When to integrate newbies into the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mezzy Chicks, May 30, 2017.

  1. Mezzy Chicks

    Mezzy Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2016
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    I have 10 hens (BR, RIR, SS, BA) and one rooster (BA) that are 1 year old. This spring I purchased 8 new chicks (why not?). At about 4 weeks old, I moved the chicks into a 2' x 4' brooder pen inside the coop (with a heating pad brooder which was awesome) in plain site (which caused a slight egg laying strike but they were back to full production mode after a few weeks). At about 6 weeks I added an 8' x 8' run that only the chicks could access that is right smack dab in the middle of the other chickens big run (25' x 55'). Now the chicks are 12 weeks old and the brooder is getting crowded at night. I did remove the heating pad long ago and I added roosts, so everyone has space to roost. Question is: can I release the 4 Buff Orpingtons and 1 Light Brahma into the coop/run with the big chickens and leave the Welsummers in the brooder space for a few more weeks? I'm concerned about my big Black Australorp roo assaulting the smaller Wellies. The Buffs and Brahma, of course, are nice and big. One of the Buffs is a rooster - hopefully the replacement - as the BO can find a new home, with the freezer as an option (he has an occasional mean streak). Or am I creating more issues by doing the integration in two steps?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I integrate at 6-8 weeks without problems. Don't let yours get too old. As long as there's enough space and hiding spots it should go easy.
     
  3. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2017
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    Your young flock already have their own politics going, I wouldn't separate them. All in or all out!
     
  4. Mezzy Chicks

    Mezzy Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2016
    Wisconsin
    This is my first integration so I'm really nervous. Tomorrow is the big day. Do I just put the young ones out with the old ones first thing in the morning? I just read something about putting them on the roost at night... do I do that tonight? Here's what I'm thinking.... I'll open the big coop door and let the big girls out and close the door again. Then I'll let the young ones out of their pen inside the coop and let them just hang out for a half hour or so, until the big girls are trying to get back in to lay. Then I'll open the coop back up and let them figure it out. I'm worried about how they'll know to go back in the coop at night. I suppose it will be like the first few nights with the first chickens - I have to go out and round them up and eventually they'll figure it out. I did put out a few hiding places in the run. Am I on the right track?
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Have you been penning them where the older birds can see them? I do that for about a week before I try supervised mingling to see how it goes. I never just combine 2 groups without them becoming familiar through a fence, than I still need to keep an eye on things for a few weeks.
     
  6. Mezzy Chicks

    Mezzy Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2016
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    They've been penned right in with them for about 8 weeks now. I think everyone knows each other pretty well!
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Well, than good luck, hopefully the big don't even notice they are out.
     
    aart likes this.

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