Integration

JAR26

Songster
Mar 3, 2019
95
97
116
New-Brunswick Canada
Hi!
I know this will vary from flock to flock but I wanted to see what you guys thought. I have 3 Bovans from 2019. I integrated with them 5 Plymouth rocks in June 2020 and it was sooooo hard. I did everything right (sectioned off portion of coop so they could be together yet seperated for 4 weeks, let them merge after foraging, etc). It was hard and the Bovans were visious and I had to save the little ones often. When they got bigger, they got better at staying away from the mean girls and mostly stay in seperate groups but roost all together at night. Now I have five 12 week old Australorps quarantining at a safe but visible distance from my existing flock. Im dreading integrating to the point where I'm concidering giving my bovans away in the hopes that that would reset the pecking order and help the australops integrate better with the other hens. My other options would be to swap in the new birds with the bovans for a week or so and then re-integrating the bovan. Would that just create too many levels of chaos/stress for everyone?
Thanks!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
105,200
159,617
1,867
SW Michigan
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Adding any new birds into existing birds territory will likely cause 'problems'.

Most important thing about integration is lots of space.
How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet or meters by meters?
Dimensions and pics would help here.

Here's some tips about.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
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.

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

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

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