The new one is 3m x 1.5 (about 10ft x 5 ft in imperial), with an enclosed house 1.5 x 1.2 and the rest a meshed run (with a roof, it's not open on top). I'll also set up another fenced run (star-pickets and mesh) around the new one. They are let out during the day and my backyard is pretty big (it's a 850 sq m block with a single house on it, not sure how big the backyard is, but it's pretty big)
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner
How old will the new chickens be?
They can be any age (but old enough to eat "grownup" food, I have no idea how to look after babies), whichever is the "best" age to go for. (having said that, if I come across some poor chooks being "rehomed", I could adopt more adults instead of getting "new" ones, I'm a sucker for taking in "strays").
What are the sizes of the old and new facilities, coops and runs?
See above for the new one, the existing house/run is 900x2300 (house 1m, run 1.3). The yard around it is, I don't know, 6m x 6m? They only go in the yard if I want them out of the way to get something done without stepping on chooks, otherwise they've got the whole backyard.
First consider quarantine.
Yes, I've read the "instructions" as to keeping them apart.
It could be your existing flock as easily as the others.
Yes, because they are "adopted" and I don't know their full history, they could "have something". All I know is that they seem healthy, they eat and run about and do "chook things" - but that could be because they have immunity to anything-they've-been-exposed-to in the past.
If your new chickens are coming from a flock that has not been exposed to other chickens for months,
I'm looking at getting them from a "chicken farm", so I expect they would only have been exposed to the chickens at the farm. It may be that the "babies" would be more at risk from my girls than the other way around......
If you wish, one variation of quarantine would be to select a potentially sacrificial member of your current flock and put her with the new chickens to see which, if any, get sick. This will help protect against the flock immunities issue.
Sounds a bit mean to the "sacrificial" one, but it's better that only one got sick than everybody. I'd just pick one up at random, I couldn't do a "Sophie's Choice".
I find it extremely handy to have a second coop on the far side of my main run.
Yes, it would probably be a good idea to keep the existing house in case somebody needs to be separated for some reason.
Occasionally, not often but occasionally, one chicken will attack strange chickens, especially if their territory is being invaded. This is where housing them side-by-side for a week or more helps. It doesn’t totally solve the problem but it can help a lot if you have one of those aggressive chickens.
I find it hard to imagine that any of my girls would be "like that". I had some chickens years ago, and one was quite obviously "top chicken" with the others her hand-maidens, but with these girls none stands out as the leader, they seem more "equal" and nobody seems "bossy" towards the others (although there is one that I'd say is the "runty one", always last)
Then you have the pecking order.
Will young hens just take their place in submission to an older girl (in dogs, puppies will usually just submit) or can a "baby" still have aspirations to be in charge? If babies will just take their place in line, will they challenge later on, when they hit puberty?
If you have enough room there is usually not a whole lot of drama associated with any of this, but occasionally a chicken can die from this. When you deal with living animals you don’t get guaranties. You have room, you should be fine.
Also, they don't have to compete for food, I can put multiple feeders, and when I chuck out the scratch mix, I chuck it in a couple of directions, some can go over here, some can go over there. I (as a non-chicken) don't see that they'd have anything to fight over.
One approach is that you house the new group in the new facility until they accept it as home, maybe a week. In the meantime let your other hens continue to roam so they can see the new ones. Once the new ones accept it as home and they have seen each other for a while, let them all roam together during the day but sleep separately at night.
Thanks, I was mostly concerned about "this is MY house" territoriality, but it seems that it is more a question of personalities than of location/"stuff".
You can lock the door to the old coop to keep them from going in there at night to help them with the transition or keep moving them from the roosts until they get the message and start sleeping in the new facilities. If you lock the door it will help them switch faster but they may try to roost near the old facility for a while.
They never "go home" by themselves, they are hanging around outside the back door, they just follow me "home" and I put them inside.
You still have the problem that they are still laying in the old facility.
They seem to do all their eggs early in the morning before they get let out. Sometimes, they'll go back in the day, but mostly I find the day's "quota" sitting there first thing. If they are shut in the new coop, I'd expect them to do their eggs in there?
All this assumes your new coop and run are dangerously small. If your new coop and run are decent size,
Well, I think it's ok, but that's why you sign onto forums and find things out before you do something.... What do you think?