How long before allowing free range, and neighbor has free ranging flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CanbyDan, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. CanbyDan

    CanbyDan Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, we're ready for our first flock!

    We have all our basic supplies, coop done, read & talked to many about everything we think of and have been scanning our local craigslist for pullets. Couple more questions now the birds are in sight. Our close neighbor has free ranging bantys, that includes our yard and garden (one of the reasons we want our own is they're so much fun to watch!). What problems might we have with his flock, the birds seem healthy and no visible sickness. Will our flock want to move into his coop or vice versa, will our coop start with half a dozen birds and end up with 50 trying to move in because they like our feed or housing better? After we have our birds, how long should we wait until we let them free range? Want to be sure they know what house is theirs as I'm sure they will certainty explore his yard and garden too.

    We are going for eggs, not meat production and pets to keep us company while working our little truck garden we have in the country. Easter eggers are high on our list as well as BO and Australorps and Marans for the chocolate brown eggs. EFU zoning, so we can have all the cranky roosters we want ;-) but going to start with just one to keep the girls in line, probably an EE.

    Looking forward to all the tips and advice you can offer,
    Dan & Vicki
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    First, You are getting standards and neighbor has banties. Easy to tell who belongs where. Will you have mingling???? most likely if they are free range and unrestricted. Chicks are sociable. Are there problems with that??? certainly are like disease, but don't look at it as the end of the world. As to roosters.... well, you know what happens when they look each other eye to eye. It is a 50 50 chance. They may get along or not. As to having chicks moving into your facilities. Well if they feel welcome they may. Most chicks know where home is and return there for the evening. Some, as followers may follow friend for a sleepover. Lol WISHING YOU THE BEST WITH YOUR FLOCK.
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  3. EllieS

    EllieS Out Of The Brooder

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    When we first got our hens (3 ISA browns), we had them locked in the coop for two or three days. Then we let them out. Initially we didnt even have a run for them, our garden/field is surrounded by a fence so we just left them to it. They knew where home was and were tame enough to let us put them back in there if they didnt go in before dark.
    But then along came the fox, so now they have a run and are let out when we can supervise.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Since you have another flock roaming where they are bound to interact, I’d keep them locked up at least a week so they do know where home is. You are dealing with living animals so there is no telling what they will actually do, but I’d think a week will give you a pretty good shot at them returning to their home at dusk. That will also give your chicken more time to form a flock instead of just a bunch of chickens.

    Chickens are social animals and will interact to a certain degree. They may forage together during the day and return to their own homes at night, they may form two separate flocks that hardly ever interact, they may resplit themselves into rearranged flocks. Some may or may not go home with buddies. Yours may learn where to lay eggs from the other flock. Not good for you. There are a lot of things that could happen. Maybe keep them locked up two weeks to reinforce that they are a flock.

    With roosters they will decide which one is dominant. Don’t assume the larger rooster automatically wins. They don’t always, even between bantams and full sized fowl. Maturity makes a lot of difference too. Sometimes they decide which is dominant and you never notice. Sometimes it is a fight to the death. Normally it is some fighting but one soon decides it is better to run away than to continue fighting. There may be rematches or some chasing involved with the running away, but they often reach an accommodation.

    What that accommodation looks like should be interesting. They may mingle without a lot of problems, at least some part of the day. What is likely to happen is that each rooster establishes a territory for his harem and will defend his territory and hens, but doesn’t often invade the territory of the neighboring rooster. It’s always interesting to see how the flock dynamics develop. Each flock is unique, even if you think the conditions are pretty much the same.

    You can try to quarantine your chickens to help protect the neighbor’s flock. But there is nothing you can do to protect yours from his. Chickens can develop flock immunities. They may be carriers of something but have developed an immunity to it. No matter how long you quarantine them they won’t show any symptoms. The traditional quarantine is good to protect your flock against anything they have recently come into contact with, like chickens forma chicken swap, but if it is a closed flock, quarantine is not likely to do you any good.

    It is possible any flock can have a flock immunity. That could be the neighbor’s existing flock or your new one. They are going to mingle and share anything either flock has. It might be a good idea to treat or at least inspect your new flock for mites, lice, or worms, I’d recommend that, but in the long run what one flock has the other soon will. Odds are it won’t be that serious but flocks have been wiped out with stuff like that.

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You've said one thing that's sending up a little yellow flag for me. That's Craig's List. Have you ever had chickens before? If not, do you know anyone who has, and would be willing to go with you to assess any chickens before you commit to bringing them home? Perhaps your neighbor with the bantams. The reason I suggest this, is that there are a lot of folks out there who will sell birds which are nothing but trouble. They may be hens that are "spent" (essentially done laying) or sick, or loaded with parasites. They may be the "problem children" of the flock. (either too aggressive, or too passive to be able to fit into flock dynamics). Or, you may be presented with some young pullets which are in actuality young roosters. I'm not saying that everybody is out to take advantage of the newbie... but, if you know what you're looking at, you won't end up getting scammed. My advice is: go to LOOK at the birds being offered. If you like the looks of the way they are being housed, then, stick around to see the birds. Before going any further, spend a few minutes looking at the birds to see how well they interact in the flock. Then, if you like what you see, it's time to examine the birds. Never accept a bird if the seller isn't willing to let you look it over. There are some excellent threads on how to examine a bird. Check out the learning center, or do a thread search in the blue bar at the top of the page. And finally: Don't mix and match. Get all of your birds from one location. At any time during your shopping venture, if something doesn't feel right... walk away. Don't be in such a rush to fill your coop that you accept a bird or birds that you're not 100% sure of.
     
  6. CanbyDan

    CanbyDan Out Of The Brooder

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    We dropped the hammer and brought home 4 hens and 1 cock. It's late for me to go into all the details now, will share pics and as Paul Harvey would say, "The rest of the story" tomorrow.

    Dan
     
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  7. CanbyDan

    CanbyDan Out Of The Brooder

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    We ended up buying five birds from a close neighbor. They have a small family farm with a couple goats, horses and a Brahma calf to go with the 30-40 head of chickens and ducks. Mixed breeds, all are about a year old. Had to promise their young lady that we're not taking them to slaughter, told her she is more then welcome to come visit anytime, they live only 1000 feet away. Was nice to meet some of our neighbors that shares our same interests, they also are willing to help us with any problems we may have. Super nice family!


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    Rooster came to us named "Connie", guess he was named a little early :) Not going to change it, makes for interesting conversation. Nothing wrong with his tail feathers, little breezy (warm) when I took the pic.



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    Little skiddish but that was expected, brought them home after dark. We'll get some better pics in the days to come, would like your thoughts of their breed traits.

    Dan & Vicki
     
  8. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Great to have chicken help 1000 feet away. I see 2 EE and 1 RR. Not sure of roo. and other hen. Cant see that well. Visit your neighbor often with questions. They most likely have chicken raising down pact. They are also in your area for weather related questions as well .
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  9. CanbyDan

    CanbyDan Out Of The Brooder

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    Cave Man,

    Funny thing is, I found the neighbors ad on Craigslist while searching for pullets! Neighbors are very nice here, in our neighborhood all the lots are a minimum 2/3 acre and zoned EFU (exclusive farm use) so many of us have some sort of big garden and or livestock. Thanks for the ID help, I did want EE for blue tinted eggs.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Rooster looks at least part gamecock which should not be a problem. How big is your coop?
     

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