Pecking order when starting a new flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wurly, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. wurly

    wurly New Egg

    Mar 31, 2017
    Hi Everyone,

    We are new to chickens and are ready to start our new flock of 5!

    I have been reading lots of articles about the pecking order, and how to introduce chickens to existing flocks - but we were wondering what to do as all of our chickens will be new.

    We plan to get two different breeds, likely to be bought separately within the same week from different suppliers. Is there a certain age where mixing them together like this won't matter? And if they are past this age, do we have to gradually introduce them to each other as well as their new home?

  2. King CreekRanch

    King CreekRanch Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2017
    You should be able to mix chicks that are 5 weeks and under just fine.
  3. MissBay

    MissBay Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    Yes at that young age you can mix them immediately. Make sure there's plenty of clean water and food so they don't have to fight for it and you should be fine.
  4. wurly

    wurly New Egg

    Mar 31, 2017
    Thanks for the replies.
    We are planning on getting a flock of five chickens (not five weeks old). Local suppliers offer chickens from 17 weeks old so that they've had all of their vaccinations. Would it still be okay to mix these chickens?
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It's about territory......the first birds in the coop/run will defend their resources(space,feed,water) against any newcomers.
    If at all possible, put all birds into the coop/run at the same time, that will greatly reduce the territoriality issues.

    Some basics on integration:
    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.

    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'(but not a dead end trap) 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.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:

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