When do you decide to integrate?

oceansunset73

Songster
Jul 14, 2017
181
323
146
California
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.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
17,789
20,698
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Colorado Rockies
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.
 

Itsmesrt

In the Brooder
Apr 1, 2018
10
2
14
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.
 

christwodog

Songster
Jan 16, 2017
429
719
186
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.
 

oceansunset73

Songster
Jul 14, 2017
181
323
146
California
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?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
7,307
7,051
536
western South Dakota
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.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,451
14,545
751
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
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
X2....
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)
 

oceansunset73

Songster
Jul 14, 2017
181
323
146
California
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.
: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.
 
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