1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

New additions to the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CHICKENTIKKA82, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. CHICKENTIKKA82

    CHICKENTIKKA82 Out Of The Brooder

    So we only recently became chicken owners again and our flock have settled in well. We didn't think we would be adding and new members just yet but found ourselves in a situation where we could adopt two younger chickens who were both a bit special. Our chickens are young anyway and have only just started laying. The two new additions are around 10 -12 weeks old. One of the new additions (Wilma) has only one eye. She appears to have a defect from birth where one side of her face has not formed correctly. But she's full of character, friendly and inquisitive. I was a little worried about her ability to survive due to to lack of one eye.....until I watched her catch not one but two flies in mid air. Yeah she will be fine.

    So I have read and watched everything there is to know about introducing new chickens to an existing flock. But just wanted to see if I was missing anything.

    Ok so I have:

    1) Separated the large enclosed run into two parts. In one part is the existing chickens coop, food and water. In the other is another coop for the new girls with their food and water. The run is separated by chicken wire from ceiling to floor.

    2) I have treated the entire area with DE powder

    3) The existing girls still free range all day and have open access to the run and coop (their side)

    4) I am giving the new girls worming treatment

    5) The new girls have safe zones ready, a few toys and get attention every day from me

    6) The existing girls still get lots of attention from me as well.

    The Plan

    My plan is to use this "Be seen NOT hurt" method for at least 7 days before moving onto the next step. So far the existing girls have pecked at the new girls a bit but seem to be going about their daily business as usual and something just sit near the new girls and watch them or eat side by side (chicken wire barrier).

    So far one-eyed wilma and Betty seem to be fine, eating, drinking, playful and social. My other hens "Princess Layer" and "Storm" seem to be getting used to the new arrivals.

    If anyone thinks I have missed anything or wants to provide any tips please let me know. I'm not looking forward to the pecking order being sorted but.....its nature I suppose. Just trying to make the transition easier for both pairs. Should the period separated be longer? shorter? Should I put them in the main coop at night when ready? I've seen some bloody terrible introductions online and on youtube of hens just being thrown in and really hurt beyond basic pecking order.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    You've done everything near perfect. Good job with your research.

    2 things; First, DE is a very helpful preventative, but it will not treat existing mite or louse infections. Check the girls very carefully for notes and lice if you haven't already, and if you find any, you wanna use a Permethrin poultry dust to treat. Natural methods just aren't effective against existing infestations.

    2. You didn't mention exactly what you're feeding your juveniles. Many people forget that young birds cannot have a layer feed! The calcium content is far too high. Juveniles need a grower feed, which should contain 18-22% protein and >2% calcium. When you remove separations, you should mix your layer and grower feeds 50/50. Juveniles are ready for a layer feed at 16-18 weeks.

    And yes, night time is the correct time to remove barriers.

    It sounds like you have the birds in two separate coops. This is fine for the introduction period, but if you want them to eventually move into the original coop with your older girls, you will need to confine them to it for 1-3 days. This way they will learn where to roost at night.
     
  3. Bethan

    Bethan Out Of The Brooder

    53
    7
    33
    Oct 14, 2015
    Perth Western Australia
    Hi Chickentikka
    I have a similar situation & have been researching like you. Also newish to hen keeping. Have 2 pullets & introducing 2 point of lay hens. I halved my small coop with wire, after the chest thumping reduced to "tolerence" ive let them into the little chicken garden together (supervised). I let the new girls into it a couple of times first so they could familiarise & learn the hiding places. I'd read a water pistol is helpful to squirt any aggressive behaviour. Worked great for me, & quite quickly. This afternoon i plan to take the wire down while they are together in the garden & see how they go together back to the coop. Its the weekend tomorrow so i plan opening the door to their garden at dawn so they arnt all in only the coop for too long. Apparently chickens are pretty doppy when sleepy so i am hoping for a quiet night. Hope this is helpful. I wonder if chickens will target a disability though. Best of luck. B
     
  4. CHICKENTIKKA82

    CHICKENTIKKA82 Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for the info and advice. We have a nice but strange coop in terms of layout. I think I will have to build a slide in separator so that I can slide it in before bed and put the young girls in and then slide it out first thing in the morning so the nesting boxes are free again as this is the side the young ones will perch. The things we do to help out animals. The two coop system is working for now so I'll do that for one week then. Separate the main coop for a week. Then remove all barriers. I think after that I've done all I can in terms of integration. That should have been pretty easy going for both groups. I'll also sort the food mix today.
     
  5. CHICKENTIKKA82

    CHICKENTIKKA82 Out Of The Brooder

    Well I decided as I was working in the garden to let all the girls out together. Successful bit of free ranging for them all. Most of the time both groups did their own thing. No chasing, only the slightest peck now and then when the young ones started flapping around (Cant blame them really they had been locked in a shed all their life). Think I will continue to do this on a regular basis to bring some peace to the new bunch.
     
  6. Bethan

    Bethan Out Of The Brooder

    53
    7
    33
    Oct 14, 2015
    Perth Western Australia
    The newbies would have loved that. Mine kept to their own in the garden too. Tonight i put my original 2 (Ruby & Harri) in their loft at sunset & closed the loft door. Waited tiĺl dark & put new ones in (Lily & Rosie). Worked perfectly! Checked a bit later & all asleep on the perch. You might like to try that a little further down the track. B
     
  7. CHICKENTIKKA82

    CHICKENTIKKA82 Out Of The Brooder

    Good stuff. Yeah i'm taking it slow as I have all the time in the world as a stay a home dad. Our daughter loves the chickens so she goes in the baby sling on me and we can do our supervised free ranging and separate sleeping for a week and then whack em all in the coop together. I think they will get on.
     
  8. Bethan

    Bethan Out Of The Brooder

    53
    7
    33
    Oct 14, 2015
    Perth Western Australia
    Sounds like you have a wise lifestyle. My cat woke me at first light so i went to check. Rube & Harri were down in their run looking a bit sleepy, just standing there. I open a little side door to the loft & the newbies were awake (but alive!), just a bit cautious about comin down. I opened the door to the yard, tossed around a load of greens, inside & out. After a few seconds newbies made a break for it. A bit of banter ensued. But they all moved into the garden yard & got on with relatively peaceful chicken stuff. So some little way to go yet.
     
  9. CHICKENTIKKA82

    CHICKENTIKKA82 Out Of The Brooder

    Good stuff Bethan. Sounds like a great start. I'm off to buy some more wood for some additional roosts today. Had x2 sessions of everyone free ranging today with some positive results. The serious attack / hard pecking has changed to just a bit of chasing (away from food etc) or a much lighter peck when the young ones start flapping around (enjoying the freedom). I'm trying to leave them to do the pecking. I understand getting involved just ruins all the pecking order and it just starts again.

    I've decided to put the feeders outside in the garden. 2 of them spaced out on either end of the garden. This way there will be less of a battle for food and more opportunities for the young ones to get some food from those fat older birds.

    The young ones know now where all the bushes and hiding spots are. They also understand to move when the big girls come over.

    Just taking it nice and slow. I've got all the time in the world for these new rescue birds to be happy.
     
  10. Bethan

    Bethan Out Of The Brooder

    53
    7
    33
    Oct 14, 2015
    Perth Western Australia
    Extra roosts in advance is a really good plan Chik. Last night mine squabbled till dark, up & down the ramp to their loft. Only 1 newby manager to install herself up there. By torchlight i found the other fluffed up in the run. When i put her in the loft i saw the other 3 werent on the perch. I expect they will settle into all that in time. :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by