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When to integrate...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LaurenM23, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    I started out my little chicken flock with eight week-old "dominique pullets" at the very beginning of June. Well...long story short, I have ended up with 1 BR roo (after re-homing four others!), 2 BR pullets, and 1 Australorp pullet...all 21 weeks today! haha What a mess. They are ALL extremely easy going, docile birds, including my roo, Kip. After many hours of observation over these months, I've never seen any inkling of a scuffle between any of them. Kip is super friendly, but does a great job of watching over his ladies, ensuring that they are safe while eating and rounding them up and into the coop for the night. (Heck, he even sleeps by the door on the roost, like he's on guard!)

    Down to the 4 from 8, I had plans of hatching some SPPRs to add to my flock. One crappy bator and two horrific hatches later, I've ended up with one SPPR pullet and a Modern Game roo, purchased to be a buddy chick for her. What a pair! haha Like the others, these two are EXTREMELY docile birds. The Modern Game roo can be cuddled, he's so laid back! They are both 9 weeks old and are doing great.

    I have the two youngsters in a large stock tank (with hardware cloth cover) in my home as a brooder (they don't need a light anymore, of course). My outdoor set-up consists of a good sized coop (I say it could hold 12 grown birds, but allegedly more should fit...I'm big on each bird having a good deal of space) with an attached outdoor run. The run is large and fully enclosed, to protect from predators, with plenty of room for play and exploration.

    At what point should I be able to safely integrate these two little ones with the other four? My concern is that they are substantially smaller (maybe a little less than half their size), but the nights are getting cooler. I could easily install a heat lamp in the coop, so temperature is not so much the issue yet. If I wait for them to grow larger, though, it will be too much of a temperature shock to stick them outside. Am I going to have to figure a way to keep these babies inside all winter?

    Thank you so much for any advice you can offer. My timing for hatching was way off...I've learned my lesson. [​IMG]
     
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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  3. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    King George, VA
    Thank you!!! I hadn't seen that page before! Hmm...I'm wondering if I could test them in a large wire dog crate I have. I could set up a heat lamp in the coop for the evenings and keep the babies in the crate to let them see the others, but protect them. They are definitely large enough and strong enough to be very mobile, fly about, and get away. Thoughts?
     
  4. firsthouse_mp

    firsthouse_mp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I integrated two flocks of 3 birds each. The first were about a year when I added on. During the day I did put the three younger ones in a large dog cage inside the coop. They had their own food/water, but the two flocks could definitely see eachother. I did this daily for a week. Then I let out one chicken from the old flock and one from the new flock into the yard. They mostly ignored eachother. I kept switching them out for another week. Then I let out all three young hens and only one older hen in the yard. Took turns with the older ones going solo with the youngsters. Then I mixed two and two, then I finally mixed three and three. It was a total of about a month, but we had no problems. There is still a pecking order, but there was not a lot of fighting. Then for about a month afterwards, I had two food dishes and set them on either side of the coop--gave each group a chance to eat without fighting for food.

    Worked like a charm.
     
  5. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    Thanks, buff hooligans, for that compilation of now to introduce new chickens to a flock. near the bottom of the page, there is one line that caught me aback as we are considering taking a young roo from a friend to keep his flock with just the roo's dad as the single male, and because we are down to 2 hens after losing 2 and since he seems to be qte a gentle fellow we thought he might be a good protector. Not sure we can go through the lengthy quarantine especially with a cold winner coming on and he would be alone without mates to keep warm...but the lone that got my attention was keeping a minimum of 10 hens per roo. We are never gnu to have that many hens....should we not consider a roo (ever)? That might be fine as I have mixed feelings about it but could you explain that number ratio more?
     
  6. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    Quote:Hopefully, someone will correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe that the line (and ratio) more applies to having multiple roos. I have three pullets (almost to POL) and one roo in my coop/run. He is a wonderful protector for them and has no issue. He has no competition. If I were to stick another grown roo in with him, though, they may be more inclined to battle over so few females.

    If you have a 10 hen to 1 roo ratio, you would need 20 hens to have two roos. This is so that each roo can have his little harem and not feel threatened with competition. I know many who have much smaller numbers of hens and multiple roos, so it can work. Likely, it is a situation of the greater the ratio, the better.

    Alot of peeps shy away from having roos because: 1) they can be loud and 2) they can be agressive. I'll tell you that while my guy, Kip, does crow, it's not nearly as loud as I expected AND he is the second most personable of the group! He watches over his ladies and makes sure that they eat before he does and leads them all over the place. The protection factor makes him well worth the "risk" of a little noise.
     
  7. noah02

    noah02 ^Spammer

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2010
  8. CindyG

    CindyG Chillin' With My Peeps

    The rooster/hen ratio is mostly to ensure fertility I think. If there are too many hens for one rooster to "cover" not everyone's egg gets fertilized. This is only a problem if you want to hatch all your eggs. Too many roosters is hard on the hens because they are constantly being jumped on and usually end up with missing feathers, and perhaps scratches. Roos that grow up together generally get along just fine, one may become dominant and mates all the hens while the less dominant rooster justs takes whatever he can grab while the other roo isn't looking or is busy elsewhere. I have several roos, and only two of them are "getting any". The only fighting is when a new roo is introduced, as I am in the process of doing. In order to get the hens, I had to take the rooster, nice big handsome fellow, but I mostly still keep them segregated. My original roo has gone through chicken wire barrier to get at the new guy! If you can let them free range, that is much easier on them all as they figure out pretty quickly who can go where without getting stomped. Isn't it fun??!!
     
  9. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Lauren< I forget how old are the chicks? I would put the young ones in a kennel or pen or their tank inside the Coop and see what happens. They will be adjusting to the dynamics of the Coop and vice versa and the temperature changes at the same time. In the past I have separated a section of my coop off and put young adolescents for a few weeks there and that has worked.

    TrishK: I think the hen/Roo ratio in that information (which was very good by the way) was refering to adding another Roo to an existing flock of hens already with a Roo. In this case there needs to be extra hens so that each Roo can have his own harem as LaurenM said.

    When there are Roos that have been raised together and the Breed doesn't require a large number of hens then you can get away with less hens. I would never let a Sicilian Buttercup Roo have only 6 or 8 hens, its just not enough for them. Poor girls would have bare backs and heads constantly.

    But you are questioning even having a Roo. Are you taking him to help a friend or because you want a Roo. A Roo for 2 hens, that's not many for any breed I can think off. They can be a pain you know, even if they do look pretty cool. The only reason to have a Roo really is to have fertile eggs to hatch. Then you have to cull the chicks you don't want, either find them homes, or .... Their way of protecting is standing out there and Crowing while the hens run and hide if they can. I don't mean to be nay saying, but please think about why you are wanting a Roo.
     

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