Introducing new hens to young flock- first timer

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kirstenrodden, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Kirstenrodden

    Kirstenrodden In the Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2017
    I have eleven 12 week old birds (5 hens 6 roosters) who are currently my flock. Ive hand raised them from 1 day old and they are my first chickens. Ive also ordered six 18 week old pullets from our local co-op (hubby couldnt wait for eggs!) Whom are coming in a few days. I only now discovered that it is recommended to separate new hens from an existing flock.

    Is this something that is dire? Or would my hens get along where my other flock is so young? 5 of my roosters will be either going to new homes in the coming weeks if I can find them or will be culled.
     
  2. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

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    The existing flock will likely see the newcomers as a threat and vice versa. Divide your coop and run temporarily, so they can see but not touch each other. Give them a few weeks before attempting integration.
    And get rid of excess cockerels asap. Adolescent boys will add to the ensuing kerfuffle for sure.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Consider biological/medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    BYC 'quarantine' search


    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.


    This used to be a better search, new format has reduced it's efficacy, but still:
    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, BUT some info is outdated IMO:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  4. DrFeathers

    DrFeathers Songster

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    I posted this elsewhere but got no response. Trying again since on similar topic:

    [​IMG]

    Added a 17week golden sex link rescue (rest of her flock was eaten by a raccoon) to our group of five 17week pullets (BR, 2xEE, BO, SLW). She came from same hatchery and same local farm as our girls so they even shared a brooder for the first few days.

    Anyway -
    We kept the GSL in a dog cage next to the run for her first night and the next day to watch the pecking order day then added her to the roost bar after bedtime that night. Next morning there was a lot of pecking for a few hours but mostly settled down.

    The top tier girls are nice to her now, she is gentle and has no interest in being dominant. Two days later though, the silver Laced Wyandotte who was 5/5 on the pecking order before she arrived is still harassing her whenever she comes in line of sight. GSL doesn't hang with the flock when they free range because of it, and hangs out on the roost bar in their run when they are in the run. If this doesn't stop soon should we intervene? Separate the SLW into the dog crate for a day and then reintroduce her maybe? Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  5. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

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    Each time I've integrated new pullets, a hen who was lowest on the pecking order has been the one who dishes out the meanest treatment, and it was a different hen each time.
    You might want to try your idea of separating her. But as long as no blood is drawn, most people say let them work it out.
     
  6. DrFeathers

    DrFeathers Songster

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    Thanks! Any idea how long it usually takes for the nastiness to end?
     
  7. Kirstenrodden

    Kirstenrodden In the Brooder

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    Does it make any difference where my new girls will be older and bigger than the rest of my flock? I have a huge run that they have access to with lots of roost space and such. I dont have much in the way of space to segregate the new girls besides a few small airline dog kennels.
     
  8. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

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    I don't know how the age thing will play out, but it will probably help that the newbies are older. Help them anyway.
    I got a roll of cheap plastic garden fence to divide the run and ooop. I used bamboo as fence posts. I roll it up when done and use it over and over for all kinds of things.
    Well let us know how it goes, and good luck!
     
    Kirstenrodden likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    What ages are we talking?
    It's more about territory than age or size.
     
  10. Kirstenrodden

    Kirstenrodden In the Brooder

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    My current flock are only 11 or 12 weeks. My new 6 will be 18 weeks
     

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