Introducing new chicks to an existing flock

northway

In the Brooder
May 27, 2020
3
13
13
What is the best way to introduce new chicks to an existing flock? My 6 chicks will be ready for the coop in about 3 weeks. I already have 6 hens and a rooster that are about a year old. I know I can't just put them together. Any suggestions? Thanks so much
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
20,766
907
Southeast Louisiana
Since we don't know ow big your coop is in feet or meters, how big your run is in feet or meters, if you even have a run, what the inside of your coop looks like, or what your run looks like we can't give specifics that actually suit your specific unique conditions. The best we can do is some generic suggestions.

House them across wire for a while so they can see each other but not get at each other. I'd suggest a minimum of a week, more might be better. If your coop is big enough this might mean sectioning off part of the coop. If you have to build a separate shelter outside make sure it is predator proof and suitable for your weather.

When you let them out make sure you have food and water in widely separated areas. The older ones sometimes bully the young by keeping them away from food and water.

It's really common for young chickens to form a separate sub-flock until they mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. For my pullets that's usually when they start to lay. Don't force them together any more than you have to. That will not force them to get along, it puts the young ones in danger.

Give them as much space as you can. To me the amount of space they have is critical. They need to be able to avoid the adults. You can improve the quality of whatever space you have by adding clutter. That means give them places to hide under, behind, or above. The idea is to break the line of sight.

If they want to sleep separately at night, let them. Don't try to force them to sleep on the roosts.

Especially if room is tight some people use the safe haven/panic room concept. Have openings between a safe area and the general shared area big enough the young can get through but the adults can't. Usually that's the pen you've been keeping them in. If they get chased they have a safe place to run to.
 

northway

In the Brooder
May 27, 2020
3
13
13
Thanks ,for the information. As you can tell, I'm very new to this whole chicken thing. We have an existing coop/run, but I will have to get my husband to give me the measurements. We are in the process of building a bigger coop with a run attached and it should be ready within the next two weeks (weather permitting). Some sites I've looked at say this is a good time to introduce the new chicks since the new hens will be moved to the new coop. The chicks will also be ready about this time. I have a small wire dog kennel that I had planned to put the chicks in to start the introductory stage and just place it next to the existing run so they could see each other.
 

Tamdog

Songster
Apr 23, 2020
423
1,528
196
I use the keep them separate/ but together approach for a couple of weeks- then late one night while the big girls are asleep I sneak the young hens up on the roost. There is something about them waking up together that seems to ease the merge. BUT I always get up early the next few mornings before they all get up and open the gate so that when they all wake up they can have lots of space to run if anyone is being pursued. It also helps to throw a little treat or corn on the ground around in a large enough area that they will all run to grab the corn and have a distraction, Plus I try to do the merge on a week that I can supervise all day and see if there are issues. The idea of using things for them to hid up under is great- but I had one of my babies get stuck between something and she could not get out, the older hen pecked her and it took her along time to heal emotionally and physically. You cant be expected to catch all the crazy things that might happen in a hen pen- but just wanted you to be aware. Here is a great article I read, https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...-using-the-“see-but-don’t-touch”-method.67839
 

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