Adopting an entire flock - what should I know?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Alexis, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Alexis

    Alexis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I've had chickens for the past couple of years, but tomorrow we are adopting an entire flock from a family that is moving out of state. There are 18 birds all together (and a turkey!). I know, what was I thinking?? :eek:

    Basically, I have never done something quite like this before, and am concerned about the best way to make sure these chickens know what "home" is, and how to get them settled in without major stress.

    I was thinking of enclosing them in a run for a couple days before letting them roam (we free range). Any advice for this crazy chicken lady? We have all the supplies to make a quick fenced area - it's just not done yet. We've been too busy working on the remodel of the henhouse so we have enough nest boxes!

    [​IMG] Thanks in advance!
    ~Alexis

    Mom to one lucky hen and 15 rainbow peeps
     
  2. FLchook

    FLchook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 27, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    Thats what I would do. Just make sure the new and old chooks can see eachother. THey will figure it out pretty quickly.

    Good luck with 18 new birdies!!!


    Shannon
     
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    My first concern would be to quarantine them for a few weeks. Im sure they look "fine" but you just never know. You dont want them to bring anything in on your existing flock. After a few weeks, if they are sick, you will know for sure, and by then they will know where home is, and where the food comes from.
     
  4. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Yes keep them locked up so they get the home idea, then when you start letting them out do it a short time before dark, so they will not wander too far and get disoriented. Gradually increase the time they ahve before they will naturally look to roost. Quarentine is a good idea, but that means full isolation from your others so that time is not counted as homing them as they have to be moved again to the coop. To prvent fights the hens sould be able to see yours, but have a fence between. So that means seperate coop and roosts anyway, it can be really hard intagrating flocks!

    Good luck with it, and bless you for giving these birds a home.
     
  5. Alexis

    Alexis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Woops, I forgot to mention that my little peeps are so young that they are still in the people house under a heat lamp! I just got them this week.

    My outside "flock" consists of one red hen that was left from a devastating bird of prey massacre during the last few months. This is why I decided not to quarantine. If I lose my flock - it will be pretty minimal. Basically, it will be less of a pain to me than quarantining 18 birds somewhere else on our property.

    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate all I can get. I'm already getting the typical, "What are you going to do with all those chickens?!!" remarks. *sigh*

    I'm gonna love em, what else??
     
  6. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Oh well then just protect that one hen till she is known to the others or she will get really pecked on. I can see why your not doing it that way, best to just get them to where they will be. 18 is not lots, tell everyone to relax! Heck some of us have hundreds so we make you look good.
     
  7. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Maybe you could introduce Ms. Redhead into the coop after everyone has gone to roost at night. Slip in and place her on the roost and maybe she will be 'part' of the flock in the am...Dixie
     
  8. Alexis

    Alexis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2008
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    Thanks Dixie! That was the part I was worried about the most, how to introduce her without it being really obvious. I think I'll try your advice.

    But what on earth is she going to think when she wakes up with 18 other "people" in her bedroom! [​IMG]
     
  9. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I don't know how she will feel, about all those new siblings! It might take her a day or two before she starts to think it's ok....just watch for any packed luggage [​IMG]--it's a sure sign she is running away from home..Good luck and post pictures..Dixie
     
  10. Alexis

    Alexis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Well here's how we ended up doing things... I forgot that I had to take my husband's opinion into account, and he didn't want to want to put the new chickens in the hen house, he wanted to put them directly into a kennel (large, dog kennel). Mind you, we didn't even have the yard fenced yet! So, when the chickens arrived (thankfully only half of them came this time) we put them in the kennel and our hen wandered around the outside of it for a couple hours. Once we finally let them all run together, they picked on her a bit, but she learned pretty quick to just get out of the way! She went to bed first (since she knew where "bed" was!) and had some time to herself at least. It wasn't too traumatic on any of us.

    The new chickens kept trying to go back and roost in the kennel. But since my brilliant husband (I love him!) didn't like my idea of putting them in the hen house when they arrived, he had to round them all up and shove them through the little door one by one. It was hilarious! They caught on after that - so I know they'll get it right the next time.

    We're now in the market for yet ANOTHER building for our chickens. *sigh* Their house is going to be bigger than ours someday!
     

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