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Integrating chickens

Integration of new chickens to an established flock is no joke. When introducing new birds regardless of their age or size you will probably see a lot of the pecking, chasing around, some screaming and running, some chickens puffed up like a big ball, some starring and growling at each other and fighting; sometimes to the point that it brings blood if no preparations have been made ahead of time. Chickens have been known to peck each other to death. If the less dominant runs away after that peck, most of the time all is good in the flock. If the new birds challenge the pecking order then a fight will occur, and things can turn out very badly. That's why preparation is needed for bringing in the new guys.

The experience of integration of new chickens can be very irritating or fun, it all boils down to preparation. It can cause disorder and chaos to the whole feel of the farm or backyard. You'll either hear serene sounds of a peaceful flock or a flock screaming in terror. And instead of having a peaceful pleasant visit with the chickens, you can find yourself grimacing, chasing, and aggravated. Trust me, preparation will keep the peace in your flock and peace in your soul.

We move a lot of chicks at our farm. We integrate chicks that are one week old with some that are two and three-week old's; two months old and up goes with other pullets and cockerels and some 3 months and up, and hens and cocks get integrated into breeder flocks. During these times we have to keep notes on where we put all new guys and gals, or we can have some serious problems.

Problems of Integration