Another newbie that needs advice about combining flocks!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by youngjedi32002, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. youngjedi32002

    youngjedi32002 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2011
    East Coast
    I have read a lot here and there is some very good advice about combining flocks but I have a specific situation so I figured I would throw my story up here and see what you all have to say! You can never get too much advice, at least that's how I feel!

    I have 4 wonderful hens that are 6 months old and laying very well and very regular! They were my introduction to keeping backyard chickens and everything has been going perfectly! After I got my hens, my young son decided he wanted some to care for too and we ended up (through several failed hatching attempts, finally resulting in 1 egg hatching out of 15 eggs, and 2 purchased chicks) with 3 more chicks that are almost 4 months old now. The 4 older hens have a smaller coop that is not going to make it through the winter and they have a giant fantastic run. The 3 younger girls have a large playhouse coop that is being built up and primed for winter but it has a tiny run on it. Now, I want my girls to be warm this winter and I know the best way to do that is to put them together. The playhouse coop is going to have a thick cement floor on the ground and the double plastic insulated walls. The playhouse coop has lots of room, plenty of perch space, plus a little nest up in the corner. The nesting box from the other coop will be attached to the double window wall of the playhouse so nesting won't take extra space. (I was over-the-moon excited that the nesting box I had will fit perfectly over those windows, providing two openings and more privacy than it does now! Right now, none of my girls even use it!) The playhouse coop will provide enough space for all my chickens and their food and water through the winter. I wasn't sure what the heck I was going to do with the big hens in the small coop. Now that it is falling apart though, that isn't an issue.

    My question is this: what is the best way for doing this? The big run is very large. The little girls will be "invading" the big girls territory but the big girls will eventually be moving into the coop that "belongs" to the little ones. Will this even anything out? In my way of thinking, I have two options. I can see how they get along by putting the little girls in the big run a little at a time until moving day. Or I can just break down the old coop and move in the new one all in one afternoon, putting all the chickens to bed together at night. I've read comments that support each method. Just wondering what folks would say about my particular story.

    It will get done, one way or the other. The big coop is the perfect size and good for the weather. 7 hens will fit very comfortably in there, with enough wing room but cozy enough for warmth. Just hope to keep them from killing each other first.

    Oh, and I need to mention, one of my little ones, the only one we got from all those hatching attempts, has a deformed leg. She sort of hops along but she is very healthy and happy and the other two are her best buddies. They still all sleep together on the ground in a heap like little chicks. It is very cute! The others might be hard on her. That worries me greatly because she is really sweet!
     
  2. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My no fail (and I've added 3 different flocks to my original flock) method is a wire cage (mine is open on the bottom with a lid on top). I put the chicks in it with their water/food inside the hen house and let them all observe each other for about a week. They instantly form a pecking order but it's never been a violent one (well, any more violent than the top dog will get), no deaths and everyone ends up happy.
     
  3. youngjedi32002

    youngjedi32002 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2011
    East Coast
    Quote:Inside the hen house or inside the run? My coop in freestanding inside a very large dog run. I have a circular wire "playpen" that I could put the little ones in inside the big run and they could observe each other for a bit. But, when it comes right down to it, the coop-switch will have to be done in one day. I would feel badly putting the little girls in a cage in what has always been "their" coop!
     
  4. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Dayton Indiana
    The coop itself. It's only a week is how I look at it; better "cooped" up than immediately pecked.
     

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