the finer points on integrating

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hennyhandler, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    I have done research but i still have some questions. I have six 16 to 17 week old chickens that are in the coop and i have some 8 weeks olds chickens (two of these are roos) also that im wanting to integrate.
    First, I heard that you need to watch them to make sure the pecking order doesnt get out of control so is this a consistent watch or is this periodically. I have to work and i don't want them to be alone and possibly injuring each other if im not there but i don't think a couple of hours is going to be enough for them to get things established. What do you suggest i do about this?
    The coop is a little small for the amount of chickens that i have but until i make some modifications will this be okay since they only sleep in there at night and when they get hot? i know it can cause some stress on them because of the enclosed area but they have a large run.
    sorry i went on and on but i was afraid that i wouldn't explain it right if i didn't. Any info would be welcome.
  2. AmyBella

    AmyBella Songster

    May 26, 2009
    Western MA
    No advice, but I will be following with interest. I have a similar situation.
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Yes if you can build a bigger coop, and put them all in it together, that would be ideal (no one has "ownership" of it). Can you divide the run, and keep them separate but visible for a few weeks while you build the coop?
  5. lalaland

    lalaland Crowing

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    I would definitely wait unti your coop is big enough.

    Give the 8 week olds a little more time to get closer to the size of the other chickens. Some people say don't add the chicks to others until they aren't making their baby cheeps, but I've done ok with it when:
    - coop is big enough
    = the two flocks spent time in sight of each other, separated by a chicken wire fence
    - I could throw scratch at the fenceline, and the two groups would feed together without any overt aggression
    - when ready to integrate:
    - do it on a weekend when you plan to be home and available for a couple of days to watch
    - in the morning, keep the big girls locked up (give them a cabbage or corn on the cob to keep them occupied) while the chicks explore the new run area
    - have plenty of barriers in the run so the chicks can hide and be out of eyesight of the big girls - hay bales work great
    - have multiple feeders and waterers so everyone has access
    - when you release the big girls, throw a lot of scratch around everywhere so the chickens are very busy eating scratch instead of duking it out
    - be watchful, but try hard not to intervene unless there is blood
    - you will have to help the chicks learn to go into the coop at night, be prepared for some caterwauling

    If you have an agressive breed of older chickens, say leghorns, I would be extra careful to watch the agression when feeding them at the fenceline, and wait for it to subside before integrating them.
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I would wait until they are closer in size. I agree about Buff Hooligans page. It has very good advice.
  7. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    I have 12 leghorns (about 5 1/2 months) in a 18x8 open air coop. We just got 7 new chicks (6 pullets and a cockerel). The chicks are almost 2 weeks old. They are now in a 3'x5' rabbit hutch right next to the coop. Both groups free range for about 2 hours together under close supervision. We have one new pullet, appropriately named Grizzly, that attacks the big hens. She's been pecked twice, but never hurt.

    We'll keep doing this until the birds are about the same size, which will give us time to enlarge the coop to 24x8. After we build on to our coop, we'll add extra waterers and food and we'll let them all roost together.

    Good luck integrating yours!
  8. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    thanks for all this information. I will integrate them on the weekends and give them awhile to be near each other before then. after all that yall have said on the coop issue i was wondering if i should wait since in a couple of weeks is when the coop is going to be added onto and let the chickens just get used to each other until then. then when the coop is added to make the integration. does this sound like a good idea?
    my only problem with this is the area that my little chicks are in isn't set up the best but...

    Also my chickens are just a little smaller than the older ones and they aren't making any chick peep noises. they don't have any combs really though.

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