Integrating 2 flocks

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
Good morning everyone,
I recently was given a total of seven hens, to add to my existing flock of 22 hens and 2 roosters.
My question is not how to intergrate them, it's more of once we are past the see but don't touch integration time how do I keep the new comers from trying to go back to their old coop.
Let me explain.
I am in the process of selling our home to move to a smaller rural area with more land, so in the meantime I found a very nice family that had 10 acres, 2 donkeys, and 2 LGD's willing to let me keep my chickens their in exchange for taking care of the dogs when they travel! Great deal all around.
So for the last 7 -8 months my chickens have had the ultimate life!!
They freerange all day, thanks to a automatic door(pullet shut).
The families chicken coop is on the other side of the donkey pasture, my chickens have been able to see them for this whole time.
Recently the owners needed to do some maintenance on their coop and run, so instead of housing their chicken else where and fixing it, they gave all their hens to me, and will start new when they fix it. (I think they were just tired of caring for their chickens to be honest)
So now I have them in segregation inside my coop. I am worried as soon as the separation time is over and they join my flock freeranging that they will just try to go right back to their old coop. It's closed off of course, but chickens will be chickens.
HERE IS A photo to help you visualize the setup, and maybe give any advice sugesstions.
Ahhhhh shoot,I will have to post photos in a bit, my iPad is having a mental breakdown !!
 

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
Ok, Erie is the photo I wanted to post. Not sure why it posted 2 times!!
IMG_4424.jpg
IMG_4424.jpg
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
29,494
236,222
1,612
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
I am working on integrating two flocks together now.
I did 2 weeks of "look, don't touch".
For two days at the end of that period, I let my original flock out of the 1/4 acre pen to free range then let the new girls out into the 1/4 acre pen to get to know the lay of the land and where to find food and shelter. I did this for 2 days.
On the third day, I let the new girls out into the pen for about 10 minutes before releasing the main flock for the day. They went through the normal bickering and everyone spent the day getting to know each other. The new girls were obsessed with the main coop and it's attached run and spent a lot of time exploring that area while the original flock came and went to lay eggs and eat. That night the new girls returned to their coop to roost.
Yesterday was day 2 of them ranging together. Last night, the new girls did not return to their coop. 2 roosted on the edge of a pallet and the third roosted on the edge of the winter dust bath container under the main coop. I put them back in their small coop for the night.
I'll let this go on for about a week before I will deposit the new girls on the roost in the main coop after dark. My set up is such that the pop door is always open and everyone can get into the attached enclosed 200 sq foot run. That way if the original girls wake up to find the interlopers on their roost, the new girls can make a quick exit.
I also find that my cockerel seems to be easing this transition as he likes the new girls. They squat for him but he hasn't mounted them yet. He just tidbits them and is hanging around them for a bit several times during the day and wandering in and out of their temporary coop/run.
I think you could try something along these lines but I think towards the end you will have to lock the entire combined flock up together for several days until the new girls understand that this is now home.
Good luck!
 

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
Thank you for responding. Yes, that green line is the fence that separates the 2 coops. I am sure they could find a way to get through, or over. The fence is about 5 foot high, and the openings are (5"x5") approx.
I don't want them trying to return to the old coop.
My flock never really roams over there because of the area to get to it is all open field(no cover or place to hide)
I am just wondering how long it takes chickens to forget about previous homes.
They have been in my coop for a little over a week now.
 

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
Ok, I will try that this week when a have a whole day to devot to watching them.
Also do you guys open up the entire area, or just a small area for the newbies to come and go?
Here is where I have them now.
I moved the two things blocking the view from each other. Should I just bend the wire halfway or open up the whole area?
IMG_5142.JPG
 

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
I am working on integrating two flocks together now.
I did 2 weeks of "look, don't touch".
For two days at the end of that period, I let my original flock out of the 1/4 acre pen to free range then let the new girls out into the 1/4 acre pen to get to know the lay of the land and where to find food and shelter. I did this for 2 days.
On the third day, I let the new girls out into the pen for about 10 minutes before releasing the main flock for the day. They went through the normal bickering and everyone spent the day getting to know each other. The new girls were obsessed with the main coop and it's attached run and spent a lot of time exploring that area while the original flock came and went to lay eggs and eat. That night the new girls returned to their coop to roost.
Yesterday was day 2 of them ranging together. Last night, the new girls did not return to their coop. 2 roosted on the edge of a pallet and the third roosted on the edge of the winter dust bath container under the main coop. I put them back in their small coop for the night.
I'll let this go on for about a week before I will deposit the new girls on the roost in the main coop after dark. My set up is such that the pop door is always open and everyone can get into the attached enclosed 200 sq foot run. That way if the original girls wake up to find the interlopers on their roost, the new girls can make a quick exit.
I also find that my cockerel seems to be easing this transition as he likes the new girls. They squat for him but he hasn't mounted them yet. He just tidbits them and is hanging around them for a bit several times during the day and wandering in and out of their temporary coop/run.
I think you could try something along these lines but I think towards the end you will have to lock the entire combined flock up together for several days until the new girls understand that this is now home.
Good luck!
Wow, that's what I was hoping I wouldn't have to do. If I lock them up together without freeranging I am afraid I would have a disaster on my hands. The coop is unfortunately not large enough for everyone to live peacefully without access to outside.
It's a trade off I have to deal with for now until I can sell my home and purchase a home on lots of acreage!!
Here is a pic where you may be able to see my setup
IMG_4295.JPG

466FDE3E-DB2D-4FAD-98D6-6CD249EB6A11.jpeg

69657232-899B-4F6F-8B85-EF8E3F5A5894.jpeg

Not the prettiest coop, but the chickens are happy!!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,139
126,037
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I moved the two things blocking the view from each other. Should I just bend the wire halfway or open up the whole area?
Oh, so the birds are not integrated yet...
....that's more to deal with than just homing birds to a new coop.
I'd give the new birds a door to the outside if possible, let them out an hour before roost time. Might even want to let them out while the existing birds are confined so they get the lay of the land without harassment form the existing flock.
 

Nksg75

Songster
6 Years
Aug 18, 2014
968
1,028
221
Needville Texas
Oh, so the birds are not integrated yet...
....that's more to deal with than just homing birds to a new coop.
I'd give the new birds a door to the outside if possible, let them out an hour before roost time. Might even want to let them out while the existing birds are confined so they get the lay of the land without harassment form the existing flock.
No not yet, they are still in the see but don't touch stage for over a week.
I wanted to make sure that this new place inprints on them really well because I am not always there when the auto door shuts at night. I just don't want them trying to go back to the old coop, just to be stuck unable to get in.
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom