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New Hen + chicks-adding to flock- Advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RockyRose, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. RockyRose

    RockyRose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 21, 2012
    Hi everyone! I have been perusing the forrums and learning center to try to get this right without too many issues but would appreciate any advice and have a couple of questions:
    Getting a 1 year old Orpington with her seven 3 wk old chicks to add to my flock. My flock is 4 Sussex, 5 months old, (1 is a roo), plus 4 RIR/white rock hens 9 months old. Started with the Sussex then added the RIR crosses, keeping them separate for a few days (but visible to each other) and the 8 are a happy family. I had no problems integrating them. Surprised myself as I am a newbie at keeping chickens, only started April this year.
    I know I will need to keep my new Orp and babies separate from the flock for some period of time. I have a large covered run so the Orps will stay in an extra large dog crate in the run so everyone can get used to each other. Also want the new Orp to know where home is since I let the others free range 2-3 hrs a day, and eventually she will get to free range too. She already does at her current home (a nearby farm). I've added a plastic crate inside the dog crate and hay as well for warmth for mom and babies.
    So my questions are:
    1) How long before I try to introduce the Orp and babies to the rest of the flock?
    2) Is there a "good" age to introduce the babies - that is, should I keep them away from the older chickens until they are bigger and just introduce the mom first? (I read one horror story on introducing only one chicken to an established flock so I am a little concerned, but I have already committed).
    3) My coop is in process of being expanded - and it's getting cold at night here in New England. I was told Mom will keep her chicks warm and has been doing so in her current barn. Do I need my builder to put in a separator so Mom and babies can go in a warmer coop (the "addition") instead of the crate in the run sooner rather than later? I know they are all "cold hardy" breeds, so I'm pretty sure the crate set up will be ok but would love to here other's opinions.
    Thanks in advance!
    Rose
     
  2. Congrats on your chickies. I am new too. However I saw that no one answered you and I have combined 3 flocks already I thought I would tell you what I think would be best. My second flock were babies and I kept the dog kennel in the coop. When they were winged I tipped the kennel up so the bars were further apart on the bottom and they could slip in and out but the big hens could not. They were safe if they could make it to the kennel. I kep th them like that for about a month always in the coop. In the morning the older ones ran outside and ignored the little ones. Until recently the two first flocks pretty much stayed away from each other. Then the older flock came and they assimilated better than the babies did. Finally the babies are just now beginning to lay and they are getting respect and mixing in better. I didnt lose any the pecking etc. I have roosters too but theywere all kinda young. I would go by size, wait until they are big enough to defend themselves or make sure they have asafe haven. Good luck!
     
  3. RockyRose

    RockyRose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 21, 2012
    Thank you that sounds like a very good idea!
     

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