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Integrating flocks

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have 5 Barred Rocks, 4 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Leghorns and 2 Black Australorps. The Barred Rocks have been living in a different run than the other birds. They are seperated by fence so they can see one another and they also all free range together some each day. My husband built them an awesome 10x12 indoor coop with electricity, Windows, insulated, 6 nice nesting boxes and several roosting bars. I want to integrate the two flocks before it gets cold so they have a nice place to stay warm. I put the 5 Barred Rocks in there first then added the 3 leghorns. They seem to have adjusted well except that 2 of my Barred Rocks have turned out to be Roos, 1 who wants to service every girl in sight now while the other is much more docile. Yesterday I added two of the Buff Orpingtons and again, everyone seemed fine. Today when they were all free ranging I noticed that my other two BO's didn't seem to be acting like their normal selves. They acted like maybe they were getting sick. My question is could they just be depressed because I seperated them from the other two BO's. I started to put them in tonight but didn't because I am just not sure if they are sick or just lonely. The two Austrlorps they are in with are definitely the most aggressive of the hens but they have been together since I got them. They are all about 22 weeks. Advice would be great!! Also, is it ok to keep both Roo's and is it normal for him to be servicing all the hens? Does this upset the hens?
post #2 of 7

Integrating birds causes stress, any change can cause stress and behavioral changes-usually temporary.

Give them time to get used to the changes, like a week or three.

 

As long as there is no serious blood drawn and no one is getting pinned down/trapped and beaten,

let them work it out themselves. Pulling a bird(s) out again is just another change and you'll have to start all over when putting them back together.

 

Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, places to hide 'out of  line of sight' without being a dead end trap and/or up and away from aggressors will help immensely.

 

Yes, young cockerels can cause chaos and more stress for everyone.

Multiple young cockerels can make this exponentially worse because of the competition factor.

They don't know what they are doing and are ready to mate before the pullets are ready.

I'd get rid of one or both cockerels, depending on your goals.

You can always get another cock/cockerel down the road once the pullets are older and can teach a bit some manners.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 7
I found that my rooster helped with the new pullets and the older hens getting along. He is definitely the ladies man. He is the one in charge. If the hens start to fight. he steps right in-between them and that's is the end of that. He is a very good rooster and watches out for all of them. He will eat right out of your hand. A lot of people have never heard of a rooster doing that. At the present his spurs are over 2 inches long and really sharp, but like I said he is very good natured.
post #4 of 7

:welcome

 

At this point, just put them all in together and get it over with. They've been able to see and interact with each other long enough.

 

At 22 weeks, a cockerel is going to be mating anything he can catch, whenever he can catch it. This is perfectly normal. You'll have to watch your particular flock and see if the two roosters work out or if you need to get rid of one. You'll also have do observe your hens' tolerance for mating. if they get torn up or are resistive to the point where it's screaming and hiding all day, you'll need to re-evaluate keeping a rooster.

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all of the input. These 14 chickens are our first flock. Right now I am sooo stressed about the two Buffs I left in with the Austrlorps. They have been with them the entire time(since we got them) but since putting the other Buffs in with 8 chickens the other two Buffs aren't acting right. One walks around a little bit but not with enthusiam. When I let them out to free range this afternoon she walked around for a few minutes but didn't really eat then went back inside the coop and laid down. The other one my husband took inside this morning. When he checked on her this morning she was on the ground with her head laying crooked on the ground. He though she was dead. He picked her up and her head just hung. Inside he tried giving her oatmeal, eggs, vitamin water and she wouldn't take anything. We have been able to get a little of the vitamin water in her with a dropper. Her poop looks normal. This afternoon she stood up and could hold her head up but still didn't want to eat and drink. We used the dropper again and got some vitamin water in her. I love my chickens. I hate seeing them sick and not knowing how to help them😢
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry Abbot View Post

I appreciate all of the input. These 14 chickens are our first flock. Right now I am sooo stressed about the two Buffs I left in with the Austrlorps. They have been with them the entire time(since we got them) but since putting the other Buffs in with 8 chickens the other two Buffs aren't acting right. One walks around a little bit but not with enthusiam. When I let them out to free range this afternoon she walked around for a few minutes but didn't really eat then went back inside the coop and laid down. The other one my husband took inside this morning. When he checked on her this morning she was on the ground with her head laying crooked on the ground. He though she was dead. He picked her up and her head just hung. Inside he tried giving her oatmeal, eggs, vitamin water and she wouldn't take anything. We have been able to get a little of the vitamin water in her with a dropper. Her poop looks normal. This afternoon she stood up and could hold her head up but still didn't want to eat and drink. We used the dropper again and got some vitamin water in her. I love my chickens. I hate seeing them sick and not knowing how to help them😢

Did you get all these birds at the same time from the same place?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
The Barred Rocks are a little younger than the Buffs and Australorps, this a little smaller. They came from a different place than the others and were kept in a separate coop til recently. The Buffs, Austrlorps and Leghorns have all been together for months and been fine. It wasn't until I had put the leghorns and then two of the Buffs in with the Barred Rocks that the remaining two Buffs got sickly. The Australorps that were in with two sickly Buffs seem fine, mean as ever.
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