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New to Raising Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lonestarjef, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. lonestarjef

    lonestarjef Hatching

    Apr 24, 2016
    Hello all! I'm EXTREMELY new to raising chickens. I bought 6 BO's that are now about 6 weeks old. I'm letting them free range for about 4-5 hours a day in the afternoon/evening. We were given a 7-8 month old rooster (white leghorn), and I'm wondering a couple of things. When can I put him in my coop with the young ones, and how long until I can let him range? Will he follow the others in at dusk, or should I keep him locked in for a few days. I'm not worried about disease, he has been very well taken care of. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Jeff.

  2. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

    Sep 25, 2015
    Wait till they are about 5 months
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!!

    Boy, that's a hard call...could go either way.

    First, should probably keep him penned for a week, at least, to 'home' him to his new home before free ranging him.
    It would be best to keep him in a wire crate right in the coop and/or run so he, and the chicks, can get used to seeing each other.

    Hardest to know is how he'll act towards the chicks. He's still a young cockerel, and ready to mate.
    An adult cockbird would know those chicks are not ready to mate, and would most likely leave them alone until they 'become of age'. Whether your cockerel will behave accordingly remains to be seen....proceed with caution.

    More info on your coop/run/setup(pics are always good) might help us give more detailed solutions to try.

    Gonna paste my whole integration notes....might find some tips, tricks and clues to help you along in there.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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