How to Integrate Your Chicken Flocks
Updated: May 14, 2020
When I started this adventure with backyard chickens, I was very direct in the fact that I wanted NO MORE than 6 chickens! I had kept chickens before and both times I ended up with way too many and was overwhelmed. Fast forward to now, our kids are older, we have a better set up, and here I am with 26 chickens! I didn’t start out that way, though. Originally, I started with 10 chicks with the intent to give 4 away, but I found myself quickly attached to all 10.
And then came spring. Our local farm supply store had an amazing assortment of chicks! My husband, being the encourager that he is, talked me into (it wasn’t hard) getting 6 more. Then, why stop there? Our daughter and I thought it’d be fun to hatch our own Silkie chicks, so we ordered the fertilized eggs and fired up the incubator! We hatched 3 healthy baby Silkies and then purchased 3 more at the local farm supply store. The icing on the cake was our local store getting Barnevelder chicks. They have been my dream chicken! Sadly, I had to find new homes for 2 of them as I discovered Bernice is Bernie and Millie is a Milford, and I don’t want to have any roosters...yet.
Introducing New Chickens to Your Flock
With flocks at 3 different stages, we’ve needed to integrate them safely. Pecking order is no joke in the chicken world. It’s a real thing with real consequences if you’re not careful. I have read different techniques in doing this, and this is what we decided to do.
My original 10 were laying already by the time I was ready to incorporate our 6 “teenagers”. The big girls were on top of the world in their coop and for the most part, they all get along. I have spent literally hours with them, so they are very tame.
Tips for Integrating Your Flocks
I purchased a small dog kennel from our local farm supply store. On nice days, I would set the kennel inside our big girls run. The teenagers were in the kennel so the flocks could hear and see each other. I sat out there with them and would sprinkle treats around the kennel.
After a few times of this, I put the kennel into the girls’ coop with the same process.
Then, while supervising, I put the teenagers into the run area so they could all be in there together without the kennel. I would always put the teenagers back into their brooder after a couple hours.
Then, finally it happened! I put the teenagers out in the run during the late afternoon. When I went to go shut the coop up for the night, all 16 gals were in there together!
They continue to work out their pecking order, but no one has gotten hurt.
The whole process took about a week.
Now, I have a flock of 8 to integrate into the bigger group and will follow the same process! The girls were able to ease into it without big change or big surprise. And they kept laying! I’m hoping for the same results with integrating the 8 babies. My “teenagers” haven’t started laying yet but will be soon. I don’t want to mess with their schedule, so I’m taking more time with this third flock.
My Favorite Products
I have always given our chickens Strong Animals Chicken Essentials Chicken E-lixir™ support their immune system and digestive health on an everyday basis. But during this time of adding to our main flock, I’ve also incorporated Flock Fixer™ to alleviate any stress on my girls. Flock Fixer™ is a vitamin rich additive that helps hydrate, restore vital nutrients and helps support immunity. I just mix a scoop of Flock Fixer™ with a gallon of drinking water for 3-5 days during the transition. All the girls stayed healthy and vibrant during the first transition.
Integrating your flocks doesn’t have to difficult or stressful. Follow the steps I’ve laid out for you, and you can buy all the chicks you want! Just make sure you have enough space for all of them. And, in my opinion? There’s always room for a couple more!