What age to introduce new chickens to existing flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 70monte, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Rooster and eight hens that are adults. I have two roosters and eight hens that were born 10/9/13 that are housed in a separate smaller coop. I bought these as nine day old chicks from a hatchery. They were all supposed to be pullets but you know how that goes. The new chickens are now four months old.

    Do you think they are old enough to be introduced to the older adult flock? I'm not sure how the two young roosters will fare with the older adult one. I got the adult one in September to replace my previous rooster who just disappeared one day. He had been housed with quite a few other adult roosters so he was used to being around other roosters. I will eventually get rid of one or maybe both of the younger roosters.

    The older chickens free range and the coop that the younger ones are in has an attached small wire run so the adult chickens have seen the younger ones when they are wandering around by their coop. I plan on letting the younger ones free range too but initially they will probably all have to be penned up together for a couple of days in the coop and run that the older ones live in so they know where they live now. Thanks for any info.

    Wayne
     
  2. whittychick

    whittychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine were about 12-13 weeks old when I added them with the older girls...but I had my chicks in a separate coop next to them for about 4 weeks prior...they were introduced at night (easier transition) and pecking Order happened for about a week. They're all best of friends now! Good luck!!!
     
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  3. niamhblond

    niamhblond Out Of The Brooder

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    What I do is gradually realise them into the garden together for example 2/3 times a week for a month and then build it up because you can't rush these things but make sure that you get them to live near / in eye distance so they get to know each other . If you have a mother hen with them who is already part of the flock it's a different situation because the mother of my chicks left to re join her flock so you have to make sure that they would be old enough to keep warm if this does happen . GOOD LUCK !
     
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  4. pound4pound

    pound4pound Out Of The Brooder

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    watching, wild and free!
    if you have older roosters, the new stag shall challenge the old rooster or the old rooster will beat the stags. thats if u plan to merge the old flock and the new ones you have.

    it depends on the breed their behavior. i would still recomend your present setup that the new ones are separated from the older ones.
     
  5. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aurora, MO
    Thanks for the replies. The reason I want to combine the two groups is because the coop that the younger ones are in is really too small for them now. I only use this coop to raise the baby chicks in or to separate a chicken if I have to.

    The older rooster is bigger than both of the younger ones so I doubt that the younger ones will challenge him. All three are pretty docile.

    Like I said in my original post, The older chickens have been able to see the younger ones when they go into the caged in run so they are aware the younger ones are there. One of the younger roosters also crows all of the time so the older one and him crow back and forth. The other young rooster to my knowledge has never crowed yet.

    Wayne
     
  6. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have young chickens who just started laying. About 3 weeks ago I allowed them to see each other and have access to one another. The older flock did not venture into the younger girls area right away but once they figured out there was food and treats they came out of the coop and mingled with the other chickens. Things are going good but I still haven't combined them. They go to their own areas at night to roost but during the day they are all together with only a few disagreements. I was hoping to see the younger girls defending themselves and they are, some though run away because they are scared. When the time comes I will be putting them all in together at night. Hopefully with so many added they won't get picked on as much. Things do seem to be going very well between the two flocks. The roosters have adjusted much quicker than the hens. Good luck merging your flocks.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would let the youngers free range with the olders, but go back to their own coop at night, for a few weeks...see what happens.

    Of your 2 younger roosters, one is dominate and the other is quiet probably because the crower dominated him.
    Once the roosters all have free access there will probably be some fighting.

    Might be a good idea to choose one rooster, 16 hens is plenty for one rooster...but maybe not 2-3.

    Maybe integrate the hens to the large coop and keep the extra roosters in the smaller coop/run.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. merlotmudpies

    merlotmudpies Out Of The Brooder

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    May I hop in for some advice here? I have 8-9 week old girls who have been in an interior pen with my big girls for a couple of weeks now during the day. The big girls free range and when I'm in the yard I let the little girls wander too (they spend a good amount of time digging in my garden with me and eating any good treats we find.). This week the bigs an little have started wandering together just about with 6 to 8 feet between them most of the time (2 littles and 3 bigs make my flock). Last night I put the littles in the bigs coop and this morning they're in the run and all getting along. The bigs are interested but not being aggressive. This is maybe week three of being around each other thru wire. Am I screwing up big time by doing this? An I being tricked by dumb beginners luck that will run out?

    Also if they do integrate well, what do I do about feed? My bigs are on lay pellets but barely eat it because they range most days. My littles are on medicated chick starter feed. If my bigs get into that are their eggs safe? My littles range too but not as often/long...if that supplements some of their medicated feed will they be okay? I'm keeping as natural as I can but trying to be flexible for the health of my girls.

    Thanks guys I know this is a lot...so thankful for all the knowledge here!!
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I just read another thread about successfully acclimating young chicks to hens in just the way you've described....not sure about hens eating medicated starter tho, start a thread in the feed section about that one.
     
  10. merlotmudpies

    merlotmudpies Out Of The Brooder

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    Great idea aart! Thank you for the encouragement. While I'm at church today they're back in their interior pen with my girls in the run with them through wire just to be on the safe side. But so far so good.
     

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