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Proper integration

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TanisGirl, Aug 20, 2018.

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  1. TanisGirl

    TanisGirl In the Brooder

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    0EEA434D-9F41-48AE-BB37-1DFC0BAB665F.jpeg 71AFEE8E-3D4D-4B70-84B4-F43EE2320CF9.jpeg We are new chicken owners. We have (3) 2 month old Silkies we got when they were 2 weeks old; a Cochin Sussex mix that is just over 3 months old. They’ve been integrated for about a week now. Today, we acquired from our neighbor 4 fully grown (age unknown -at least 1.5yr olds) who have always just been those 4 together that came with the house they bought last November. I have them all out in a day pen with a divider, while we get their old coop moved here today (my other girls have their own coop).
    1. How should I best handle getting them integrated so they can all be in the run together and free range together?
    2. How long should it take for the new chickens to recognize this as their home?
    3. I was thinking to remove the green screen to allow the younger ones to go between the 2 sides at their leisure, but keep the gate up so the new, older girls are confined to their side in case the babies need to escape.
     
  2. Soy Milano

    Soy Milano In the Brooder

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    TanisGirl likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    My Coop
    That's a decent strategy BUT that enclosure in pics is way too small to do that.
    Where have the younger birds been living?
    What does this 'old coop' look like?
    Dimensions and pics would help a great deal.

    Might not quite apply to your situation but,
    here's some tips on .....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    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.

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

    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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
     
  4. TanisGirl

    TanisGirl In the Brooder

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    C11E8ADC-1A46-4A4E-9D97-467268192E59.jpeg B2BA7F0A-1334-4A92-BD16-993D3852F838.jpeg C11E8ADC-1A46-4A4E-9D97-467268192E59.jpeg B2BA7F0A-1334-4A92-BD16-993D3852F838.jpeg
    Thank you so much for your information on this. But, it’s actually the other way around. The chicks have been with us since 2 weeks old. We acquired our neighbor’s older flock yesterday. We are in the process of building a new “run” (fencing around the coops). Unfortunately, at the moment it’s not complete so I don’t have anywhere for them to “get out” for the day besides that pen I showed in the picture. Will be a couple more days before that is completed.
    The neighbor gave us their coop, so they still have the familiarity of their home in that aspect. I don’t want to just leave them in their coop all day and night until the fencing is completed.
    The red coop was our original coop for our girls and the tan one is what came with the new (older) chickens.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    You were posting pictures while I typed, happens all the time. I think I'll leave my reponse alone. It may read a little strange but I think you can figure it out. Good luck.


    I'm not sure what your coops and runs look like, how big they are, or how they are setup. You mention free ranging Does that mean outside a run? That holding pen to keep the older ones in while their coop is being moved is a good idea but not sure what the pullets are doing in there. Not sure how that day pen relates to your coops and runs. It's kind of hard to get specific without knowing some of that stuff, but I'll try to address your questions.

    1. How should I best handle getting them integrated so they can all be in the run together and free range together?

    Somehow house them so they can see each other but not touch for a week or more, but go to sleep in their own coop at night. Then allow them to mingle at their leisure and in as big a space as you can manage. If that is really free range, that would be great. If it is in your runs and that day pen, however they are arranged, it is what it is. If they are in a confined space like runs having a safe place away from the bigs could be valuable. Separate feeding and watering stations in any case are a good idea. Having places where they can hide under, behind, or above can really help i runs.

    2. How long should it take for the new chickens to recognize this as their home?

    Maybe a day, maybe a week. As a minimum I'd wait until they are roosting in the coop, going in on their own at night. If they are laying I'd want them to establish a nest where they are laying, that will keep them around. In the ideal world I'd keep them locked in their coop/run for a week before I let them free range.

    3. I was thinking to remove the green screen to allow the younger ones to go between the 2 sides at their leisure, but keep the gate up so the new, older girls are confined to their side in case the babies need to escape.

    As I said above, it could be a good idea, depending on how it is set up.

    I don't know where you plan to set the old coop the hens had (good move on your part to get it). If it were me I'd want that coop on the other end of your run with a door or gate between it and your run. I'd also want a fence set up so each coop could have its own section of the run where you can isolate each coop with some run but also a door or gate so you can open up the entire run to all of them. That could make integration easier now but also give you a place to isolate chickens later if you need to.
     

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