When integrating chicks, does it make any difference if breeds same or different?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by batta, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. batta

    batta Hatching

    Jun 26, 2013
    Big Island, Hawaii
    Half my flock was killed by a pack of dogs this week so I need to get in some new chicks much sooner than anticipated. The flock is 8 month old pullets, a mix of barred rocks and gold sex links.

    The current breed mix has been fine together and neither breed has stood out as better than the other, but for replacement chicks I was thinking about considering some other breeds. I anticipate an answer that it will make no difference in the difficulty or ease of integrating new chicks into the flock whether replacements are the same or different breeds, but wanted to check with more experienced flocksters before placing an order.

    If it makes any difference, the flock is free range during the day.

    Thank you for all comments and advice.
  2. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    At 8 months, I would imagine the birds are laying.

    They are territorial at this point and will not like new birds of any breed to join the flock. There will be fighting.

    If you have the room, keep the new and old flocks separated but visible and audible to each other, like a fence. Let them free range together. Eventually they will merge with less fighting.

    If you do not have the facility for segregation, put the new birds in on the roost after dark. They will wake in the morning and fight to establish new "pecking order".

    If the coop is open to free range, you might need to close the new birds in it for a few days. Otherwise, the new birds might not come to the new home to roost at night.

    The fighting is natural and expected. Just observe to make sure it is not a fight to kill such as one keeps chasing even the other gave up and ran.
  3. gardenfairy

    gardenfairy In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2012
    No, you're fine with introducing new breeds. There are individual birds that integrate quicker than others, but I keep a lot of different breeds and have never had a problem on that basis. Like ECBW said, though, at that age there will be fighting.

    Back when I first started keeping chickens, I introduced a second batch a couple months after the first gals - when they were about the age of yours - and it was a nightmare. They did need to be separated within sight of each other and still there was major drama when they were fully introduced. But they did eventually calm down and became one fully cohesive flock.

    I think they just have a lot of raging hormones at that age. I haven't since had issues with introducing younger birds in with older hens - just young ones with young ones. So it may be a headache this time around, but if your chickens are anything like mine, when you add newer gals later on things should be a lot more relaxed.
  4. batta

    batta Hatching

    Jun 26, 2013
    Big Island, Hawaii
    Thank you, both, for your comments. You have pretty much confirmed what I expected. And, yes, with a couple of exceptions the survivors are producing eggs, and have been doing so for about 10 weeks.

    Always some drama, comedy, adventure, tragedy, or excitement with chickens.

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