Introducing flocks?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by huntermac0615, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. huntermac0615

    huntermac0615 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have three hens that are about seven months and just started laying eggs a month or two ago. I got new chicks that are now three months old. I have them in a small coop outside so the older chickens (that free range) can see them, they have been in their coop for a few weeks now. I want to introduce the two flocks, but I don't know how or when to. Also, one of the older chickens tries to peck at the babies through the chicken wire around their coop. I'm concerned that she will be aggressive when I introduce the flocks. What should I do?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Here you go. I hope you will find what you need, after you skip the first part about quarantine
     
  3. huntermac0615

    huntermac0615 Out Of The Brooder

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    Was there a link attached? I didn't see anything
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes the older hens will be aggressive, may kill them if they are smaller and younger. Patience, hideouts, multiple feeder and waterer is what is needed. Established chickens will take the new chicks as a threat until they get used to them.

    Aart has a trick where there is a one way barrier between the birds. The set up has too small of openings for the big birds to get through, but the small ones can escape for safety. A pallet can do this, a wire panel with some of the wires removed can do this. One must make sure that the chicks know that is where safety is...... so set it up so that the chicks can't get out for a couple of days, and establish their own home turf and equate it with safety. Be wary of any spot that a chick could get trapped.

    good luck,

    Mrs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is my set up and I hope it helps you decide what to do...

    I have the main coop with around 40 chickens of various ages, from 4 years down to 5 mo... the younger ones were raised within the flock by a broody hen... out of their sight I have a rabbit house, due to winter slow down with rabbit breeding we partitioned it off, opened up the side, fenced in a yard and got 20 free chicks from our local feed store back in Sept., they are about 3 months old give or take a week or so. I have never let the bitties out of their coop and run due to a very persistent falcon that has hung around all summer and fall. Yesterday late afternoon I was feeding everyone for the night and decided since it would be dark in 30 min or so I would let the little ones out for some green grass time... They were fine hanging out around my feet gobbling up the grass... I then decided I wanted to see how the older flock did so I went and opened their gate and they all came running to share in the scratch grains I had ready to toss to them... You know, there wasn't one issue, they all mingled well, of course the biddies got a peck here and there to get out of the way but that is normal chicken behavior.. I watched as one of the little RR's tried to face off the Molted java hen I have, it was hilarious, the Java was like Seriously??, she gave a loud squawk that sent that pullet running.
    Now mind you, I am not ready to house them together 24/7 but will allow 30 min or so a day of mingle time, in a couple weeks I plan on moving the little ones into a grow out pen next to the main coop for the night and then opening it up the next day for all of them.
    Since you have the pullets in a place where they have had exposure to the older flock I wouldn't be all that concerned.. Open it up and let them come and go as they wish during the day, chances are the pullets will return at night.. Do that for a few weeks and see how it goes then close off the run to them completely and make them go to the main coop... At 3 months they should not be chirping anymore, before I got last round of chicks this is how I did it too.. The rabbit house was used only because we are in the process of expanding the coop and are using the grow out pen side.

    Oh and don't be surprised when the pullets don't hang with the older crowd.. until they come into lay they will stay in their own group.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Judy must have had a glitch in posting the link, it was probably the one at the very end of my notes here.


    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
     

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