How should I do this merger of chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobbieschicks, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I thought about integrating everyone before we went on vacation, but decided it best to wait until we returned. So now we're home and I'm ready to do this. Please help!

    I have five 10 week old White Leghorns (4 possible roos and 1 possible pullet) and three 6 week old chicks (an AC and 2 unknown mixes/possible olive eggers) - the six week old babies have been living in the coop with the WLs for 2 weeks now separated from them by hardware cloth in their own little area (supposed to be my storage area). Both sets of chicks have been allowed to run loose in the run together and the Leghorn roo has occassionally chased the babies - but for the most part they all coexist in the run without incident/pecking. The WLs get to freerange between 1-2 hours a day with supervision - but I haven't let the babies out of the run yet.

    I want to move everyone into the main coop area and get the babies out of the storage room b/c I will need that space for my next hatch that will happen within the next 21 days or so [​IMG]

    My question is - how do I do this? The WLs are roosting at night up high but the babies still like to pile in a corner. Should I let the WLs first go inside to their area and then put the babies into the corner of the coop? Should I keep them separated a few more weeks until the babies will want to roost too and then move them into the coop on the roost? Should I let them all sort it out themselves at night and wait and see who goes into the big coop and who gets left outside?

    thanks,
    Bobbie

    Here's the whole coop and run - the left side is the main coop and the right side has storage area that I'm using for the babies
    [​IMG]

    Here's the WLs roost - looking in from the main coop side
    [​IMG]

    Here's the view inside the babies side - you can see the WLs are curious to watch what I'm doing in there
    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the babies loose in the run - they stick together most of the time
    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the WLs - all po'd because one got out when I went in to take pictures
    [​IMG]
     
  2. sherrydeanne

    sherrydeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    If it helps, those WL's with the huge combs are definately boys. My two girls at 16 weeks don't have even 1/3 that much comb/wattle. What are you going to do with the extra boys?

    What time do the bigger ones go out to freerange? If they range in the evening and pretty much come home and roost, I would put the little ones in the big boys run while they're out, and see what happens when the big ones come home. They'll certainly be interested but they should go to sleep quickly. The little ones may follow them to the roosts if you're lucky. Then check on them in the morning. If they've met and haven't gone too crazy, it'll probably be fine.

    If you have an old box or something that you could cut a 6-week size hole in, it would be good for the youngins to have a place to escape to, if necessary.

    Nice coop [​IMG] Just my $.02 of course, I'm sure others will have ideas.
     
  3. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Thanks - I know at least 2 of those big comb ones are roos - because they've crowed at us [​IMG] We thought we might keep one rooster and then my DH has a friend from work who has 10 acres and needs some chickens to eat up the bugs in their yard. So we plan to let him have the rest of the roosters once they are "confirmed" to be roosters versus hens. I'm not sure when that will be though. Since crowing pretty much confirms their sex - haha! I suppose we should give them to him now - but we just don't have the heart to let go of them right now. We hatched them and it will be hard to say goodbye. I know we'll have to get rid of all but one of them once they come of age - we won't have enough chickens to satisfy 4 roosters!

    The WLs get to freerange here in a few minutes - they head into bed at dusk - and lately it's been around 7:45pm - the babies are still out. I'm thinking I'll just let them put themselves to bed tonight and watch where the babies go when it's time to go to bed. If they head into the coop I'll let them stay there - but I think they'll probably head back into their own side instead.
     
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    I left them all loose in the run tonight to see where they would head at dusk. The WLs went into the main coop side and right up on their roost. The babies went into their side of the coop and piled up in the corner. UGH! I'm thinking I'll let them stay with this set up for awhile - it's easy enough. The babies feel safe and have their own pad so the WLs aren't really bothering them/bothered by them. I won't need that side until the brooder stage is done with whatever I hatch out - so that's like 7 or 8 weeks away from now. By then I'll probably have to give the WL roos to our friend b/c they'll be going hormone crazy with so few chicks and I'll have major fights going on. I'll just keep watching to see where the babies go at night - maybe eventually they'll follow the WLs into the main side.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You'll have to manually relocate the birds where you want them to be. They are creature of habit. Let them pile now and they will likely pile as adults. Most learn to roost eventually, but you can show them where you want them to roost and most will adapt.
     
  6. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    I think you're right about manually moving them - otherwise the babies will probably keep chosing to return to their side of the coop. I do think they will eventually roost on their own. The Leghorns had no problems switching from piling in the corner to now sleeping on the roost - they did it themselves at 8 weeks while we were away on vacation. I tried to force them to do it at 4 weeks and they just kept moving back down to a pile. So I'm not so worried about that. I guess I just have to take a chance and move the babies over one night and see what happens. I think Ill give it another week of them all sharing the run and still having their own divided areas in the coop.
     
  7. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honestly, I think you are doing it about as well as it can be done. I do think they will eventually decide to roost with the big boys, but if they don't, and you need their space, you can just put them in the main coop one evening and be there in the morning to make sure wake up time goes ok. Squabbling is fine and normal...blood-letting is not. [​IMG] After a few evenings of going in (or being placed in [​IMG] ) the big boy section, they will probably start getting the idea.
    My babies take a day or two once I let them out of the brooder to figure out where to go. I usually find them piled up in a corner of their run the first evening or so. Then they start following everyone else.

    I personally think you have a great set-up and plan - you'll probably have a very easy integration process as a result. Nice job! [​IMG]
     
  8. AngelaClassAct

    AngelaClassAct Out Of The Brooder

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    If they are all able to be in the run/coop together without being separated they will eventually figure it out. The young ones will pile for awhile until they are brave enough to challenge the ones that roost. We got older pullets and they roosted naturally, the young ones took forever to learn to roost, but eventually they did and they earned their spot at night. You may need to go in and teach them to roost by placing them where there is space, but eventually they will figure it out.
     
  9. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    I let everyone into the run together again today. I've checked on them several times. The last time I saw two of the babies go into the main coop and eat/drink the leghorns food & water. They were happily enjoying a meal when two of the Leghorns headed in and ran them out. LOL! I think I'll leave them separated for awhile and see who goes where over the course of the next week or two. By the 2nd week in October the babies will be 8 weeks old and I think they will be more likely to sleep on the roost at that time. I'll move them over to the main coop and stop letting them have the storage area and hopefully everyone will merge together with minimum fighting. I'd like them all merged before the Leghorns hit 13 weeks so that they will all be comfortable with each other long before the WLs start to lay. I'm guessing the WL will start laying around 19 weeks. Of course, only one will be laying - as the other 4 are ROOSTERS!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011

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