new chicks and integrating - Help!!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sadiebeth12, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. sadiebeth12

    sadiebeth12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 7, 2010
    Finleyville
    I am so so excited to get our new chicks on Monday. We currently have 6 - 8 month old hens that we love. We just want more eggs! I ordered 4 standards and 3 bantams and now I'm getting nervous. I ordered them now because we have a 1 week vacation the last week of May, durring which I have people stopping in to care for the chickens. I thought that by 11 weeks the new girls would be old enough to be in the coop. Now I'm not so sure. I was hoping to begin the integration process at 9 weeks so that I would have a few weeks before we left to make sure everyone was getting along. Am I dreaming? Is nine weeks to early to introduce them (not completely throw them in, but begin to introduce.)? Now I am thinking I need to cancel the order. As fellow chicken people you know how hard that idea is, I have been excited about the new babies for months.[​IMG]
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
    Shelley in PA
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You can begin introducing the chicks much sooner than nine weeks. The secret is having a "nursery pen" for them to protect them from the larger flock until they grow to be the same size and can fend for themselves..

    Until they feather out, they'll just be spending warm days in the pen, but it will give everyone time to establish they belong. Then, about a week before you plan on moving the newbies into the coop, cut small openings into the nursery pen from the big pen so the tykes can go out and explore the bigger world. They quickly learn to run back into their nursery for safety if bullied, and the openings are too small for the big girls to get through.

    It's important also that their food and water is secure from the older flock or they could be discouraged from eating enough.

    When I move the small-fry into the coop, I put them in after the big girls have finished laying for the day and several hours before roosting and close the coop off to the rest. Then at the very last minute, let the bigger ones in to roost. There ought to be few problems. I place the babies on the roost if they haven't figured it out on their own. Supervise roosting for a few weeks until you're sure everyone is doing okay. The main thing to watch for in order to keep the peace is that no youngster tries to roost in between older ones as they resent this.

    Having the "panic room" in your pen for the youngsters will make integration almost effortless, I promise!
     
  3. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2010
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    I don't know about introducing new chickens to a flock yet, other then what I've read on various posts and I'm sure people with experience will chime in, but I was thinking that maybe you should have another place to put them "just in case" it doesn't work out before you leave on vacation. You could watch them for the few weeks before you go and if they all behave, then you should be ok. But if they aren't getting along before you leave, at least you could put them somewhere and enjoy your vacation.

    I just got a small coop (2 to3 chickens) just for this purpose. It'll also come in handy for an injured chicken, a bully etc. I plan on putting this little coop, with it's attached little run, next to the main run so that any chicken in it would be seen by the flock the whole time they are separated. Not that this is a fool proof plan, as I have read that some other posters did not have luck doing this same thing, but it's better then putting a chicken in my garage or leaving in with the other chickens and being pecked to death.

    I say...get your little chickens and prepare for the worse and hope for the best.
     
  4. sadiebeth12

    sadiebeth12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replys! I really want to get those babies!!! I love the idea of another coop butit sounds kind of pricey at the moment. Azygous - How did you make your nursery pen? Was it in the coop or run?
    Thanks sooo much!
    Shelley
     
  5. Mrsfoote

    Mrsfoote Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    Laurel Montana
    Here is what I did and I've integrated 2 full size girls and 4 4 month olds.

    I take the chicks out side when I can be out there and I put them in neutral territory so where the girls free range in the back yard and I let them go at it...the big girls are going to peck its normal...they've never hurt anyone ...bring them in that evening or when you go inside. Do this a few times.

    I take them out the next time and place them in the run when I feed the girls...yes they will get pecked and chased again girls just letting em know they eat after the girls.

    Then the next night...so usually on a friday I put them into the coop with the girls at bed time ( they have to be fully feathered for this and off the light).

    The girls wont care so much they're going to bed and the next morning let them out with the girls and do their thing.

    My girls are 2 and 1 and i've introduced quite a few chicks to them...they're all fine and get along great.

    If you find your girls peck too much...it can be quite brutal but if your still worried find your nicest most mellow girl and let them hang out with her and she will help introduce them to the others.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I picked a convenient corner in the main pen and put up a temporary nursery pen out of chicken wire and 2x4's about five feet by two feet, securing the ends to the run fence with wire. The beauty of having this nursery is you can leave them and go do other chores knowing they're perfectly safe. I usually carry them all out in a pet carrier each nice day, and leave the carrier inside the pen for them to nap in, and return to for security. Their food and water is in this nursery. They don't get their little pop holes into the main pen until they're six weeks old or older. Then you'll need to watch them for a while until you see that all of them have learned how to scoot back to safety when chased by a bully.

    As for the coop, I've separated the babies from the older girls and it was more trouble than it was worth. After they have learned how to cope with the older flock out in the pen, and the older ones know they're part of the flock, moving them into the coop isn't all that dramatic. It's really that first night that is tense, and you may need to teach them how to go out of the coop the next morning, and in at roosting time for a little while, but they will remember how to get into their safe pen. It will go easier than you expect.

    But you need to make sure they know how to go into the coop at night before you go on your trip. My chicks were all living in the coop and dealing well with the older girls by six or eight weeks.
     
  7. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Quote:I picked a convenient corner in the main pen and put up a temporary nursery pen out of chicken wire and 2x4's about five feet by two feet, securing the ends to the run fence with wire. The beauty of having this nursery is you can leave them and go do other chores knowing they're perfectly safe. I usually carry them all out in a pet carrier each nice day, and leave the carrier inside the pen for them to nap in, and return to for security. Their food and water is in this nursery. They don't get their little pop holes into the main pen until they're six weeks old or older. Then you'll need to watch them for a while until you see that all of them have learned how to scoot back to safety when chased by a bully.

    As for the coop, I've separated the babies from the older girls and it was more trouble than it was worth. After they have learned how to cope with the older flock out in the pen, and the older ones know they're part of the flock, moving them into the coop isn't all that dramatic. It's really that first night that is tense, and you may need to teach them how to go out of the coop the next morning, and in at roosting time for a little while, but they will remember how to get into their safe pen. It will go easier than you expect.

    But you need to make sure they know how to go into the coop at night before you go on your trip. My chicks were all living in the coop and dealing well with the older girls by six or eight weeks.

    This is a really great system! Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. sadiebeth12

    sadiebeth12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, Thanks so much. I feel better! The babies are coming!!!!!
     
  9. Ruth Ann

    Ruth Ann Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South Carolina
    Thanks for this post...
    if I get more peeps this spring I have to make them all live together sooner or later [​IMG]
     

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