Free Ranging Together?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by autumnw, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. autumnw

    autumnw Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 3, 2011
    I am in an urban setting and have had egg layers in the past. I have a storage shed converted to coop with a run but would let them free range in my yard and garden most of the time. I'm starting a new flock and decided to get some meat birds(red rangers from mcmurray) as well. My question is this: can I raise all of the chicks together until it's time to butcher the meat birds? They shouldn't be as lazy as cornish x so I thought they would appreciate an actual coop and they will be fully grown at about 10-12 weeks while my layers will still be smaller. I'm wondering if I will need to separate them in different brooders once the meat birds start growing too.
    Also, if I can keep them together this time since they will all be arriving together would it work in the future to add meat chicks to an established egg laying flock for the little while they will be here or would that totally make my laying girls mad? My laying flock will only be 7 birds if that makes a difference. Thank you for all of your advice!
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    I would say you can brood and range them together no problem if they've grown up together. In the future, once your layers are adults, just wait until the meaties are 8 weeks before attempting to introduce them to your girls. Some chickens do get stressed out and stop laying because of new flock members, so you might consider having two separate coops but still ranging them together, though I can't guarantee that they'll stay in the coops they're assigned to [​IMG]
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Raising the chicks together should not cause any problems. Many do the same routinely. Adding chicks of any sort to an established flock is generally difficult if not impossible. Big chickens pick on little chickens - chicken society is not pretty.
  4. autumnw

    autumnw Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 3, 2011
    Thank you both! I knew adding new chicks later would be tricky. We'll see how this time goes and if I want to try again I may make a separate area for them. Thanks again!
  5. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2012
    Agreed. Adding future meat birds to the continuing laying community would likely cause repeated (and possibly escalating) stress to the girls to the ongoing flock. Even though they would likely be at the top of the pack order it is still stressfull for them to have to do the "new dance" on a frequent basis.
  6. Jipus5

    Jipus5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2012
    Minden Louisiana
    With my mixed flock of mixed breeds and full range of brooding hens took them.....kept sitting on their own eggs but tucked them under their wing and actually raised them...all 12 of them! Then when her eggs hatched, a new hen had started getting broody but she is a bantam and i didnt want her to so I gave her the larger hens babies that had just hatched and let the larger hen continue to raise the older chicks i had bought that grew faster....Weird but true. Second year in a row for this....and thats buying them once in the spring then hatching some in my incubator each fall and passing them on to the next brooding hen......keeps them from brooding too long and ya know...that Bantam Sebright hen STILL has 9 grown Easter Eggers, 6 months old, following her short butt around?! Funny but she is Mama to them I guess. With the babies there and her still brooding...all my other hens LAID THEIR EGGS ON HER and she tucked those eggs as well under her. Weirdest thing i ever saw..... Without a broody hen around, my Roosters (one Easter Egger one Booted Bantam) did fine with new babies, but my hens killed off babies that made too much noise. Kinda like they got rid of the one problem maker. Depending on how many hens you have, separating one or two hens who are your best layers or brood more often may be fine with them, if you see a problem. Best of luck!

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