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The best way to add to your flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jencleg, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Jencleg

    Jencleg Songster

    May 5, 2011
    I have my 4 chickens @ home....I love them, but I do not have the breed I really wanted. Is it possible to ever add to my collection now? How would be the best way to do this?? Can I ever in the future? Mine are 4/5 months old now.....I really wanted a buff orphington [​IMG]

  2. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chirping

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    I'm a newbie, but my father-in-law has taught me many things. One is that you can certainly add new chickens, but be prepared for a little pecking order madness. Give them time to be near one another in separate housing before putting them together. Especially if the newbies are younger than the others. Also, it helps if there's a decent amount of room for them to roam around in once they're brought together. This gives the newbies more places to escape to if there is trouble.

    Eventually, they'll get over it all and will get along for the most part.
  3. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Heck, I plan to add to mine every year. At some point you have to, as your hens age (unless you're really not in it for the eggs or you have facilities for multiple coops). You just plan to take some time to let them get to know each other and realize that there will be some violence when they actually first get to mingle (it is, unfortunately, the chicken way).

    Last year's batch of young ones settled in pretty well. The BO was so huge that all the adults left her be, and the two Wyandottes kind of clung to her for support. I had a little bit of a picking problem aimed at the Wyandottes but application of Vick's vapo-rub on their back feathers stopped that dead.

    I will say that mixing similar numbers and sizes seem to be a good idea. Integrating a single bird will always be difficult (if not impossible). Everybody needs a friend.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  4. cat1994

    cat1994 Songster

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    Well any time I need to replace a few hens or a roo I have to introduce new chickens and I’m sure others do the same so it is not a terrible or uncommon thing to do at all. I wait until the new ones are plenty old enough to fend for themselves and then at night when my flock is asleep I add the new ones among the old ones on the roosts, then that morning and all through the day I check on them to make sure they are getting along alright. They do fight and get picked on for a lil while but that is just so they can figure out the new pecking order.
  5. juliaaa

    juliaaa Chirping

    Jul 15, 2011
    Syracuse, New York
    You can add to your flock at any time. Although when we added to our flock I was told to make sure you don't ever add just 1 at a time, make sure to section them off for a few days, and make sure they're about the same size so they have a chance to defend themselves. Also, like someone already said, there will be pecking order madness no matter what you do.
  6. 92Pony

    92Pony Songster

    Mar 1, 2010
    South Carolina
    Uzuri - Tell more about the Vicks Vap-o-rub. (LOL!)

    I have a BO that's getting picked-on terribly, and I wonder if that would work for me.


  7. RickMiller

    RickMiller In the Brooder

    Dec 7, 2009
    We were down to two 2-year old chickens this spring after a little fox incident over the winter. We bought seven new chicks this past April and have had little to no trouble integrating them. As soon as they were old enough to be outside (about 6 weeks), we divided the existing 14x20' run. The older chickens have a coop that opens into the run and in the other half I built a temporary shelter with straw bales with a plywood roof. I divided the run with 2" welded wire fencing. The chicks grew up in site of the older hens. Then, at about 10-12 weeks, we started letting them run in the yard together on the weekends when we could supervise. A few weeks later I removed part of the run divider. There were a few squables and a little chasing but nothing major. Mostly they were curious - the older hens checked out the straw bale house and the chicks checked out the coop. They are now 17 weeks old and I have not put the run divider back up. This morning I found 5 of the chicks on the perch in the coop. They all seem to be getting along well and the fence dividing them will come down completely this weekend.

    My biggest concern was letting them live together and the chicks eating the layer ration. I know the calcium is not good for them until they are laying. They are close enough to laying now that I don't think it's a problem if they get a little. Mostly they all eat the grower crumbles I have for the chicks and I figure in the hot weather a little extra protien would be good for the hens.

  8. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Quote:Vicks is just this incredibly smelly stuff that people use to help clear congestion -- it's greasy, you rub it on your chest and throat if you have a cold. You can find it in the pharmacy section at most stores. It tastes horrific (which, since you really shouldn't be eating it anyway, that's a good thing). All you should need to do is rub some on your hands and then pat your picked-on chicken's back with it -- it's best to try and keep it on the feathers and not the skin since if it gets on raw skin it burns (on lips, too). You want to have enough on there that the place smells like a cough drop.

    I haven't decided if it's the taste, or just the incredibly strong smell (when everybody smells the same that "new chicken" smell just isn't as offensive any more), but it quickly cut down the picking when I used it. I didn't even have to apply it a second time.

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