How to Integrate two flocks?

Discussion in 'Chick Raising Forum' started by Hen'Vengers, May 23, 2020.

  1. Hen'Vengers

    Hen'Vengers New Member

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    20200519_073053.jpg I have 9 hens that are 7 weeks old. They are still in their broader and we are planning to put them out in their coop within the week.

    My friend has 5 chickens she can't keep. They are 6 weeks old. Her chickens will be going out to their coop soon also, so she will leave the 5 in the broader that I am taking.

    What is the best way to merge my 9 with the new 5? Do I move them all out to my coop at the same time? I really need some guidance. Thank you!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2020
  2. Featherballs

    Featherballs New Member

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    I would just put them all in there together they are young they will figure out the pecking order quick. Unlike older flock where you would need to introduce them first.
     
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  3. TomC

    TomC Active Member

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    First, the new addition to your flock should be quarantined away from your chicks for 2 weeks. Not saying that your friend has any problems, but you never know and it's a good practice to get into the habit of. After that, to introduce them, the safest way is to separate them but in a way that they can see and interact with each other for 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. If possible, the easiest way is to subdivide your coop with something like chicken wire. If you just dump them together, more times than not they will fight. Often leading to injury or even death of some of them, I know from experience, what little I have. After that you can put them together, but keep a watchful eye for a day or two. There will naturally be a little chest bumping and minor squabbles, but if there is anything leaning towards excessive, separate them for more time.
     
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  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I would be more concerned about whether the new additions are disease free than about the getting to know you phase.

    So separating the new group totally from your group is the best thing to do. And like chickenballs said, put them together. They're young age should keep blood from flying.
     
  5. Hen'Vengers

    Hen'Vengers New Member

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    I hadn't thought about diseases because we both got ours from the same hatchery. The difference being we had ours shipped direct to us and she picked hers up at Tractor Supply.

    Maybe this is a naive question, but what diseases should I be concerned with? Should I be vetting my chickens annually like domestic household animals?

     
  6. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes and no on the vetting. Vetting is going to be mostly on you. You want to see that everyone is acting normally. That their eyes are bright and round, no droopiness. That there are no discharges from the eyes or nares. Watching for parasites both external and internal. Some are lucky enough to have vets that are willing to look at our birds but most of it is on us to figure things out and how to treat.

    There are a couple of chronic respiratory diseases that only really show up when birds are stressed. Like being moved from one home to another. The birds moved to the new home will show symptoms if they are carrying it and can be quite contagious to the existing flock. The new birds should be the last visited when it comes to food and water so that the owner doesn't carry the possible disease back to the original flock.
     
  7. Hen'Vengers

    Hen'Vengers New Member

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    Would you keep them in the coop for 2 weeks separated by chicken wire without run time to get acclimated?

    Or would we need to have two separate run areas also?

    Trying to figure out the best way to do this without stressing out the chickens. Its stressing us out haha!

     
  8. TomC

    TomC Active Member

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    It really depends on your setup and space. It could be something as simple as setting their brooder pen inside the coop, as long as it has at least one side that the can see each other and interact through. Or, if you have the space, you could put some temporary chicken wire up in the coop and the run. But, if I understand your question, yes, it would defeat the purpose of separating them if you only did it inside the coop, but let them be together out in the run. But, as Featherballs and Robin have said, given their age, they may integrate just fine without separation.

    However, keep in mind, that is all after the initial 2 week quarantine. During that time they need to be completely separate, with no interaction. During that time you don't even want to have their brooder pen inside the coop. The reason is to keep from bringing in any type of disease, virus, or bacteria into your flock. The chances are very good that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your friends birds, but not quarantining the new birds can have devastating results if they do happen to be carrying an unknown problem.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Tom is exactly right. The new birds should have no ability to come into contact with your birds in any way. A wire divider is not enough. They need to be in another building. They need to be the last birds you take care of. If you use the same shoes for both sets of birds then the bottoms should be sanitized before going to your existing birds.