Introducing new chickens to established flock question Photos Added

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rebbetzin, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Ok,, I only have six chickens total. Two Barred Rocks a little over 2 years old, and four new ones that are about 4 months old.

    We are going to be getting some cold weather here the next few nights, and I wanted to get the new chicks into the coop with the older ones for warmth.

    I have kept them apart, letting them see each other through the fencing. Yesterday, I put the older hens in with the chicks one at a time for a while. Then with both the hens, in the enclosure I have made for the new chicks. The older hens pretty much ignored the new chicks, but, the new chicks are scared of the hens. They group together in the corner. The older hens if given a chance, do peck at the chicks, not hard, but just being "bossy"...

    How long before they are ok to be together without my being there to supervise? They were in the same enclosure last night, the hens in the coop and the chicks roosting on a branch in the corner of the run. I want to be able to put the chicks in the coop at night.

    I think, in retrospect, I should have put the new chicks in the coop and run area, and moved the hens to the new enlosure.

    Will the older hens hurt the younger ones, or am I being a worry wart? I realize they have to establish a new pecking order, and that they will do it on their own schedule.

    I feel like such a ninny!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  2. silky ma

    silky ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2007
    Can you wire off a part of the coop for the newbies? This way they can all get use to staying inside together for a few days - a week.
    Give them their own separate coop space and in the morning let them all out together. The older ones will establish a pecking order
    so just make sure to watch and anything that seems overly harsh to you let the offending hen get a no from you. Feed them treats together each day and make sure to be there to supervise...remember you are top hen so correct any harsh behavior to the little ones.
    By the end of the week all should be well and you can remove the added wire in the coop.
     
  3. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    My coop is really little, just two roosting perches and a laying box on the end. I don't know how I could make a divider that would work.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=8389-coop-construction

    I think I will fix some treats, put the older hens in the enclosure with the chicks, get in there with them, and see how it goes!

    Maybe a few days of "supervised visitation" will help get them used to being together.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  4. silky ma

    silky ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Go ahead and do that. Just correct any bad behavior. good luck

    PS: railroad ties are toxic to the enviroment. You would be ebtter off going with untreated redwood.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  5. PamB

    PamB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Dayville, CT
    I don't think you are being a worry wart. There is the potential of the smaller chicks getting injured. I think each flock is different, so it would be hard to give an answer as to how long you can leave them unsupervised. In my case, I can just tell when they are ready. I don't leave them alone if there is a lot of chasing and cornering of the little ones. If there is just a peck here and there and that is all you observe, you can start leaving them alone for a bit. I think you know your chickens the best, so you'll be able to tell when they have excepted the little ones enough that you feel safe leaving them unsupervised. I think you are doing great so far!!
     
  6. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Quote:Well, I have had these railroad ties in my yard now for almost 30 years.... They are lined with at least two layers of heavy duty landscaping black plastic between them and the soil. Though I suppose the plastic is not that great either. I got rid of most the plastic storage stuff in my kitchen, and now use glass for most everything.
     
  7. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2010
    Upstate New York
    As a newbie to raising chckens I myself am a worrywart and can totally sympathize.And as such have a "brand new" emergency. We have 4 buffs that we got in the spring from a local farm supply store and have now "rescued " a hen with 6 chicks from my stepfathers farm . My tractor is very small and with us coming into winter I am not sure what to do with my new arrivals.If the chicks have their mother to keep them warm can they go in the tractor with the others or will I need to keep them in a playpen in the garage ?( my only other option)Also, with the tractor being so small any ideas on putting perches inside for them?
     
  8. PamB

    PamB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Dayville, CT
    Kickin' Chickin' :

    As a newbie to raising chckens I myself am a worrywart and can totally sympathize.And as such have a "brand new" emergency. We have 4 buffs that we got in the spring from a local farm supply store and have now "rescued " a hen with 6 chicks from my stepfathers farm . My tractor is very small and with us coming into winter I am not sure what to do with my new arrivals.If the chicks have their mother to keep them warm can they go in the tractor with the others or will I need to keep them in a playpen in the garage ?( my only other option)Also, with the tractor being so small any ideas on putting perches inside for them?

    I'm also new to this. However, I have integrated. Although my chickens are very docile, they will go after the new ones. I wouldn't recommend putting new chickens into a small area with your established flock. They need space to get away and hide. Is your "run" area a good size? By tractor, (and this could be because I'm new) do you mean the indoor area is small or the outdoor area?​
     
  9. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2010
    Upstate New York
    Hi Pam, Sorry for the confusion. The run is a good size but the coop itself very small.It's like an a-frame. Hubby decided this morning he needs to build a new and improved coop(hope it goes up fast as we live just outside Syracuse and get lots of snow) ,I guess what I needed to know is how long to wait before introducing the new arrivals or should I separate the chicks from the hen and just acclimate her to the coop by herself, the introduce the chicks after they've outgrown the "chick-box".All of your help is truly appreciated as I grew up on a dairy farm and have no idea what I am doing with the chickens.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's! With their down coats, that is just getting comfortable for a chicken. From what I saw in your 7-day forecast, you have no reason to be in a hurry to get them all sleeping in the coop. At 4 months, they are totally feathered out, have been for almost three months. At least on some things, you can stop worrying.

    At 4 months, they are old enough to go through integration. The older more mature ones will probably dominate them for a while longer and the young ones will be afraid of them. Many chickens are bullies when they can be. That is just the nature of chickens. It is important to them that they maintain there place in the pecking order. I have a totally different set-up than yours so I go about integration differently, mainly by letting them free range at the same time and letting them sleep apart for a while. I have plenty of space for the younger ones to get away from the older ones if they need to. You don't have that luxury. I've had 12 week old brooder raised chicks sleeping on the same roosts as the mature flock. They were at the far end of the roosts, scared to death of the older ones, but they were there. If did not let them out real early when it became daylight, the young ones would stay up on the roosts while the adults got down to eat and drink. I've had broodies take their chicks to the roost around 5 weeks age, but Mama was up there to protect her babies. Well after they have been weaned and Mama is no longer protecting them, I've had 13 week old broody raised chicks mixing in and sleeping with the adults at night while some of their brood mates were still trying to find places to hide while roosting. No two chickens or flocks are the same. They will react differently.

    With your set-up, I'd suggest setting up a separate eating and drinking place, as far from the existing one as you can. The older ones can be bullies, keeping the young ones from eating and drinking. Having two makes it a lot easier for the young ones to eat and drink. With mine, the adults prefer the new ones I set up for the young, but that enables the young ones to eat at the old place.

    With what you have done so far, I'd let them share the space and see what happens. If all you get is an occasional peck when the young get too close, you are doing great. The two things to look out for are where you have a really aggressive older one that actively goes after a young ones and tries to corner it and beat it up or one of those pecks actually draws blood. Then they can turn into cannibals. I've never had that happen but I can easily see a vicious peck on the comb, wattles, or just a good grab of skin could start bleeding.

    You'll have to observe and do what is comfortable to you. No two chickens are going to act exactly the same. From what you've said, I think it will go pretty well for you, but no guarantees. Sure wish you luck!
     

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