Merging flocks for winter question..

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by featherz, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Have four 'coops' at the moment - one is a growout coop that was pressed into service for adult birds. ALL of these birds free range together and hang out together and go back to their respective coops at night. One roo in each of the two larger coops, although when let out the two roos pull a switcheroo and run to the other group of hens. Fickle beasts!

    I need to get the number of coops down for winter. Will sell off some birds, but anyone expect any trouble if I merge two groups of free rangers in one coop? I plan on doing it when I'm no longer letting them out (snow on the ground, most likely) so they'll be stuck in the coop/run together. Or should I do it earlier? Just start putting the smaller group (5 hens) in with the larger each night? Not sure if they've worked out a pecking order, but they do all eat together during the day.

    Second question - anyone foresee a problem switching roosters? [​IMG] My 'back coop' rooster immediately runs up to 'his' girls in a different coop and the roo from that coop has recently discovered the abandoned 'back coop' girls. Might as well switch roos for nighttime I would guess, right? [​IMG]
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I would definitely start the housing integration before winter. It's already going to cause stress, being confined again after being use to being out and about all the time. Add in to that extra bodies that aren't normally there, and I'd think you're asking for trouble. [​IMG]

    As for the roosters, I'd guess they're running to the other group of hens each morning for a bit of strange...lol. If you switch them, then the opposite will probably happen...they'll be running to their "old" girls each morning. [​IMG]
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The brutality of chicken politics isn't a lot of fun. They can be ugly. No sense postponing integration. If you intend to do it, begin to take the steps. Don't want to wait til the last minute and throw them together. I dislike the process, but I integrated a flock of 10 juniors with a flock of 12 hens, who were 8 months older. It wasn't easy, but it's done. Watch out for the dominant hens and if there's a way to remove them, sell them, etc you might consider it. Housing should be as ample as you can make it.

    The "rules" of so many square feet per bird are not applicable when confinement turns to boredom. The more room the better. Best wishes for your success.
     
  4. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    All good points. I was just out jogging and thinking - I think I'll just take the easy way out and sell the 5 in the coop I am trying to empty. I don't want to give them up, but at this time of the year laying EE/OE pullets will be the easiest to sell (as they will most likely lay through winter). I do give them more than enough room in the winter and had no issues with boredom last year. Hopefully this year will be similar. [​IMG]

    I've merged several groups before with no problems, but I usually do it when they are younger (well before POL).

    As for the roos - when I mean they switch, they switch for the entire day and don't even look at their coopmates. They are both young - one roo matured faster than his ladies (and he has 22 of them so he has plenty to choose from!). The other roo was much younger than HIS coopmates since he was hatched in the coop, so they don't give him the time of day either. One is 21 weeks or so, the other is about 16 weeks. fun fun! [​IMG] I guess with those two I'll play it by ear - good chance I'll have to rehome one anyways if either becomes nasty.
     

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