Thinking off adding but...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Col1948, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    I bought 3 young chickens about 3 weeks ago all different types but from the same farm, they were together with all of the farmers flock, he had around 40 birds and I just picked 3 from the flock.

    I have recently just converted a shed to make a bigger coop as the other was what I thought too small for 3 chickens.
    So now I have a bigger coop I did think of adding 1 or 2 more hens but after reading all the threads about introducing it has put me off the idea, I thought if I got the new additions from the same farm it might be easier but I read it still can be a problem because the 3 I have now would probably established some kind of pecking order.

    What I don't have a run, what I do is just open the hatch in the morning and they free range in the fenced off garden, they go in and out of the coop during the day and they go in themselves when it's going dark.

    I don't have a dog crate as some suggest or anything to house any new chickens so it looks like a no no unless anybody has an idea.

    Col.
     
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  2. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

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    What about keeping your new birds in the small coop, and putting that in the shed conversion? I have done that kind of thing before. It gives both a see-no-touch approach as well as teaching the new girls where "home" is. Having multiple feeding stations outdoors and you should be fine. I've kept birds in such a set up for 3-4 days and then let the two groups mingle - never had much of an issue since my birds ranged on the property also.

    Just my thoughts...
     
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  3. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    Hi, I have the small coop up for sale but also it is too big to go in the shed.
    I did think of using the small coop but again it would be my luck someone would buy it while I'm using it as an introduction lol.

    Col.
     
  4. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

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    What about some chicken wire tacked to the shed walls, in one corner to create a separate area for the new ones? (think triangle - not Barry Manilow, though :D) It doesn't have to be a large space - they will only be there for a few days.
     
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  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Well, you are thinking too grand. I did too at first, and am now kind of appalled at how complex I made this, when in the last couple of years, I have made it so easy.

    Take a large plastic tub. Put some bedding in it. Look up wooly hens on this sight. That too, I highly complicated. The last time, I took a smallish cardboard box, cut out openings about 3 inches high along the bottom edge along all 4 sides, hot glued an old pillow to the top of the box, put some bedding in the bottom of the box. At dark, stick the peeping baby chicks under the pillow, it should be fairly close to them, but not trap them. They will go to sleep, warm as toast. One can keep this in the house or garage or in the chicken coop, with a wire panel on top.

    After a week or so, take the tub out to your fenced garden. Now place the tub on its' side, with the bottom/now back of the tub facing the predominant wind. In the corner of the garden add some pallets, or cattle panels, or some woven wire fence with opening the chicks can run in and out with ease. Place the tub inside this and the wooly hen inside of that. The fence is to stop the big chickens from getting through. This is a safety zone, where the chicks can escape to as needed. Feed them and water them inside this zone, until they don't use it anymore - less than 10 days for me.

    Put the chicks in there, eventually depending on the chicks, they will come out of the fencing, give them a little chase back toward the safety zone. They will figure it out quick.

    Add a couple of hide outs, pallets that you can get for free, against a wall or up on blocks to add some hideouts, and just makes the whole area much more interesting to chickens. I and others on here, have found integrating small chicks much easier than older chicks. Getting them in there early and around older chickens allows them to learn chicken society from the get go. The older chickens do not seem to be as intolerant of them.

    An occasional peck, is nothing to worry about, but of course they do need a safety zone to escape relentless pursuit.

    Mrs K
     
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  6. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    @Mrs K, Thanks for the advice but I'm not thinking of intoducing small chicks but 1 or 2 new hens to the 3 I already have.
    I was thinking of going to the same farm I got the 3 I have from plus I know they will be roughly the same age.

    Col.
     
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  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Well, then, just check your garden space, is there some hideouts? If so, I would not worry about it too much.

    Chickens hate change, the old guard is going to object to this, but if you have enough space, most of the time it is more bluster than rage. Although once in a while, you do get one that is very mean.

    Adding more is better, it spreads the pecking out. Pecking takes a lot of energy, chasing takes a lot of energy, and it is better if the new comers have a friend. I would NOT add a single chicken - everyone knows that bird is a stranger. The closer you come to adding the same number as the original flock, the better, or even one or two more than the original amount.

    I have never had any trouble at all, when I added 5 + to a flock, but I do have adequate room. What are the measurements of you big coop? L x W x H? Because adding too many birds, causes a lot of problems. I would suggest 3-4 new birds of the same size would be best. Two might be fine, but 3 would be better.

    If you have the room, I would be strongly tempted to lock the new hens in the coop, in the early afternoon, towards dark, open the coop so the old guard can come in, and get down there early in the morning, to let everyone out. A lot of people seem to think it takes days for a coop to imprint on a bird, but I have never had trouble with it...but again, I have enough room.

    Mrs K
     
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  8. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    Thanks Mrs K, I wasn't having a go in my earlier post by the way lol.
    I have a fairly large garden, some bushes in the corner where my hens go under to scratch about, they spend ages in there, the rest is pretty open, lots of grass some of it is paved.
    My coop is 6ft X 4Ft.
    Finished.JPG Finished.JPG
     
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  9. Rick M

    Rick M Songster

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    I kept my chicks in this outside while my big girls were getting to see and no touch. I also let the little ones sleep in it for a couple weeks and put a small roost in it so they would get used to using a roost. It has worked very well for me and my birds. I've kept 6 at most at one time in it for a few weeks and worked well. 20180915_125529.jpg 20180915_125529.jpg
     

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  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    ok, this is what I would do, I would put a roost kitty corner from the back left corner to the front right corner. That will add will add another foot to the length of the roost. If you have a roost set up now, most of them are either lined up with the wall, where as running it kitty corner, still lets you into the coop, moves the roosts away from the walls, which is better for dryness. I would leave your original roosts set up, just gives everyone more space.

    Then I would try adding 2 birds. I would add more ventilation to that coop. More birds, equal more moisture. Take off the top board, above the door. Replace it with wire if predators are a problem.

    I am unfamiliar with Manchester UK, climate. I am expecting it to be humid, and a lot of rain...but that is just from novels I read, haha, who would expect that two strangers, half way around the world, totally different lives, could be discussing chickens, haha. I am lifting my morning cup of coffee to what I imagine is your afternoon tea!

    Mrs K
     
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