? about keeping 2 free range flocks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Knock Kneed Hen, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    Hi! I was considering keeping two flocks and would want to free range them together...or at least at the same time. I wouldn't have a way to separate them when they were out free ranging. I'm assuming that they would eventually congregate together and I'm worried then that the roos would get into it. Also, at night time, would they go to their own pens to roost?

    I'm such a newbie [​IMG] ....can you tell? [​IMG]
     
  2. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would say you would definitely have rooster problems, depending on their breed and temperment. They will return to their own coops though. [​IMG]
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I have two free range flocks. My 3+ year old birds have been free ranging since they were a few weeks old, as have the younger flock that includes some birds that were hatched by broodies in that flock.

    When the younger birds first started free ranging the older birds did act quite offended about the invasion of their territory. However it didn't take long before the older birds were checking out the younger birds coop and vice versa. A little while longer and some of the older birds were hanging out with the younger ones, but the older timers would still chase or peck some of the youngsters. The roos from each coop tangled once in awhile, but no blood drawn. The top birds in the younger flock recently decided they wanted to lay their eggs in the older birds coop and everyone seems fine with that.

    Yesterday for the very first time I noticed all the birds, every last one of them sitting and standing under one of the mister systems I have set up. No one was fighting, no one was pecking.

    So yes it is entirely possible to blend two free range flocks. They will work out a new, totally seperate pecking order from the one they will continue to maintain in their own flock. Expect some pecking and some chasing but so long as no blood is being drawn it's best to leave them to work it out.

    P.S. Once or twice one hen or another has decided to switch coops at night. It's like a novelty to them. Eventually they go back to their own coop.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have been able to maintain multiple free ranging flocks with relatively discrete ranges. Each flock has its own roost, usually its own day roost (place to stay out of sun and wind during day), and feeding station. To help control cross boundary incursions, feeders are armed before birds come off roost and waterers are either at territory boundaries or areas not claimed by any flocks. Keeping feeder armed at all times does same thing. Having hedge or fence rows between clusters of resources (roost, day roost, feeder) helps define territory boundaries. Each flock must have a rooster. No rooster results in such flocks dissentigrating with hens moving to flocks with rooster. I still do not know minimum area (acreage required for each flock) but more higher quality feed reduces area requirment. Rooster to hen ratio needs to be higher than optimal for typical production flock or drift between flocks will be frequent. Distance I have between roosts can be as little as 100 feet but other resources need to be situated so flocks spend much of day farther apart than that.

    Most squabbles between roosters heading such flocks seem to be display. All out fights most likely to occur between a lead rooster and another without a harem. My hens seldom fight with others outside their own flock unless somebody is trying to immigrate into another flock.

    I can feed all flocks in same location but that tends cause fighting even though flocks will go off into their own directions after feed consumed or crops topped off.
     
  5. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Going with the previous 2 posters and we also have 2 flocks of 18 that free range together and no real issues.

    We remove psycho roos and the ones we have now (3) don't care much about each other, though there are minor squabbles....
     
  6. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several flocks that free range, with several roosters, they pretty much keep to their own group with sometimes a roo trying to grab a new hen, typically the hen stays within her flock and the roos stand between, not alot of fighting, but I'm thinking of loosing another roo and since it's fall, maybe it won't be too bad, if spring - forget it... cooping them up is different, each roo (that could damage the others) must go to his own secure box, since I'm not going to open the door at 5 am, and I don't want to hear a major fight and see a little roo dead...it takes a few days, and still, one roo keeps trying to get locked in the hens flat! Yesterday the hens where actually 'hiding' him in the corner, and he was crouched down, so I wouldn't notice, ha ha, nice try.
    I think alot depends on how many you have and how much room to range them, as long as the weaker ones have cover you should be ok, if not, the easiest time to grab a roo is when he's got another one down.
     

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