MaryJanet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Dec 24, 2018
3,493
27,349
817
Adelaide, South Australia
My Coop
My Coop
Roosting Together

Everyone roosted in the little coop tonight again, Syndey and Phyllis on the roost, Sansa in a nest. Sydney has Phyllis buried in her feathers tonight. I had to work to find poor Phyllis' head poking up. Smuggled up close.

Before roosting together, Phyllis had to check out these outside roost. It was very spring-like today and an outside roost would not have been a bad choice.

She's such a thinker!
 

mixedUPturk

Loves Hatching
May 28, 2015
4,720
17,065
922
South LA
@mixedUPturk I've never had any of those, nor personally know anyone that has any. How are their personalities?
Theyre amazing! I dont much handle my birds but the BLRW will still all eat from my hand and the hens dont even peck when broody, just grumble and growl. That roosters been an excellent fellow, never showing the first inkling of aggression, even with my small Loud Wild children. I allow them to free range while the children play and the birds dont even attempt to approach them.
 

MaryJanet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Dec 24, 2018
3,493
27,349
817
Adelaide, South Australia
My Coop
My Coop
Integration Strategy

As @Ribh prepares to integrate her flock, I have started laying out my strategy as well. I thought I would share my "plan" as its stands right now. I am a pretty conservative integrator preferring to use space to my advantage as much as I can.

Considerations Before I Start
  • Reliable Roosting: I need to know that the littles are going to roost in their house at night to start with. I need a good 7 days of the same thing happens every night.
  • Limited Wife Involvement: I need to know that I am not counting on her for more than closing the door at night and feeding/watering. Anything more can and has gone horribly wrong.
  • Big Coop is Ready: Before I close off the old prefab all adjustments in the Big Coop have to be done and the originals given a week to adjust to them.
  • The Weather: This must always be a consideration. Any blizzards or bitter cold on the way?
So for now we have gotten 2 nights of good roosting. Assuming they complete the week, I can look to start everything this weekend. That is also when my personal mark of the 2 week partial Quarantine comes to an end. So what will I do starting this weekend?

Phase 1
In this phase I allow the flocks to free range together. I will let the big girls out as usual and then with about 2 hours of daylight left, I will let the newbies out with them. I will open the big run up fully so there are no dead ends. The big benefit of this is all the space it gives them to get away. The first thing that happens is the big ones go into the big run because it is theirs and they want it back. They will eat the littles food, explore their house, etc. The good news is that the littles will be busily exploring the yard at the same time.

I will place a lantern in the prefab coop so that the littles can find it at dusk as they can get lost out in the yard sometimes. I do not want any roosting elsewhere.

While this is going on I plan to make changes to the roost situation in the big coop. This will allow burn in time with the older hens on any changes I make in the big coop.

Phase 2
Phase 1 will continue at least a week with me letting the littles out earlier and earlier each day so that more yard time is shared. Based upon how they flocks interact, I will look to time out phase 2 which is placement into the Big Coop.

I will stress test the free ranging with treats to see how they interact when brought together.

There is no definitive time frame to move to this next step. Their behavior will tell me when they are ready.

Once they are combining without a lot of pecking while free ranging, I will start to move the littles at night from roosts in the prefab to roosts in the Big Coop. I will do this for a few nights and then I will close off the prefab. I must be home at this point. This becomes the hardest and saddest part of the integration.

The littles will stand at the door to the prefab at night the first few nights and cry to be let in. I will place a lantern in the Big Coop to draw them to where they are supposed to be roosting. Sometimes hearding is required. What is definately required is that I be a flock defender during this time period and be absolutely certain that they get safely roosted within the coop each night. This can take several days.

Phrase 3
Here I remove the prefab from the Big Run and lock them into the complex together with no free ranging. Now I can see if I need to make any adjustments inside the runs or coop beyond what I have already done. Most of this is done by camera so I get true observations of their behavior. It also really brings the flock together and enforces one place to sleep together.

This could all take as long as a month. Fortunately I have no need to rush the process and of course I am praying that the weather holds the whole time. There are no guarantees of that this time of year. All I need is one snow storm to take my free range away from me and this gets a lot more complicated. :fl
Bob, I'm wondering whether the prefab can be removed on the day you decide close it off. What do you think?

I'm suggesting this because I observed Peggy and Ivy taking to the henhouse roosts of their own accord on the same day we relocated the little coop. This was after three nights of me relocating them into the henhouse to establish a roosting habit.

With the little coop "gone" Peggy and Ivy assumed the right place to be was in the henhouse.
 

Aussie-Chookmum

Free Ranging
Apr 20, 2019
1,574
11,786
622
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Roosting Together

Everyone roosted in the little coop tonight again, Syndey and Phyllis on the roost, Sansa in a nest. Sydney has Phyllis buried in her feathers tonight. I had to work to find poor Phyllis' head poking up. Smuggled up close.

Before roosting together, Phyllis had to check out these outside roost. It was very spring-like today and an outside roost would not have been a bad choice.

She is certainly getting her money’s worth out of that perch. She reminds me of a bird of paradise
 
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