When do you decide to integrate?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by oceansunset73, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. oceansunset73

    oceansunset73 Songster

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    Ive read many posts about "how" to integrate new birds into your existing flock, but I'm curious to know "when" do most people prefer to integrate them?

    Do you do it yearly?
    Do you do it when you are down to only a couple of chickens remaining within your flock?
    Or...?

    Would love to hear what others do and why.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    If I understand correctly, you mean "add" new chickens to the flock. Integration is when you are managing the pecking order so new chicks won't get hurt and new older birds can ease into the social order with minimal stress.

    I add chicks ever other year to "freshen" the egg producing element of my flock. This counters the effect of older layers tapering off their egg production and eventually "retiring" and becoming useless eaters, but they don't get culled.

    Over the years, my flock has remained right around two dozen as members die and new chickens arrive. Occasionally, a rescue hen will join the flock, too.
     
  3. Itsmesrt

    Itsmesrt In the Brooder

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    We separate them in the coops & outside runs until they seem big enough to defend themselves from the other birds. Currently we have 21 older birds & 48 3 month olds. They currently are separated just in the coop til it warms up for outside run. We have done this before & haven’t had any issues intergrading them this way. But luckily our coops & runs are large & we are able to do the separation.
     
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  4. christwodog

    christwodog Songster

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    My original group is almost 2 years of age, and I just put my 3 week olds out in the baby coop yesterday! So I plan to add every other year, even though my older ones are still laying well. I'm not one to cull if they stop laying, I'll just let them hang out and enjoy life.
     
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  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    I like a multigenerational flock, some going on three, some two, some yearlings, and new chicks.

    I integrate them as soon as possible 3-4 week of age. If you add chicks regularly, your flock gets used to it.

    Mrs K
     
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  6. oceansunset73

    oceansunset73 Songster

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    Thanks for such wonderful responses.

    I was originally thinking I would start adding to my flock after my existing flock is a few years old or so. I have 6 Rhode Islands / Production Red's right now and they are currently only 1 year old. But I'm concerned about adding to them because they are such an aggressive breed. I eventually want to pick up some Easter Eggers and Buffie's later on down the road. But since they are very docile breeds, maybe it would be better to wait until I am down to only 2 or 3 Reds left?
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    A lot depends on your space, and your set up. If you have sufficient space, and hide outs in your set up, multiple levels in your set up, multiple feed bowls, then you can have more kinds of chickens. If you want to wait until you start loosing your red productions birds, that is fine.

    Beware of assigning an attitude to a breed, some are and some are not of pretty much any breed.
     
  8. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

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    I add and subtract at least yearly. I brood new chicks in the coop from day 1 (separated by a wire mesh) and integrate the chicks around 3 weeks. If I am introducing older birds into the flock I house them in the same separated fashion initially and integrate after a few days to a week (depending on the "read" I'm getting from the flock)
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    I keep 2 age groups over winter.
    Hatch and cull (sell and/or slaughter) oldest birds and hatched cockerels yearly.
    Brood in coop from a week after hatch, then integrate chicks at about 4 weeks.
     
  10. oceansunset73

    oceansunset73 Songster

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    :goodpost:

    This makes sense. I might wait another year or two, then add a few more. I have a very large run with multiple areas where they can hide and outside perches where they can get a way if needed. I would plan on setting up multiple feeding and water stations when I get to that point. Thank you so much for the reply, I appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    janetdieter likes this.

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