This has been a really easy integration. We have come to the conclusion that it’s much easier to integrate younger girls as they pose no threat to the flock and therefore there is no aggression towards them.
The day before yesterday I decided to help the chicks find their way round the whole run. I opened the hatch and guided them out to the bigger part of the run. I then closed the hatch and opened the gate to let the flock into the chicks part and closed them in.
The flock actually loved being in this part because it’s been denied from them and therefore had become attractive.
I then guided the chicks around the entire run. I do this by having my open hands behind them and just move them forward. I guided them to the patio area and put their dish there so that they would know that this was where the food was. I then guided them back down from the patio area and then repeated the excercise so that they would get used to finding there way to and from the patio area.
I then opened the gate and let the girls mix together. There was no aggression at all so I decided that I would try leaving them together.
I opened up the corner near the patio and propped open the gate. I had also closed the chicks coup and moved their food dishes to the patio area.
At bedtime the flock was in the chicken shed but the chicks were standing at the edge of the patio and were cheeping. I guided them towards the pop hole and through into the chicken shed. They wanted to come back out but I blocked them with my hands and a few minutes later the automatic door shut.
I checked on the chicks and they were settled on the floor in the back corner of the shed. I made sure they were not in the firing line of being pooped on.
The next morning the chicks had become very adventuress and had explored the entire run. They love to be off the ground and discovered all the low perches, the wooden blocks, the log, the perches in the large shelter and the top of the small shelter.
I had changed all the food dishes to a mixture of growers pellets and chick crumb. Unfortunately the bigger girls were attracted to the smaller dishes and flicked pellets all around the patio area.
I was really pleased to see that the chicks were able to get to the food even with the bigger girls close to them.
At the end of the day the same thing happened as the night before and I had to guide the chicks through the pop hole. It will probably take a while for them to get the hang of it but I am sure they will soon.
After the chicks first night in the chicken shed I put their little coup back on the patio area to become a nest box once more.
Spangle seems to like to be wherever the chicks are and will follow them around.
By the end of the first day I had seen the chicks eat from the bigger food dishes and drink from the metal water dish. I decided that now they knew where the food and water was that I would take away the small dishes so that the patio area doesn’t get covered in pellets and then I swept the patio area.
I am really pleased with how easily this has gone. The chicks just need to learn to go in the chicken shed by themselves and once they have got used to that I will then try to perch them at night. I am confident that it won’t be too long before they get the hang of it.