how long can chickens be separated without forgetting each other

Rehoboth

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2021
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I have 13 9 week old pullets. So far they were brooded and raised in one coop. They are getting big enough that some of them need to be moved to our second coop. Our original plan was to position both (theoretically mobile, in practice extremely difficult to move) coops close to each other and have a unified run. But now we are thinking of how to put the chickens to work clearing land that we want for a new garden in the spring. If we split them into two groups, and have them in two separate areas, far enough apart that they may only see glimpses of each other and only hear if someone is making a lot of noise, at what point will they forget their pecking order and become difficult to re-integrate if we later, for simplicity or other uses, want to put the coops close together again?
 

TheOddOneOut

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I have 13 9 week old pullets. So far they were brooded and raised in one coop. They are getting big enough that some of them need to be moved to our second coop. Our original plan was to position both (theoretically mobile, in practice extremely difficult to move) coops close to each other and have a unified run. But now we are thinking of how to put the chickens to work clearing land that we want for a new garden in the spring. If we split them into two groups, and have them in two separate areas, far enough apart that they may only see glimpses of each other and only hear if someone is making a lot of noise, at what point will they forget their pecking order and become difficult to re-integrate if we later, for simplicity or other uses, want to put the coops close together again?
Why would you have them separated? What is the purpose of that?
 

Rehoboth

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2021
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Why would you have them separated? What is the purpose of that?
We have multiple garden areas we would like to let them play/work in for the next few months, and our land is hilly and broken up with lots of trees and shrubs. It's difficult to find a flat space large enough to park both coops on. And it's hard to move the coops. Wherever we set the coops up at the beginning of the winter is where they're going to stay until spring.
 

TheOddOneOut

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We have multiple garden areas we would like to let them play/work in for the next few months, and our land is hilly and broken up with lots of trees and shrubs. It's difficult to find a flat space large enough to park both coops on. And it's hard to move the coops. Wherever we set the coops up at the beginning of the winter is where they're going to stay until spring.
But why two coops? Why not just one, so all the birds can be together?
 

aart

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But why two coops?
Because.....
We have multiple garden areas we would like to let them play/work in for the next few months



I have 13 9 week old pullets. So far they were brooded and raised in one coop. They are getting big enough that some of them need to be moved to our second coop. Our original plan was to position both (theoretically mobile, in practice extremely difficult to move) coops close to each other and have a unified run. But now we are thinking of how to put the chickens to work clearing land that we want for a new garden in the spring. If we split them into two groups, and have them in two separate areas, far enough apart that they may only see glimpses of each other and only hear if someone is making a lot of noise, at what point will they forget their pecking order and become difficult to re-integrate if we later, for simplicity or other uses, want to put the coops close together again?
Sounds like they would/could be kept separate no matter where the two enclosures are.
You might have to split the unified run at first.
I won't give a hard number, but it doesn't take long for birds to become territorial about space and resources(feed/water).

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
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1637668817829.png
 

TheOddOneOut

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Because.....





Sounds like they would/could be kept separate no matter where the two enclosures are.
You might have to split the unified run at first.
I won't give a hard number, but it doesn't take long for birds to become territorial about space and resources(feed/water).

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2906905
I see.
 

Lunah452

Chirping
Apr 26, 2020
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I have 13 9 week old pullets. So far they were brooded and raised in one coop. They are getting big enough that some of them need to be moved to our second coop. Our original plan was to position both (theoretically mobile, in practice extremely difficult to move) coops close to each other and have a unified run. But now we are thinking of how to put the chickens to work clearing land that we want for a new garden in the spring. If we split them into two groups, and have them in two separate areas, far enough apart that they may only see glimpses of each other and only hear if someone is making a lot of noise, at what point will they forget their pecking order and become difficult to re-integrate if we later, for simplicity or other uses, want to put the coops close together again?
As far as how long a until they decide someone is new and needs attacked, seems to depend on the group or individual chicken. I've had broody hens separated for 2 weeks, go right back into their main flock with no problem. I had a hen separated for a week from her flock and poor gal lost most of the feathers on her head because I made the mistake of assuming they were still good after watching them for a few minutes.

I don't know if it's practical for your set up but this system has been working well for me. I have several different groups of hens and needed to find a way to integrate when I need to make changes, without someone getting pecked to death.

When I introduce them I put some sort of barrier between them and put food pans directly across from each other. I'll line up several pans in a row or as many as I need to make sure everyone has enough room to eat. I find the constant proximity, and them having to eyeball each other, speeds up and makes for a much smoother introduction process. I have let them free range together but find they mostly avoid each other and stay in their own respective flocks, it took most of the summer to integrate some younger hens into my main flock that way.

I have one coop that has several areas that can be easily partitioned off for this, then taken down when not needed. I use tenax mesh for most of it, so much easier to work with.

I've also found after a week or two of that, if I put them together and no one seems particularly vicious, I'll take all of them and put them together in a pen or place that's new to them. I also make sure there are multiple feeders and waterers until things smooth out.

I've yet to have anyone get pecked bloody with this, there's always some chasing and bullying for a few weeks but nothing too extreme.

Hope this helps
 
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Rehoboth

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2021
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Thank you for the detailed description of integrating flocks, that's very useful. We do intend to continuously add to (and subtract from) the flock, so we will need to figure out how to do this anyway.
 
Sep 13, 2021
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I had a broody hen that I would not let hatch eggs in the main coop for two months. The other chickens could hear her and she came down for food and water. Them the other chickems went to the fair, she broke herseld of broodiness and they bullied her. During the day I let her stay in a wire dog kennel next to the coop. At night I put her onto the roost bar next to my rooster who protected her from the other hens. It probably took me 3-4 weeks to get her back in.
 

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