Replacing lost birds...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by berrynathan, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. berrynathan

    berrynathan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2013
    Simsbury, CT
    Good morning! As I have been reading older threads about adding chickens to an existing flock, I haven't been able to answer my specific dilemma. I'm hoping some of you might be able to help me!

    My original flock was 8 birds hatched May 14 of 2013. Due to an overactive hawk population, I'm currently down to 3 birds. Now that I have remedied my predator situation, I'm ready to add 5 birds back in. The current three ladies are 12 weeks old, and a local farm has some 12-17 week old chicks that I can purchase directly.

    1). Since the new birds are a similar age, but slightly older and will be more numerous than the existing ones, does anyone foresee problems with just adding them into the coop? I'm not imagining that my current girls would be willing/able to take out 5 new, older ones.

    2). While we're in the yard, I still let my girls free-range. We hatched the current group ourselves, so they're terrific at knowing when/where to go during the day and at night fall. Will the new birds simply learn from the old? Or should i keep the new ones in the coop for a week or so and not let them out? Keep the new ones in and let the old ones out? What's the proper protocol here?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You're not in a bad situation. Similar age and new birds slightly more numerous. New digs make birds less dominant.
    If you can pen the new birds close to the coop during the day for a day or two so they can get their bearings AND make sure they sleep in the coop at night - after about 3 days there are no worries about them going in at night.

    The other issue is that new birds - especially older than day-old from another source should always be quarantined for at least 2 weeks and at least 40 ft. from existing flock. The farther the better.
     
  3. berrynathan

    berrynathan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2013
    Simsbury, CT
    Great, thanks! That's kinda what I was thinking, but I hadn't planned on the quarantine. Gotta rethink my plan. Much appreciated!
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Just cause the birds look healthy doesn't mean anything. They could be carrying something the stress of the move will bring out in them or they could have just contracted something that hasn't shown symptoms yet.
    It is also an opportunity to check them over time for lice and mites so if they have them you can correct it before they infest your coop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013

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