Introducing new chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Winter Chickens, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. Winter Chickens

    Winter Chickens New Egg

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    Jul 30, 2016
    Echo Bay Ontario
    I have 13 hens, and 2 roosters, of RID, Orpingtons, I was thinking of ordering 5 barred rock, because I may need to fill the insulated coop for the winter, (northern Ontario). What are my concerns when introducing 5 ready to lays from Frey's Hatchery. Or should we be ok?
     
  2. TNbear23

    TNbear23 New Egg

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    Nov 4, 2015
    East TN
    I have a coop large enough to divide, it has nesting boxes and roost on both sides along with separate runs. I divided it with wire so they could all see each other but not gain access. I kept it that way for about a month or so. That seemed to work well, the only time there seems to be a problem is when they are getting scraps the older (original hens) chase off the newer ones. I am guessing it is all part of their pecking order. I am no expert, but this seemed to work for me. Good luck.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    Do not believe that 'filling up the coop' is going to keep your birds warmer over winter.
    Most of a birds body heat is held tight by it's wonderful feather coat.
    They don't need heat it needs plenty of fresh air to stay healthy.

    The need extra space in winter because they will probably be spending more time in the coop than outside due to the snowfall and frigid winds. The coop should have plenty open ventilation all winter for fresh air, to exhaust the ammonia from feces and respiratory moisture, thus crushing the theory that a coop can 'hold heat' produced by the birds bodies.

    I strongly suggest that you read the 2 articles linked in my signature on Space and Ventilation.

    Also, 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

    And...Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ve read stories on this forum of people in Nova Scotia and Northern Michigan whose chickens slept in trees during the winter. The coldest I’ve personally seen chickens sleeping in trees was about -25 C (-10 F) but I’m confident they saw much colder temperatures. Those chickens were not on the bare limb of a dead tree overlooking a bluff squawking defiantly in the teeth of a blizzard. Like the wild birds that overwinter where you are they sought seek in protected places. If they can stay out of the wind they can keep warm with their feathers and down quite well as long as they are healthy. They get great ventilation when sleeping in trees. If they are sick, then they are at risk in the cold no matter what you do. Hopefully your chickens are not sick. The best coops for cold weather are coops that block wind hitting the birds on the roost yet provide for a good exchange of good air for bad.

    What are your concerns when adding POL (Point Of Lay) pullets to an existing flock? The main one is room. They need enough room to get away from bullies and to avoid them in the first place. The more mature flock members will outrank them in the pecking order and can be pretty brutal in enforcing those pecking order rights when the less mature POL pullets invade their private space. That’s why you normally see immature chickens, whether broody-raised or brooder-raised, form their own sub-flock within the flock. They may be fully integrated and able to sleep in the same building (though normally not close together) yet avoid the adults as much as possible.

    Another concern is that sometimes chickens become territorial. It does not happen all the time, but it happens often enough to be a concern. A chicken might attack a stranger that invades the flock’s home territory. You’d think that would be a rooster but from what I’ve seen it’s usually a hen. It’s a very good idea to house new chickens where they can see each other yet not get to each other for at least a week, longer is better.

    There is the question of quarantine. When you merge flocks it’s possible one has a disease or parasite that the flock has built up immunity to but they can be carriers and infect the other flock. That could be your flock infecting the new ones as easily as the new ones infecting yours. With them coming from a hatchery I probably would not be that concerned but some people would.

    With POL pullets some of the tricks for a successful integration are to house then side by side for a while, give them as much room as you can, give them places they can hide and get out of line of sight if you can’t give them a lot of just plain room, and provide separate feeding and watering stations so the younger ones can eat and drink without challenging the older ones. Sometimes these integrations go so smoothly you wonder what all the worry was even if you don’t do all these things, occasionally they end in disaster (especially if space is tight), usually there is some drama but not a lot. People successfully integrate all the time, you can too.

    Welcome to the forum!

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

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