advise on combining two small flocks together

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mtngrl812, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. mtngrl812

    mtngrl812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have one flock of 3 pullets and one roo that are about 4 1/2 months old and a flock of 6 pullets that are about 2 1/2 months old. The small flock free ranges during the days and the larger flock and a large run. The run is in the area the small flock goes in so these guys all see each other everyday and have been for about 2 months. All are standard size birds, no bantams and no giants.
    What I need to know is;

    how close in size do they need to be before I introduce them?
    will the roo be too aggressive? or should I just give it time to work out?
    what is the easiest way to introduce them?

    any tips, suggestions, ideas??? I would like them all roosting together by winter, by the time it freeze at night, to help keep each other warm and so I don't have to go buy more heated water bowls, etc... Each little flock is very happy and content as they are, but I think they could be just as happy all together.
     
  2. elite8

    elite8 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've combined a couple times and never had problems. I let the younger flock catch up in size so they could protect themselves. Then I put the younger ones in with the older flock at night. When they wake up it's not as much of a surprise. Good luck...
     
  3. kano

    kano Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:For my experience, the older the worst. Now the older ones are going to be the dominants, without to much figth. Some roos are less agresive than the pullets. (??) And ,food time is the best time to put them together. After the food frenzy, the things are not going to be smooth, but if they have room, no problem. Do it in the afternoon, before bedtime.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  4. emrys

    emrys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What I've done that has worked well is, after the youngster get almost grown (14 to 16 weeks) I let the two groups free range at the same time. They have seen one another before as one group would be out at a time and would walk near the pen of the other group. There is plenty of room for the young one to run like H.... if they needed to. Over a period of several days or maybe a week the older hens would get over chasing the youngsters and the rooster would begin to breed the pullets as he thought they were ready. When the youngsters started following the older ones into the main pen it would be time to shut the gate to the pen and let them follow the old folks into the hen house. Stragglers could be caught and placed in the hen house. Usually by the second night the newbies had things figured out. In your case wait till the little ones get close enough in size you think they could out run the older ones if they had to.
     
  5. mtngrl812

    mtngrl812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The younger pullets are quite agile and quick, so I think they can out run the bigger pullets. The older hens are 2 SLW and one EE. The younger pullets are 2 Welsummers, 1 EE, 1 sex-link, and 2 RIR. Ricky is only beginning to crow, but prances and runs around tending his hens. He is a gangly long legged guy. The SLW are kinda large, so they aren't very quick.
    I think tomorrow I shall let them all free graze together and see how it goes. [​IMG]
     
  6. juliawitt

    juliawitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are lots of posts about integrating your flock. Keep them seperate for a few days, but give them the ability to see each other. Seeing but no touching allows familiarity without anyone getting pecked. When I first allow them together, I sit out and watch. I have a fruit tree sprayer filled with water. Some pecking will happen because they have to establish the pecking order, but aggressive chickens get a squirt with the sprayer. If any hen is super aggressive, she gets a timeout in the segregation area. This will reset the pecking order.I leave them together for short time spans, with me watching over them for 3-4 days. Then, if all seems well, I consider them integrated.

    [​IMG]Me and my squirter, watching for aggression.
     
  7. mtngrl812

    mtngrl812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    so far so good... I let everyone free graze in the front yard and each flock just kinda looked at the other. At one time the older gals came over to see what the young girls were doing. The young sex-link decided she would stand up to the older SLW. It was kinda funny watching that little sex-link fluff up her chest at that big ol' Wyandotte.That didn't work so well, so she ran off to her young flock mates to pout. That was the only feather fluffing. Ricky the roo, did the wing dragging thing at one of the young ones, but that was all it took. They inter-mingled some and swapped sides of the front yard.

    I always try to introduce new animals when it is hotter outside. That way, most often, it is too warm to do much fussing. Horses aren't as spry as in the morning, dogs are quieter....

    I left them out together for a few hours during the day while I sat in the middle of the yard and "de-thatched" the grass, then again in the evening.

    My younger birds are not the least bit worried about where I am, in fact they come check on me frequently. The older gals are more leery of me and try to stay out of arms reach. So any quick movement from me would put a stop to most aggressive behavior if it got out of hand. I don't plan on getting involved unless someone gets ganged up on or I see blood or dragging limbs. I think they should be fine. They are pretty close to the same age, but weeks apart make for a lot of size different at this age.

    I shall do it again this eve and again tomorrow morning.

    Thanks fellow BYCers for the help.
    Have a good weekend
     

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