New birds integration...UPDATE: DAY range!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jeffross1968, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    So last night, around 10pm, we came home with 5 new hens to add to our existing flock of 6 birds (4 confirmed hens, 2 unknowns as of yet). Existing birds, except for one barred rock, are all less than a year old. New birds all just turned 5 months. It was night time, we figured the best time to introduce them. It took about 2 minutes for the new birds to find their way to the roosts with very little fan fare. Everything quieted down and off to sleep they went.

    I woke up early this morning on purpose, so I could let them out of the coop and into the run. THAT is when the fun began [​IMG]

    Almost immediately the pecking order began to be reshuffled. There was a little pecking, some words were exchanged. A few even stood beak to beak, fluffing out their feathers and had a staring contest. Now, I knew this would not go completely smoothly, and more than it would if you introduced a new bunch of strangers to my house to share my room with me and the wife. I know there is going to be some confrontation while they work out who's the boss.

    But I guess my question is, how much of this is normal? When does it become unwanted violence, and not just chickens working out a new pecking order. One of the agressors this morning was my older barred rock, who, except for a little "hey, get away from my watermelon" yelp has never shown any sign of aggressive behavior. I know I need to let this progress, but can anyone give me an idea of what is normal and what isn't.

    Oh, and my new birds are SOOOO pretty. Pictures later when the sun comes out!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011

  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member 8 Years

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    You didn't quaratine your birds before intergrating??? And yes all of it is normal!
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  3. ChickyLoo

    ChickyLoo Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    New Hampshire
    I haven't seen a magic number of days posted [​IMG] you need to keep an eye on them though in case it gets violent & there is blood. There are lots of threads on adding to your flock so you can get an idea what to look for. I like the idea of crating the new ones so they can get to know each other. Do yours free range? The more space they have the easier it is for the pecking order to sort itself out. Good luck & enjoy the show [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  4. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    If you are referring to quarantine for disease, I purchased them for a very respected local person who had them all vaccinated for 3 different things. They are AMAZINGLY healthy, quite possibly the healthiest birds I've seen. However, if you are talking about quarantine for integration purposes, unfortunately, I really did not have the set up. I know it's not optimal to do things this way. If only we were living on 10 acres with a giant barn for a coop. About the only thing I could have done was shove them in a smallish dog cage and put the cage in the run for a while. But that wouldn't have helped anything.

    I'm going to keep a VERY close eye on things today. The problem will not be in the coop, in the evening, when they are all tired and ready for sleep. Things went really well when I put them together last night. If there are problems, it will be in the run today and tomorrow while I let them identify with their new home. After that, I'm going to let them all out to free range. I've cleared my schedule, and set a chair up next to the run. If I have to....I'M GOING IN! [​IMG]

  5. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:Yeah, I've read sooo many threads recently regarding the issue, though nearly all of them referred to adding chicks or smaller size chickens to an existing adult flock. This was different, as they are all (except the barred rock) probably within 3 or 4 months of age. I actually have 4 young ones in an old coop. They are probably 8 to 12 weeks (I was told 12 weeks by the guy I bought them from, but they seem pretty darn small for 12 weeks). I've planned on keeping them sequestered for at least a few weeks, and introducing them slowly because of the age/size difference.

    I just thought that with these new 5 birds, because the ages were so similar, things may go more smooth. We shall see!
  6. remuda1

    remuda1 Songster

    Jun 12, 2011
    Granbury, Texas
    I can't offer any words of wisdom, but from my reading on this site it sure sounds like it's a very individual thing.. What works for one may not work for another BUT you are the one that knows YOUR birds best so I think what you're doing sounds like a good plan [​IMG] . And remember, if you have to "GO IN", call for backup if you need it [​IMG] . Keep us all posted!

  7. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Little update: 1.5 hours in the run: 4 out of the 6 original flock have sequestered themselves in the coop, along with our new EE. That includes our flighty brown leghorns. Almost all of the aggression seems to be coming from who was already the top 2 spots on the pecking order, so I'm guessing they are just making sure the new ones know who they're dealing with. Hopefully the ones inside the coop feel comfortable enough to come outside into the run and eat at some point. I'm not going to bring food into the coop unless things get really bad.

  8. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Update: 2pm:

    Everything has calmed way down. Maybe heat of the day? Good news....2 eggs from the newbies! Little tiny brown pullet eggs! I fully expect production to drop a bit after they lay the ones that are already in the works, but it was a nice surprise! So far, so good!
  9. Roccomanchickens

    Roccomanchickens Chirping

    Apr 15, 2011
    Carroll, IA
    All right! So far so good! It's quite entertaining to watch everyone try to get along! Especially the roosting at night, my chickens all have their own "spot".

  10. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Update: 6pm:

    Well, things have gone mostly good, though certainly not without problems. Both of our young unknowns have been pretty aggressive. One especially over the last couple of hours. We noticed a bloody spot on the comb of one of the new ones, apparently from a peck. Other than that, they are all eating and drinking normally. The part that is really tough for me is knowing I need to keep them in that coop/run for a week to imprint them, so I can be sure they'll return at night...that's what I've read anyway. If they were able to get out and free range for a few hours, some of the stress might go away.

    Going to be a process I guess. As long as there are no permanent injuries and they all learn to get along sooner or later....

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