Grafting New Chickens into your Flock – The Pecking Order

Grafting New Chickens into your Flock – The Pecking Order

I made all the unnecessary, spontaneous baby chick purchases in March.

puffy chick 1

The baby chicks are no longer babies and were initiated into the big flock last week.  This involves, sleepovers, shut-ins, lock-downs, and involuntary chicken confinement for all our birds.


We keep our chickens “The Redneck Way” and this involves:

  • no fences
  • no runs
  • no yards
  • no boundaries
  • no feed bills
  • no GMO chicken feeds
  • healthy chickens
  • healthy eggs
  • chickens everywhere

If you haven’t heard about our obscure, chicken-keeping methods go here to read how we do it.

When your chickens are allowed to roam free throughout the universe, you can’t just “add” new chickens to your flock whenever you want.

Any new chickens must be taught that our coop is their new home.  A good home.  A safe home.  A home they should sleep in every night.  A home they should return to when the sun goes down.

You must teach them to, “Go home to roost.”

I guess we aren’t really teaching them to “go home” as much as we are teaching them “where home is.”

If you don’t convince them that they love their new home, you may be chasing them around 24 acres at dark-thirty and shoving them into the coop every night.  Ugh.

Teaching a new-comer where home is and to come back to it every night is not complicated.  It  is not hard.  It does take a little time and endurance.

If you are starting with a fresh flock, and there are no poultry currently residing in your coop, this is easy.  Just move all the chickens to the coop.  Keep them closed in with food and water (of course) for a few days and then set them all free.  Its amazing.  It’s astounding.

Ain’t no mountain high enough,  ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough to keep them from the coop.  When the sun goes down, the chickens go in.  

It’s the coolest thing.

We have been keeping chickens this way for years.

It gets a little hairy when you purchase new chicks and want to add them to your current, coop-trained flock.  The new guys won’t necessarily “follow” all the big chickens into bed at night.  They may decide that trees and bushes are better than the coop.  Or better yet, they may go in search of the brooder they have been living in for the past several weeks.  After all, that is “home” to them.

You must train the rookies that the big coop is home and that’s where they want to be.

So, everyone gets to have a sleepover!

chick move 1.2

The current flock, the current ducks, and the new kids on the block all get to, “go camping” in the coop.  Yay!

It’s like when I was a kid and they had, “lock-ins” at church.  Everyone has food, water, hay, everything they need – and you lock them in.

Gives a new meaning to:

“Jail Birds”

Keep everyone indoors for a couple of days & then let them out.  Between

  1. The 3 day lock down
  2. Going “out” the chicken door so they know how to get back in
  3. and the fact that all the other 30 birds are going back into the big coop

There’s a good chance all the newbies will follow the leaders and make it to bed.

chick move 1.1

If there’s a straggler or two who can’t figure out how to get back into the coop, just gently “herd” them up the chicken ramp and in the door.

Tomorrow they may get it.


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