What age to introduce new chickens to existing flock?

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

  1. mainechicklet

    mainechicklet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the Bagaduce in Maine
    I rescued 3 adult hens in July. Then four sickly post-hoarder-rescued adult hens in Dec. I had to bring two of the latter hens inside until they were healthy enough to endure the -10degs and initially hateful first three hens. Now, 3 months into the 3+4 combo, they all get along rather well. There are three obvious tiers. The initial three, three of the second group and at the bottom is my smallest, gentlest ameraucana. When I can increase my coop and run space this spring, I plan to adopt ~10 more of the hoarder rescue group adult hens. If I triple my present 12'x12' enclosed run and divide with chicken fencing with a temp coop, how long do you suggest that I expose the two groups of adult hens before trying to integrate them? I hate to build a second permanent coop, as this town taxes heavily on every single structure on your property.
     
  2. acr1127

    acr1127 New Egg

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    Oct 26, 2010
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    I have a separate area in my coop that I can section off where I put my new babies when they are large enough and it is warm enough. I leave them in there until they start laying (mostly because they are on the baby feed until then). The older chickens are used to being with them behind the chicken wire and there is little to no fuss when they eventually mix.
     
  3. mainechicklet

    mainechicklet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the Bagaduce in Maine
    My coop is only 6x8 and it was hard enough trying to get the 7 to get their crap together and sleep....pecking each other off the roosts, etc. The attached totally hard-clothed run is 12x12. I originally built it for my first three, not knowing that within 6 weeks, I'd be rescuing a bunch more. So I totally don't have room to house 10 more in there right now. I might erect a temp coop and when the tax guy comes snooping around, I'll make sure he knows it's temporary. When removed from the crime scene, the hoarder hens were placed in a partially finished quarantine building.......>50 in a semi-dark room. There are still 16 there, so the 10 I plan to take will have all been together for several months. (The rescue sanctuary hadn't completed their building when this whole situation occurred. And winter in ME is a difficult time for sick, dehydrated, malnourished[​IMG]

    chickens.)
    When I went for the 4, I just picked them up in the semi-dark and took them home. As it turned out, I have this lovely assortment of pretty girls.
     
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  4. janvoigt

    janvoigt New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2013
    When we get the newborns we keep them in our old garage (in good shape- not drafty), in a large grain box with a screen over the top and 2 heat lamps. In about a month, we put a good sized pen across the end of our chicken coop. We have a wire fence with screening on the top and the heat lamps. They have a chance to get used to each other- that is the most important thing. I like them to be big enough to defend themselves. When a single one has escaped the pen, they will kill it. Different breeds vary some in combatability. So they are maybe 3months old by the time I allow them to be together.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  5. allbreednut

    allbreednut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 8, 2008
    Flocks have a pecking order, and that doesn't apply just to the roosters. Any time two groups of hens are combined, they also have to establish a new chain of dominance. But having two young roosters rather than only one is at least better -- the older guy should divide his aggression between the two of them rather than trying to kill just one. For me, combining groups of grown roosters would be an absolute last solution, just because I don't like to see them duke it out.
     
  6. mainechicklet

    mainechicklet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the Bagaduce in Maine
    I only have 7 hens and the additional 10 in a couple months will also only be hens. My neighbor told me she'd kill me if I got a rooster that was up at the crack of dawn. So, I'm respecting her wishes since she's a great neighbor. Besides, I can't stomach the poor hens that become the "favorite date" and are abused constantly. Perhaps I'm a bit intimidated by a potentially mean rooster also.
     
  7. chix88

    chix88 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2014
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    good to read your query ..am having similar probs intergrating my very first flock.Have taken advice given on forum and its really helpful for a new egg
     
  8. BLT79

    BLT79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an existing flock of 1 male duck, 1 rooster, and 4 hens. all will be a year in May and June. In my house I have a 2 month old rooster in a cage. Then I have 6, almost 6 week old girls. I have two coops outside, in the same pen. My ground is still very frozen and cannot put up a divider. My two month old rooster is ready to go outside. Crowing in the house at 6:20 isn't gonna work anymore! haha! Should I bring him outside in his cage, and put that in the pen with my older flock? Then at night transfer him to the smaller coop alone? If so, how long should I continue that process? At what age and how should I do the same with the 6 girls? Finally warming up into the 50's here this week, so I feel it's a good time for the roo boy! Thanks all so very much!
     
  9. janvoigt

    janvoigt New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2013
    ....A little correction to what I wrote before. I guess they are older than 3 months when we put them together. We buy 2 large bags of baby chick feed which lasts a few months for 25 baby chicks. Then we get them used to adult chicken feed before we put them together. They have to get used to seeing each and let them together all at the same time. The big and the little chickens don't actually hang out together, We put a feeder where the younger ones hang out, and more feed over where big ones hang out. Competition for food is not a good plan. They will start laying eggs when they are 5 months old, and by that time they should be getting along. Good luck with your project-by now you probably have them all together. Chickens should absolutely- not ever be residing in
    your home.
     
  10. mainechicklet

    mainechicklet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the Bagaduce in Maine
    There absolutely- are exceptions to your last statement.
     
    1 person likes this.

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