Combining flocks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by EatonsatCantas, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. EatonsatCantas

    EatonsatCantas Out Of The Brooder

    We have 7 Gascon Black chickens....one mature cock (lomg story.....his mates died) and 6 offspring from him - 2 hens and 4 cocks which are all just 3 months old. Friends have to move and are giving us their 6 hens and 1 cock of mixed breeds but they are larger than our existing birds. Big questions arise. We will dispatch the extra cocks (lovely graphic photos of how to do it on this site - thanks) but do we keep our cock and try to introduce the 6 new hens to ours? Do we keep the new cock and dispatch ours and try to introduce our 2 hens to them? Keep one of the young cocks and alow him to find his way with the ladies? CONFUSION!!!!!!!! Also....we have a 2.5 X 3 meter coop one can stand up in with 4 nesting boxes. After the 30 day quarentine what is the best way to introduce the new birds to the old. Have read some of the forum threads about this but everyone seems to have a lot more coop space than we do. They are free range and leave in the morning to forage and go back in every night. Introduce the new ones at night? Just let them roam together and hope the new ones follow them in?

    Sorry for this long winded post but I really am confused.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Southwest France. I'm not familiar with that area but welcome to the forum. Glad to have you here.

    You present an interesting question. Let me give you a link that may give you some help. You may have seen it in here.

    Buff HooliganÂ’s Adding to your flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock

    I think I would keep the existing cock as long as you are happy with him. The new hens will be coming onto his turf so he should be able to dominate them without much of a problem. The danger with this is that the new mature hens may pick on the two young ones. This cock already accepts your young ones into his flock and may protect them. The young ones are too young for the mixed cock to be interested in so he is unlikely to protect them from the other hens. The immature cockerels would be in danger of being dominated and injured by the new hens.

    There are always risks in integrating flocks. I think this will give you the best chance of success, but I'm sure you area aware there are no guarantees.

    After the quarantine is finished, if you could house them in the coop for a few days behind wire so the others could see them, the integration would possibly go better. And they would associate the new coop with home, so they should go to bed there.

    Chickens have to establish a pecking order to get along. There will be some pecking and possibly fighting. Hopefully the cock will keep it from getting out of hand. I personally would just release them together to free range together so they can get away from each other if necessary but while I could observe, maybe the weekend.

    Good luck!
     
  3. EatonsatCantas

    EatonsatCantas Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks very much for the advice. We get the new ones tomorrow and will decide what to do with the new cock. My opinion is we should NOT take him and let the 6 new hens sit through their quarantine and then introduce them to the established flock and not chance a lot of fighting. My wife wants to wait and see but I wonder if it is unnecessarily stressful to the new hens to be with their established cock and then go through introduction and THEN lose their cock if things go bad. We'll see.....
     

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