Chickens changing coops on their own

Sme2014

Chirping
Jan 24, 2021
39
62
86
Upstate NY, USA
Ok, I started raising chickens and rabbits this year. I have 2 free ranging egg laying flocks. One flock is Black Australorp with 8 hens and 1 rooster. The other flock is 3 heritages breeds with a couple of Marans of 13 hens and 2 roosters. They seemed to keep to themselves and got along fine.
A few weeks ago at lock up time I noticed a black Australorp hen in the coop with the Heritage chickens. There is more space in there and they didn't seem to mind, so I left her in there. She lays eggs in there and would hang out with both flocks and I noticed the flocks closer together during the day. There wasn't any fighting or anything, so I let them be. Last night at lock up time, I find a Marans in a nesting box in the Australorp coop. This morning she was still there and when I came home after my bus run she was with the Australorp flock.
Is it normal and ok for hens to change coops on their own? The roosters jump on whoever they can. I plan on separating by breeds in spring for chicks to not be mutts. Any advice or just let them be?
Thank you I'm advance for any replies.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
15,936
32,207
861
South-Eastern Montana
I would personally separate during the winter so that they have that non laying, non breeding time to clear out unwanted DNA.

And yes, if there is a problem (bullying, lack of room), I've had birds switch on me. Be glad at least they're still going in a coop. I have a bantams I've been trying for months to learn where to sleep and she has yet to learn for more than a single night
 

Sme2014

Chirping
Jan 24, 2021
39
62
86
Upstate NY, USA
I would personally separate during the winter so that they have that non laying, non breeding time to clear out unwanted DNA.

And yes, if there is a problem (bullying, lack of room), I've had birds switch on me. Be glad at least they're still going in a coop. I have a bantams I've been trying for months to learn where to sleep and she has yet to learn for more than a single night
The Australorp was bottom of pecking order, but I don't think the Marans was. Australorps are docile, but more aggressive than my Heritage breeds. It's like they are playing musical flocks.
I don't have the room to separate out roosters and they free range. I have hawks, and I've seen them give alarm for safety, so they do their job well.

Good luck on teaching bantam where to sleep. I've heard of people shutting chicken in coop for 3 days with food and water or keep in cage in coop.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
15,936
32,207
861
South-Eastern Montana
The Australorp was bottom of pecking order, but I don't think the Marans was. Australorps are docile, but more aggressive than my Heritage breeds. It's like they are playing musical flocks.
I don't have the room to separate out roosters and they free range. I have hawks, and I've seen them give alarm for safety, so they do their job well.

Good luck on teaching bantam where to sleep. I've heard of people shutting chicken in coop for 3 days with food and water or keep in cage in coop.
Did that when I was away and had someone taking care of everyone. Almost 5 nights straight (4 being forced, the 5th being her willong), and then she stopped on the 6th.
 

Sme2014

Chirping
Jan 24, 2021
39
62
86
Upstate NY, USA
I had a coop full of hens and one with a rooster that hen moved out and into the hen coop so no males would try and mate her
Well, I had 6 Australorp roosters and I had one Red hen. She would fight them all off until I got the flock down to one rooster. It was funny watching fight of the rooster. Then the rooster would look around like he was making sure no one saw him fail to jump on her. It was very entertaining. LOL
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,037
22,669
907
Southeast Louisiana
Is it normal for hens to change coops on their own?
Yes, if they have the option they sometimes do that.

Is it ok for hens to change coops on their own?
OK to whom? OK to the chicken? Yeah, they don't mind or they wouldn't do it. OK to you? Well, that's your decision. What are your concerns? Why do you think it might not be OK?

I plan on separating by breeds in spring for chicks to not be mutts............
I don't have the room to separate out roosters and they free range.
Then you may have issues. You need to keep a hen away from any rooster you don't want for about a month to make sure he is not the father of the chicks. The hen can sometimes store the sperm that long. Just because they hang out in separate flocks doesn't mean a hen is that loyal to the rooster or that a rooster won't take advantage of any opportunities he finds.

To be as plain as I can be, if they free range you cannot be sure shot he father of any chick really is.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,507
26,856
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
You need to keep a hen away from any rooster you don't want for about a month to make sure he is not the father of the chicks. The hen can sometimes store the sperm that long.

And I have 4 black pullets to prove it.

The owner of the parents separated her chickens by breed for 3 weeks before collecting eggs for the incubator, but with the combination of breeds the only way that black chicks could happen was if the Lavender Orpington had mated with the Silver-Laced Wyandotte hens.
 

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