Merging 2 Flocks - 6 weeks old

beancountingforchickens

In the Brooder
Aug 5, 2021
6
6
11
South Carolina
Hello all,

I have two flocks of 6 weeks old chicks. One flock consists of 7 chicks that were in a brooder in my dining room and were recently moved out to their coop. The second flock consists of 5 chicks that were raised by a broody hen. I have removed the hen because she has started to lay again and has made her way back to the big girl's coop. I have 3 separate coops. One for the 7 chicks, one for the 5 chicks, and then the big girls have their own. I am integrating them slowly. The 7 are in a coop/run within the big girl's coop/run so that the big girls can get used to them before I merge them all. The other 5 have a separate coop/run which I eventually plan to change to the rooster hut. Each morning I take the 7 out of their coop/run and place them in the bigger coop/run with the other 5. They manage a little peck here or there but nothing overly concerning. My problem is that they stay with their own flock in two separate corners of the run. There appear to be 2 roosters in the mix of one flock and one seems to venture out and wants to mingle with the "magnificent 7", but all 12 never seem to want to mingle as one flock. At night the 5 go up but the other 7 just hang out under the coop, so I end up moving them back to their coop. When I brought the 7 outside to live, the mama had not left the other 5 just yet and I was a little afraid she would not treat the 7 well, so I didn't want to chance them being harmed, thus they got their own coop.

Would I be better off to put them all in the coop at night and shut the door so that they wake up together in the morning and they are all familiar with the same coop or should I just leave them all separate and stop trying to "make them be friends". I didn't intend to have two separate flocks, but I had two broody hens and one just wasn't going to sit and hatch the eggs so I had to move them into an incubator. There were just too many for the single hen to sit on. I just trying to figure out a way to have everyone happy :). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,596
143,482
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
So the broody and her chicks were not with the flock?
That's the best way to integrate broody chicks.

You might be able to get the 2 chick groups together, then integrate them with the main flock.
The chicks will not merge with the older flock until they are of laying age.

Some pics of your coops and runs would help here.

Oh, and... Welcome to BYC! @beancountingforchickens
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beancountingforchickens

In the Brooder
Aug 5, 2021
6
6
11
South Carolina
No, the broody hen was so "moody" and the other big girls kept bothering her so I moved her and the eggs to a separate coop until she started to lay again. She has been with the 5 chicks she hatched for roughly 5 weeks but started laying and was ready to go back to the flock. She went back with the big girls with no issues at all. Around the same time, I moved the 7 chicks I had inside in a brooder out to their coop and tried to merge the 5 little girls and boys with the other 7 little girls. It has only been about 1 week of merging them but they are just not taking to each other. They are not mean at all, they just don't want to be social with each other. This morning I took the 2 roosters out and put them in a coop of their own to see if maybe all the hens would start to become a little more friendly. It is kind of like "high school" in the coop at this time :)
 

Briosafarm

Songster
Mar 14, 2021
148
323
107
Chickens just do that...recognizing their original group even after a long time in a mixed flock. They can look and act like one successfully merged flock, but then you let them out to free range and notice they gravitate toward their original peeps. :-D I don't know why; it's just what they do.
 

Yardmom

Songster
May 3, 2018
981
1,354
186
Waterford, PA
Let them stay together. They don't have to be friends. That will get better with time. Sometimes the groups continue to hang with hatch mates their entire lives, but every time you take birds away from a flock they need to be reintroduced. The more you leave them together the more chances of forming a single flock mentality.
 

Yardmom

Songster
May 3, 2018
981
1,354
186
Waterford, PA
For me I would keep them together, so I don't have another place to feed. Someone else may be better at the best way to handle a separate rooster pen. I raise mine in the coop they would be in if I would decide it's a keeper. They have to get along with the mature roos or they are sold or eaten here.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,040
22,679
907
Southeast Louisiana
My goal for integration is that no one gets hurt. Nothing more complicated than that. Eventually they will merge into one flock but even then they may sometimes form their own cliques. Usually that depends on who they are raised with but sometimes a few just seem to really hit it off. As long as no one is getting hurt, who cares? This is just a part of what makes Chicken TV better than anything on antenna, cable, or satellite. Just watching how they interact.

As Aart said, some photos of your coops and runs and how they go together could be helpful for specific comments. But in general if mine can stay in the same area, coop or run, without hurting each other they are better off in that area together, even if it in opposite corners. Multiple food and water stations can help with that. If mine want to sleep separately I let them. I don't care where they sleep as long as it is not in a nest and is predator safe. I try to give mine as much room as I can and interfere as little as I can. That just seems to work better.

Personally I leave the cockerels with the rest until I have a reason to separate them. Have an area ready because if you need a place you may need it right then, but often I never have a reason to separate them. The thing with living animals is that you don't get guarantees as to how they will behave. About anything can happen so you need to be flexible but trust yourself and what you see.
 

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