When to introduce new chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jose21, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Jose21

    Jose21 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have 2 chickens which we hatched from eggs; they are now 14 weeks old. Would this be a good point to introduce two new hens? All of the chickens will be moving to a new home in a month and as they have a much bigger garden at the moment and I have much more time before term starts, I was wondering whether I can settle the new hens in when my two are around 15 weeks old? Or should I wait until the move in a month when my hens will be 18 weeks. Any suggestions welcome.

    My two rule the garden it seems, chasing off birds, rabbits and the cat - but getting on brilliantly with the dog. I am hoping they may see the new hens as dogs! Does anyone also have experience of dogs and hens? Our spaniel adores our two and I would trust him completely - but we did introduce him (in a very controlled way) from the time they were a couple of days old. Is he likely to be as good with the new hens do you think? And are they likely to be scared of him?
     
  2. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I think my EEs were 16 or 18 weeks old when I moved them into the chicken shed at night.I was waiting for the time when I switched the younger ones to layer feed.
     
  3. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    I always cage mine in the run so they can all get use to each ,but cant get at each other, for a week, then sneak them in at night.
     
  4. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had to incorporate not one, but two new batches of chickens this year and not by choice! That said, I am lucky enough to have two small coops in one run, but if you have a large dog cage or even some roll-up fencing they can all see each other, but be separated for a few days, it really helps break the ice without injury. My sister threw two new ones in with her flock last year and the leghorn had her crown nearly ripped off. I haven't had issues combining the crews after they warm up through the fence/cages. I also have many obstacles in the run so the younger ones have lots of things to dart around or under for protection from the bigger ones. If yours are free ranging, they should have plenty of places to hide.
    Also, I cut out a piece of plastic poultry fencing and divide the coop for the first few days/weeks. That way they are all in there together, but can't get to each other. I suppose that would depend on how big your coop is though. Mine are relatively small.
    Good luck, it can be done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 16 18 week olds and 3 8 week olds...the younger ones sleep in the small cage, but during the day they all free range together, this has been going on 2 weeks now, so I think we are about ready to migrate to open cage at night, so they can at least go inside and feel safe, even though the older birds squeeze inside to get to the food (same food they have, but different dish so they think its different and better I guess!)....the other morning I went to let them out and the little ones were on the roosts...the older ones outside..so maybe we are truly ready to let them all be...
     
  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    I separated my two flocks by putting a wire dog kennel inside the coop. I alternated both groups with in the kennel. It took a very good 3 weeks or so before I let them run together and the older flock accepted the newcomers. After the three weeks, I let them pan out the pecking order. If I didn't seperate in the beginning, I'd have seriously hurt or dead chicks, especially the bantam. The older chicks were trying to get the newcomers through the kennel. They get along very well now. I think 14 weeks is a good age to introduce.
     

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