Coop Upheaval

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SunAngel, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    I have found since starting my chicken adventure this past Spring, that nothing seems to work out exactly how I planned!

    I have definitely learned my lesson about stocking up on chicks right before Winter! They were fine as tiny chicks, but I didn't honestly know how much room 50 chicks would need as they got to be about 3 months old [​IMG] I got some locally, hatched some and ordered some. I wanted to be able to have an established flock of layers come springtime. I have since thinned them out as planned, but my 4 month old keepers were still getting too big for the juvie pen/coop and crowding the younger ones.

    I also got 2 new hens, one Bantam and 1 EE, that have been in isolation, that needed to join their flocks.

    Well today I made the decision to see how integration would go. We are due 2 days of decent weather, so I hoped to get the youngsters and newbies settled into the big girls coops before the rain started next week. So they could be able to run outside and make friends before being locked up during heavy rain. The juvie coop and pen runs right beside the big girls ones, so they have been able to see each other the whole time prior to mixing them.

    Just prior to the new additions going in, I swapped the pine shavings for straw in their nesting boxes, put some straw on the floor of the coop and threw out scratch grain and treats...they were too busy with all the new stuff, checking out the ice over the rain puddles in their run and eating to notice the newbies.

    My theory was that with the new girl and the juvies going into the coop, maybe the older girls wouldn't know exactly who to pick on. So far it seems to be working. There has been some following around, quick little pecks from the big girls, but overall, no real fighting (big sigh of relief). The bantam newbie seems to be holding her own in the bantam coop...bantams are a lot tougher I have noticed! I have gotten 2 eggs since this morning, so some must not be too mad at me!

    I am starting to think I need a whole separate bigger coop and run for juvies.

    Thanks for reading, just wanted to share my latest chicken adventure, or misadventure. Chicken raising isn't quite as easy as as I first imagined it would be...but way more rewarding than I ever thought possible!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  2. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Interesting post!

    I agree that adding as much upheaval to chickens' lives at once is the best way to introduce new members to the flock. Some BYCers go as far as to move the chickens around on the roosts in the middle of the night so that they wake up in different places other than the one the pecking order has dictated. Moving the location of the feed dishes from indoors to outdoors, or cleaning the coop and adding lots of new shavings or straw, are other ways to distract and confuse them -- it looks like you've caught on to these ideas yourself!

    I think you're getting the hang of raising chickens [​IMG], despite your confession that it isn't always easy (hint: some of us who have had chickens for ten years or longer still have a rough time or learn something new once in a while!). The fun of chickens is that there is always something new to learn how to do or some new breed to work with. It never gets old. [​IMG]
  3. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.

    I wondered if making the changes at the same time was an ok thing to do. I didn't want to overly stress them, but I couldn't stand the thought of my sweet juvies getting ganged up on, maybe out of boredom. My older girls seem to be pretty laid back though and I don't notice much of the pecking order thing.

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