When to add chicks to the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JRomley, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. JRomley

    JRomley Hatching

    Mar 17, 2015
    I have a group of hens (RIR's and Leghorns) that recently started laying. I got a few other chicks that I've been raising in a pen in the large yard with the others. How do I know they're old/large enough to let out of their pen to join the others? They're about the same size as the Leghorns. I realized that I'm an adict. I can't go to the feed store without wanting another hen!
    Than you!

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful....take what applies and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  3. JRomley

    JRomley Hatching

    Mar 17, 2015
    Great info. Thank you. I have noticed the older birds trying to peck and scratch for food through the youngers cage. I havent seen any agression yet, but they havent been together outside of the cage. Im going to clip the youngers wings Saturday and let them out for a bit to see how it goes. My vegetable garden should be great this year with all these hens fertilizing the yard.

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