Introducing new adult birds to my flock

NewYorkMama

Songster
5 Years
Apr 17, 2017
76
83
141
Finger Lakes, NY
Hello! I have a family of 3 buff orpingtons who are 1.5 years old. They all get along splendidly. Tomorrow, 2 new buff orpington girls, around 3-5 years old (I am adopting rescues from a farm sanctuary) will be joining them. They've been living with their current flock for months, and have been given a clean bill of health by a vet. I was considering setting up an enclosed dog travel crate in their run and putting a few inches of straw on the bottom, so they'll have a place to be near but separate from my current girls. They'll have separate food/water in there too. My concern is this...

We are expecting a "big" snow - 12 - 15" tomorrow night. Can the new girls safely spend the night in the dog crate (it's a large dog travel crate with hard plastic sides, a metal gate on the front, and air holes in the top sides), outside in the run? They'll be protected from predators, because the run is completely enclosed, but they won't be in with my girls who have a *slightly* heated coop. These new chickens are apparently used to a coop that is unheated, but has a heated floor, though previously they were in an unheated barn. I don't want to cause more shock from being cold then they'll already be experiencing from being introduced to a new flock.

Would it be better just to assimilate them out in their yard tomorrow before the storm comes and hope they all roost together at night in the coop - and skip the whole dog crate idea?

Any ideas/thoughts are welcome. Darn snow. ;)
 
Last edited:

azygous

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Yeah, we should invent new swear words for snow and cold.

Here is how I introduce new adult birds to my flock. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

It will work for multiples, too. This method involves being separated by a barrier during the day and sleeping on the roost in the coop at night. Don't worry about them at night. Chickens are usually more keen on settling down for the night than having a civil war.
 

RoosterML

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Hello! I have a family of 3 buff orpingtons who are 1.5 years old. They all get along splendidly. Tomorrow, 2 new buff orpington girls, around 3-5 years old (I am adopting rescues from a farm sanctuary) will be joining them. They've been living healthily with their current flock for months, and have been given a clean bill of healthy by a vet. I was considering setting up an enclosed dog travel crate in their run and putting a few inches of straw on the bottom, so they'll have a place to be near but separate from my current girls. They'll have separate food/water in there too. My concern is this...

We are expecting a "big" snow - 12 - 15" tomorrow night. Can the new girls safely spend the night in the dog crate (it's a large dog travel crate with hard plastic sides, a metal gate on the front, and air holes in the top sides), outside in the run? They'll be protected from predators, because the run is completely enclosed, but they won't be in with my girls who have a *slightly* heated coop. These new chickens are apparently used to a coop that is unheated, but has a heated floor, though previously they were in an unheated barn. I don't want to cause more shock from being cold then they'll already be experiencing from being introduced to a new flock.

Would it be better just to assimilate them out in their yard tomorrow before the storm comes and hope they all roost together at night in the coop - and skip the whole dog crate idea?

Any ideas/thoughts are welcome. Darn snow. ;)
Leave them in the crate for a couple hours tomorrow and then let them go with the others. Once together you'll see how it's going at which point you make a judgement call.
 

Mrs. K

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12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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I agree, leave them in the crate for a couple of hours, wait for your original to roost, and then put the new ones in the coop. You are adding nearly equal numbers, of very mature birds. There may be some squabbling, but I would not expect too much. If you were adding birds that were much younger that the original flock, might be more of an upheaval.

I would not expect these birds to lay at all during the winter, and only sporadically next spring.

Mrs K
 

aart

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NewYorkMama

Songster
5 Years
Apr 17, 2017
76
83
141
Finger Lakes, NY
Yeah, we should invent new swear words for snow and cold.
LOL for sure! And thank you, that link was SO helpful! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the girls will get on well. I've already set up the crate in the run so they can check it out before the new girls arrive. Snow storm hasn't moved in... yet.
 

NewYorkMama

Songster
5 Years
Apr 17, 2017
76
83
141
Finger Lakes, NY
Update! So the initial meeting went well, they all ate mealworms in the same general area. Some pecking and a chest bumping scuffle insued. Then my girls all went back inside the coop and the new girls are outside scratching around.

My girls are still up on the roost eyeing the door suspiciously.:rolleyes:

I’ll post a photo of the current set up.
 

NewYorkMama

Songster
5 Years
Apr 17, 2017
76
83
141
Finger Lakes, NY
So it's so around 20 degrees & windy outside, and the new girls are afraid of me, and afraid of the dog crate, and all the chickens are afraid of each other, and the new ones are just hunkering down outside in the wind (but they're molting and short on feathers, so that will not work) so I made the executive decision to usher them all inside the coop. My old girls all flew up on the roost, and are clucking at the new girls who are on the floor... but no one is hurting each other. And at least they're all out of the cold!
 

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