combining flocks, introducing a cockerel?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gladahmae, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've done the 'integration' thing already with my older pullets and they're all playing nicely now 2 months later, but in a few months I will need to do another integration to free up coop space for chicks and I'm wondering if there's a 'better' time to deal with this combination.

    I currently have 2 coops. One with laying pullets (25wks), one with chicks and cockerels (9-12wks). When should I move the younger pullets and cockerels in with the laying pullets?

    I have lots of extra details and reasonings behind why I need to combine, and when I'd like to have it done by, but I'll start with this basic question and fill in details as needed.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I think it will be easier for the chicks and roosters if you wait until they are closer in size to the pullets. I'd say wait until they are 4-5 months old.
     
  3. joesmania

    joesmania Out Of The Brooder

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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  4. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 2 runs share a side, so we're already doing the "look but don't touch" aspect of things......when the chicks will come outside that is. When I DO move them in together, it'll be in a huge wire dog crate inside the coop for a week or so.

    Your description is pretty close to how I'll do the actual combining, but I'm wondering if it's feasible or reasonable to think that I can combine them before my upcoming pullets get to POL. I'd consider moving my splash marans and my houdan just after Christmas (they'd be around 15wks then), but I'd rather not disrupt the pecking order twice since the cockerels and OTHER EE pullets would probably get moved over 3 or 4 weeks later.

    Seems like it would just be best if I waited until February? The cockerel(s) should be coming into maturity then and maybe won't take such a beating from the hens at that point?
     
  5. joesmania

    joesmania Out Of The Brooder

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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  6. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

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    Any chance you have a temporary movable fence? It works for me to do it this way, but i free range and my birds have a lot of room. i let out the young ones in the temp fence and than let out the coop. I feed on the fence line both sides. Feed is the issue. The chicks need to learn not to encroach on the older pullets territory and the pullets need to peck to remind them not to encroach. After a week..at night time, I place the new birds in the coop right along side the older birds. I have issues with chasing at feeding time, but, usually that is the only time I do. They have a pecking order and chickens will be chickens. This might not work for caged birds.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I would introduce the elder birds, individually spaced in time by 1 day. in with the younger. Make so elders placed into turf of younger birds. After a few days the elder birds already introduced with younger birds will suppress aggression by late coming elder birds. Then balance of elders can be introduced. After a couple days entire group can then be moved in pen previously used by elders if that suits needs.
     
  8. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

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    I like this idea
     
  9. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is what worked for me. I had one coop for my eleven 18-month old chickens. I had about the same space in the garden shed for my May chicks.

    When it came time to put them together, I moved all the big folks into the garden shed and put the babies into the coop. I also re-arranged the coop, changing roost heights, feed and water area, completely removing the litter and starting a new deep litter layer.

    The next morning I added one of my gentlest hens to the coop. I added another late the following afternoon. I continued to add a hen every other day or so - leaving my most aggressive hens for last - knowing I was upsetting the pecking order with each addition. As the old girls moved back in, they were a bit unsure of where they were and whether they belonged there. By the time I added the last two girls back into the flock, there were very little problems between the two flocks.

    They didn't travel in the same circles once they were let out to free-range, but they all roosted together just fine. That's what worked for me this year.

    Love, Smart Red
     
  10. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That may work, but we blocked the nest boxes in the smaller coop off for insulation purposes.....hmmmmm. This is definately something to think about doing.
     

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