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Introducing new pullets to the flock. Just got rid of rooster.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by clinto, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. clinto

    clinto In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2015
    Palm Valley FL
    I've had a very dominant rooster since day 1 and the same group has been together for 15 months. I just got rid of my giant Brahma rooster that was pretty mean. He began attacking me and my wife so ge had to go. I now have 7 hens that are going to start reassembling a pecking order without the rooster. Should I go ahead and throw the 6 pullets in the mix and take advantage of the reestablishment of the order? They are 6 weeks old now. Or wait a bit and let things play out? They have been in the main coop but in a separate cage area. So they all know each other but have never actually interacted. I appreciate any thoughts.

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I always start my mingling with supervision, I let the young ones out for an hour or so at a time, returning them to the safety of their pen if things get rough. Sometimes the first few times lasts minutes as an older hen gets cantankerous. So I would proceed with my integration, I don't think it should mess anything up, and they may initially be ignored.

    Glad you got rid of that rooster, that's a big breed to turn nasty on you.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Each flock has its own dynamics. You never know for sure how any flock will react to a change like that, but most of the time they handle it quite well. You mainly read about the few cases that it doesn’t go well instead of the many cases where the transition is really smooth.

    I don’t know how much room you have, to me that’s a big issue in integration. As long as you have enough room that the adults and chicks can be separated and not forced to interact I’d try it now, even if you had not just removed the rooster. My adults usually don’t go back into the coop except to lay eggs from when I let them out in the morning until the sun goes down. Sometimes I move chicks to my grow-out coop. Once they imprint on that as home I open the gate and let them mingle, that’s usually around 8 weeks.

    But more like your situation sometimes I just open the brooder door at five weeks and let them mingle. The chicks normally spend the first day or two in the coop before they venture outside, but eventually they do go outside. They still avoid the adults until they grow big enough to force their way into the main flock but I’ve never lost a chick to another adult doing it this way.

    A few suggestions. Have food and water at different locations in and out of the coop so the young ones can eat without challenging the adults. That cuts down on potential conflict a lot. Have lots of roost space. The young ones will not want to roost with the adults, the adults can be pretty brutal on the roosts even if they are fine during the day. I put in a separate roost, a little lower and horizontally separated from the main roosts but still higher than the nests, to give them a safe place to roost that is not my nests. As a side note, don’t expect them to roost right away. They will probably continue to sleep in a group on the floor for several more weeks. That’s natural even if no adults are present.

    The first few mornings be down there pretty early, like about sunrise when they wake up, to open the pop door and let them out. That avoids them being trapped in a tight space with the adults if things don’t go well. It probably won’t take you many days of doing this to realize it’s not all that necessary, but it is a good safety precaution. Especially if your coop is small it might be necessary. There is a fair chance that if they are already awake the chicks will be on the roosts or hiding in a hole somewhere when the adults are on the coop floor. That’s the chick’s way of avoiding the adults and is perfectly normal.

    Do this when you can be around to observe how it’s going. We all have different set-ups and our flocks all have different personalities so it is possible you could have problems. But it is also very possible this will go so smoothly you wonder why you were worried to start with. Good luck!

    I agree. You made the right decision on the rooster.
  5. clinto

    clinto In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2015
    Palm Valley FL
    My setup is open to all at all times. My coop is elevated and inside of the run, and the pop door is always open to the coop. My run is 8'x24' and is predator proof at all points so i dont close the pop door anymore at night. They dont free range due to hawks always around and coyotes in the swamp behind me. I have a big watering system with 4 water nipples and 30 gallons of water. My feeder is the bucket with 3" pvc access holes so they will need to take turns there. The brooder is a caged off area directly under the coop and there is hog wire on 2 sides where the new guys and old guys can all interact. I was thinking about opening a small hole in that so the pullets can come and go but the full grown hens cant get in there. They would have food and water in there as well as the main run area. When the babies first hatched, one got into the coop and was instantly torn apart so i am going to watch them closely when they meet. Thanks for everyones thoughts and please keep em coming. I will most likely do the intro this weekend and see how it goes.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    There ya go, that's the ticket!

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