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some pictures, just for size reference.
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    They are pretty much the same size...which tells me those Silkies are older.

    If it is going well now, try it, but watch. It may go really well throughout....or not. The transition time will be when the hormones kick in and fights start over nesting sites. Silkies seem to lose then.

    But you may be very lucky....those that are raised together from chickhood do much, much, better than those brought in later even as adults.

    LofMc
     
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    ...and you'll have to make consideration for the Silkie feathered feet which can become bumble foot magnets.

    I have my Silkies on bark chip to prevent mud balls in my Oregon wet.

    Some complain that Silkies are much more sensitive to environment stress, but I have had mine foraging with the flock in all weather. The environment didn't bother them (not even the wet)...but getting pounded on by aggressive hens did.

    LofMc
     
  8. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm.... I wish I knew how old they were.. oh well I guess. It's kind of good they are older. I'm not very familiar with bumble foot... why are they more likely to get it? I will have pine shavings in the coop.. and I really don't know about in the run. Right now it's the old garden site.. so dirt and lots of vegetation... for now. Like I said, I almost wish I hadn't gotten the Silkies. :/

    So they will fight over nesting boxes?? When does that start? :rolleyes:
     
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Bumble foot is a bacterial infection that is sort of like a huge abscess in the foot. Muck, wet, and feces are the ingredients that can create conditions for bumble foot.

    Silkies are more prone because of all that foot feathering that mud clings to making a murky mess.

    I personally have not had trouble with it, but I put my Silkies on bark chip pretty early on as they were becoming a solid mud ball in my wet Oregon. Their smaller size gives them lower clearance so their bellies would ball up with mud.

    I like having my Silkies...I only have one now, and I wish I had another one. Nothing is better for brooding chicks than a good Silkie. I have permanently done away with incubators and brooding pens. Momma does all the work. Silkies go broody often enough that I generally have one in the mood when I am ready for chicks.

    It always depends on the bird and the breed, but yes, the dominant hens will hog the nesting box while the less dominant want in. They'll squawk at each other and make quite the fuss when they begin to lay as they'll sit and sit clogging up the works. Then one of your Silkies will go broody hogging the nest and making everyone mad.

    I keep a separate brooding hutch just for that reason.

    But they are FUN! I love my Silkies...just need a little extra care.

    LofMc
     
  10. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps


    I think my Silkies must be on steroids or something. They are supposedly the same age as my SLW and BR... but they are just as big if not bigger than all of them. And I don't ever foresee them getting muddy bellies... unless it's a mud pit in the run. They don't seem smaller or lower. :confused: I did notice at least one of my Silkies has clean legs.. no feathers... kind of annoying.. but to be expected I guess from chicks at TSC. I just really hope my Silkies get along with the rest of the group... if not, I won't keep them. I'm not really wanting to build another coop. It'll be a miracle if my bf and I don't kill each other by the time this one's done.

    I'm going to have several breeds.. but I'm also planning on having enough nesting boxes.. as long as they don't all decide to use the same one/s. :rolleyes: LOL

    We actually did a little meet and greet today with the teenagers and the 9 week olds. It went really well. There was a little bickering and chasing.. but nothing major. Though I'm pretty sure one of my meat roosters got a beak full of Silkie feathers from someone... I'll be glad when they are gone. Soon. I left them all out together for about 2 hours I'd say.. and it went ok. A bit of herding behavior from the Isas which surprised me.. and of course the meaties hogging all the food. Nothing new. lol I stayed in the coop with them 95% of the time. I considered just leaving them out over night. I don't think anything bad would have happened, but I don't know if they'd have been able to eat and drink. So I tucked them all safely back in the intro pen. Maybe I'll give it another go around tomorrow.

    We also changed the leg bands on the Isas... we = my daughter and I. They all did really well. They are so freaking sweet. I just love them!! I wish I had more.. only have the 5. I hope our SLW and BR are as sweet. :) (sorry didn't mean to ramble on and on) hehe :p
     

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