Advice needed -dwindling flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MXchikas, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. MXchikas

    MXchikas Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2012
    Hi All,
    I am in need of a little advice. We got 5 chickens this fall, and one by one, we've lost them to predators (bobcat and hawk). We are down to one Rhode Island Red hen who is a little over a year old. I live in NH, and I worry that she's lonely, doesn't have body heat from other girls at night etc...

    So a friend that lives in the next town over has some chickens and roosters he wants to give us. They have about 6 hens and 5 roosters, and they are almost a year old.

    We've ordered 9 chicks to be mailed in the spring.

    My husband wants to bring 2 hens and a rooster over tonight to our house.

    What do you think of this plan? Is there anything I should be concerned about or haven't thought of?
  2. RoyalFlock

    RoyalFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 30, 2012
    Miami, Florida
    Make sure the new chickens don't have parasites such as mites and what not...
  3. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    I normally isolate. But in your case I would, but as RoyalFlock said, make sure they don't have mites, since it is a friend you should be fine. I would put them together at night though, so they wake up together. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    You will have to keep the chicks separated from the big girls for several months.

    Flocks are kind of funny, and do not tolerate strangers real well. I agree with the above posts about putting them in at night. I think that the new home will upset the new girls and boy, and the new birds will upset the old hen, so you might not have eggs for a bit.

    Have a few hideouts in your pen/ coop, and a couple of roosts in the run too. This gives space for the birds to get away from each other. It may be a little rough, but let them work it out, and in a couple of weeks, it will be fine.

    Unless your heart is set on the chicks, I think I might take more hens with one rooster, and cancel the order for chicks, til you get a bit more experience.

  5. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Welcome to the BYC [​IMG]

    Merging 2 Flocks Together
    There is NO specific way to introduce them to each other for sure. Ages have a lot to do with it also? Pecking order has a lot to do with it? Over crowding is a big consideration. Feeding is the most competitive situation there is and the food is all about pecking order and regarding who gets first dibs and bragging rights. If they are you stand a better chance at integration.

    Here is what I would do.
    #1 isolate (quarantine) the new birds to make sure of illnesses first for at least a week if not more. This allows you to get familiar with the new girls.

    #2 inspect them over the week or so to make sure there is no injuries already. Check the entire body for scraps scratches or any infection stuff.

    #3 Ask the old owner (If there is one) who is the first girl in the pecking order and next and so on so you knows who is the boss.

    #4 make time throughout the week or so to inspect each birds stool to see if its runny, bug infested, solid or if there is blood in any of the birds poop.

    #5 find out what are the new kids favorite foods so you can bribe them to you.

    #6 they need to know and understand where is there new home so they need to be not only
    locked in the new coop/run/brooder during the day all day while the regular hens are around.

    #7 build a chicken divider from the furthest place in the coop right up to the door of the coop and put the new on one side and the old on the other side but at night you need to carry the new girls to a temp sleeper so the old girls can go to their own coop/run/sleeper. You do not want them being disturbed daily cycle wise.

    #8 put coop food/water exactly opposite the other sides food/water so they see each other every day after the first week or so quarantine time while eating. Why, food is the most competitive time and the survival of the fittest comes into play and they will hurt and pull feathers and peck to the point of hurting and drawing blood maintain the pecking order that is in place.

    #9 week 3 after a max 2 week lock down in the temp side you will let them in the run together supervised and in the run as the referee between the 2 or 3 or even 4 top of the pecking order birds. You may just want to put the lower of the old group in the temp side of the coop supervised to see if they will be confrontational if not let them run around in the run but to bribe them and come back in the coop with bribes of favorite foods like mill worms or whatever if they will be good girls.

    #10 start letting them in the 3 week time or 4th week start interacting together without you and your have done your part and great job. Its not always easy but look for fights or disputes but your really done merging 2 flocks safely.

    Best of luck to you.

  6. MXchikas

    MXchikas Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2012
    Well here's the early morning update. We brought two hens and a rooster to our house and slipped them in the coop last night. Oh my- the rooster started crowing at 2 am. Oh boy.... So this morning when we let the birds out, our bird Ginger is picking on the girls. The rooster is dancing for her, and she's picking on him too! So, we're just going to let them work out the new pecking order. I agree with the above posts about chicks this summer. We need to put a lot more thought into that project. For now, I hope the girls transition well into their new home without injuries. I'll keep you posted on their progress.
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    He is dancing for her but unless he is dancing for the 1 highest of the pecking order the #1 will keep banging away and hurting everyone. She is upset there is a threat to her nice little setup. Now there is this rooster messing it all up. He has got to overcome her. Then the order will be restored. You need to definitely separate them and let them function as 2 separate flocks until they adjust to each other. #7 and #8 apply here big time
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Let them work it out if there is no SERIOUS damage. In this particular situation there is little reason to drag out the shuffling of the pecking order.
  9. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    Oh, boy, good luck! Sounds like it could have gone worse, though. :)

    SteveBaz, I'm not sure you caught that she had just 1 chicken before introducing the 3 new birds.
  10. darin367

    darin367 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    your roo might be seeing a light of some sort is why he crowed at 2..street light, porch light etc......... try to make sure he gets no light till the sun comes up... my roo will crow if a car pulls in my yard and the headlights hit the coop......

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by