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First time starting newborn keets in the coop: (4) INTEGRATING (Incubation & Brooding)

by steve, Western Massachusetts, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 12:20 (146 days ago)

I've got 25 keets coming this week in the mail (I'm going to keep about half of them, and sell the others when they get a little older). It's been a while since I've had this situation: My starter order was 6 years ago, and only a dozen. There was no existing adult flock, I kept them in cage with a lightbulb to heat them in a very controlled environment. Since then, most new birds have been hatched and raised DIY by the hens in the coop.

Now, I've got a flock of (15) in an 8x12 shed coop. My plan is to start the keets in the coop on day 1 (well, technically day 3!). I've never done it this way, and I realized as the time approaches that I have a LOT of questions (surprise, surprise coming from me). So, I'm going to break them down into separate topics in several forum posts (and repeat this intro in each one). Here's the fourth topic:

When and how do I introduce them into the main coop? I know the rest of the flock will see them in their separate enclosure, and there is a hen sitting on a nest now, which I think is due to hatch in about 2 weeks, so maybe she will have maternal instinct for them...Or maybe she and the rest of the flock will be extra protective against what they deem to be intruders and a threat?

When I've brought in keets acquired locally from breeders in the past, they've always been about 2-4 weeks old, and I kept them in the coop right away, in a separate cage for about 2 weeks. Once I let them out in to the main coop, the adult flock was pretty hostile and occasionally violent with them at first (and pretty aggressive in general with them for months), and basically bare minimum chased them non-stop until they got into a corner a grownup couldn't. I even lost one or two b/c they got chased out of the coop and I never found them again. Will it be different with these guys b/c they will start as actual tiny newborns and then flock will acclimate to them better?

So, how/when do I do this, and what precautions do I take?

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