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Introducing New Birds to Flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mylilchix, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. mylilchix

    mylilchix Songster

    I know this gets asked just about everyday, but I'm not sure what to do. I have 2 now 3 month old ameraucanas living in my basment, and they NEED to move outside. The problem is their coop isn't built yet. Ever since I got it, its snowed and the ground is soooo wet nothing will get built for a while [​IMG]. My existing flock is out in coop #1. I'd like to get them into the coop because they're getting too big for the house.

    Should I move them into my rooster pen next to the coop (removing the roo of course) so they can get acquainted with my girls and then move them into the coop? I'm just not sure what the best way to familiarize them with my girls would be [​IMG]. Thanks for the help!


  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Up to 8 week in the house with the brooder and heat lamp
    At 8 weeks, we move them into this brooder outside with the heat lamp


    We leave them in there until they are fully feathered. You can see it is right next to the roost (to the left), so the chicks are visible to the other birds but separated to avoid injury. They are usually in there to about 12 weeks.

    To the left of the brooder, we cut a small opening in the wire and open it during the day, so the chicks can get in and out but the bigger birds won't fit in - a safety net so to speak. We keep that open for 4 weeks, and then put them in with the flock. There is the normal pecking order business but we have not ever had an injured bird following this method.

    Good luck!!!!
  3. mylilchix

    mylilchix Songster

    Debi, I love your set up. At what point do you introduce them to your flock? I'm assuming the hens have been watching the new girls this whole time.

  4. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    After they have been in the brooder for a couple weeks, we open the small opening for them to go in and out - that way if they ae getting pecked they have an escape. After a couple weeks of that - we shut them out of the brooder. Everything has gone fine using this method with three different sets of chicks.
  5. mylilchix

    mylilchix Songster

    Thanks! I'm going to give that a try! You've been a huge help. [​IMG]

  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    No problem! Good luck with your babies. [​IMG]
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Gradual introduction, like Debi's method of integration is the usual way. Some people just erect a simple wire cage/pen near the home pen, or even in it, and then after a few days just release the new into the old flock.
    Although, I've heard of a different method that works - for less trouble.

    The day before I plan to introduce the birds, I withold feed in the afternoon from both groups.

    Then, I take the new birds into the coop in the dark of night - quietly - when the rest are sleeping. In the morning, at sunrise, I make a clanking clatter of a racket and come into the coop, bringng a bucket of feed.
    I get some dust flying as I pour the feed in and then get out the way.
    The hungry birds, new and old alike, dive on the food ravenously. In this bonding, feeding-frenzy moment, the oldsters seem to forget they are supposed to get after the newcomers. There is some eventual pecking and fussing, but it is mostly half hearted.

    I notice there is some half hearted hen pecking with either method, so I quit bothering with all that separation/introduction anxiety. I find it hardly worth all the worry... six of one, half dozen of the other.
    This night-introduction method came from an old 'chicken lady' who probably forgot more about keeping birds than I'll ever learn.

    Choice is yours, of course. Do as what moves you.

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