How to introduce flocks

Chloesmama

Songster
7 Years
Mar 30, 2014
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I have a flock of 6 hens that I have had for many years. All seem pretty good with one another. About 5 months ago I inherited a flock of 6 hens and a rooster. I had the two flocks separated in two areas. I got rid of the rooster about 3 weeks ago for attacking my 4 year old and now the hens are still separate but share one length of fence. I have 6 week old ducks that have been hanging out with my inherited chickens and are doing fine... For safety reasons I had to house the ducks overnight in a dog crate in my hens coop and there seemed to be a bit of tension, today I was able to move them to a small coop for overnight safety. There has been some fighting through the shared fence and today my usually very docile 6 year old hen jumped on and pulled her coop mates feathers. I know there is a lot going on for these poor hens, but I was hoping to introduce the two flocks soon, although we need to build a larger house for them to all fit in and that will likely be at least a month.
My question-
Do I keep them separate until the house is complete and introduce them at night?
Should I try it now?

A little more about my space-
I have a very secure coop and run with my 6 hens in it and a small, secure night area for the ducks (just finished it and moved them in today). I have the 6 inherited hens in a small, mostly secure chicken tractor at night and a fenced orchard area during the day with the ducks. I was going to cut a hole in the fence so my hens could go into the orchard and have more space. This would still mean each of the groups would need to go into the separate sleeping areas.
I have introduced chickens in the past but I never had a full flock to add. There is definitely tension between the flocks and some of my hens have been more aggressive towards me the last few days (since the ducks were moved in there at night.)
that was a lot to read and I hope it makes sense. I just want the smoothest transition for all the animals.

thanks

Edited to add that the ultimate goal would be to have the hens and ducks all in the one secure coop and house at night and have access to the orchard during the day.
The secure run is about 20 by 20 and the orchard is about 50* 50.
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
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64,614
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Melrose Park Illinois
I don't see combining the 2 flocks of chickens that big of a problem. I do however know little about ducks. Your ducks are small/young now, but I have read of peeps keeping ducks with chickens, and,,,, the ducks were very aggressive towards the chickens. (not sure of the breed of those ducks BTW) I do not have ducks, based on that and some other circumstances also.
If you want to see how your chickens react to each other, let the whole group of chickens mingle in the larger orchard area. Keep the ducks somewhere else as you are doing this, and observing. If your chickens combine into one happy flock,,, then try to see how they will associate with the ducks.
Build/expand your coop so the ducks do have a separate portion of coop to themselves. :idunno
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,655
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Lots going on, Poultry Juggling!
You don't say how big your existing coop is.

Here's some tips about.....
Integration Basics:
Some things in here might help.
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Chloesmama

Songster
7 Years
Mar 30, 2014
100
20
131
Thanks both of you. I think I will give it a try, making sure there is plenty of food and water out in both areas and put the ducks elsewhere for the day.
 

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