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Introducing new chicks into the flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sturdyprairiegal, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. sturdyprairiegal

    sturdyprairiegal Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 27, 2008
    I'm ready to move my 25 6-wk olds (Reds, BO, Silver Laced Wyandotte, and Aracaunas) out into the coop and yard with my remaining four adult chickens and wonder if there are any tricks to "introduce" them without much violence? Of course, I assume there will be the whole pecking order setup, but I have the thought that 25 new birds will sort of overwhelm my existing adults.

    I'm down to one ridiculously insane silkie roo and 3 hens--a BO, a Red Sex Link, and a white leghorn who went broody to my amazement and sat on the other gals' eggs, eventually hatching three BOs. (She got so excited to head back out to free range that she kind of forgot to sit on the rest of the eggs enough. Nonetheless, it's astounding she went broody like this in the first place, seeing as she's a leghorn... hmm! Today she attacked the 120 pound dog who made the mistake of walking down the driveway 10' away from her! She is SERIOUS about mothering!) Her chicks are about 1 week old now and thriving (and ridiculously cute, of course).

    Any tips from you folks with more experience than my 1+ year?

    Oh, I also have 7 ducks and 7 guineas--all share the coop at night, nestboxes, feeders, and free range all day. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    6 weeks is still young.... most folks wait until they are at least 10-12 weeks.
     
  3. merrydancer

    merrydancer Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2007
    I put birds, young or old, that I am trying to introduce in a cage within the bigger chicken yard so that the birds will get used to seeing each other without being able to kill each other. I do this for 1 - 2 weeks. Then let them out for a few hours per days gradually increasing the time but have some hiding places. For younger birds, I try to make the hiding places low enough that the more adult birds can't easy follow the babies into the hiding places.

    Another plan I've used is keeping all the older birds in a separate pen and letting the new birds have the regular pen for a few days. Then slowly bring the old flock back into the regular pen a few birds at a time. ...still good to have a few hiding places available.

    Another plan is introducing newer birds when everybody is free ranging.... makes for a kinda "no man's land"....again with hiding places available. Will need to separate at night... would be good if they could at least hear/see each other at night. (separate cage within the larger coop)

    The hardest entry I ever had was a single chick had to be introduced to an established flock of 16. He had no "social skills".
    It was rather sad... he so wanted to be part of the flock but nobody wanted him and he had no "sibling buds". Then he got depressed and didn't even try to be part of the flock... just stayed by himself. BUT...finally... he started to standup for himself and worked his way into the group.

    It can be a challenge. You are right.... with that many babies, it might be the older flock that is running for cover.. LOL
     

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