Merging flocks

Measej09

In the Brooder
Dec 23, 2020
4
14
26
I need some advice.
We are trying to merge our two small flocks of 10 and 4 together. The first ten are 35 weeks old and the second four are 17 weeks old.
Yesterday, for the first time we had them all in the same run. They have been in side by side runs and separate coops to this point.
The results: basically the littles stayed away from the others. Overnight, I had them in the same coop. I went out early to assess and prevent harm. The littles were huddled in a nesting box.

Need the help of you experts.
Is it to early? Do they just need more time?
All advice and suggestions welcome.
Thanks
Frustrated chicken dad
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,697
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
I need some advice.
We are trying to merge our two small flocks of 10 and 4 together. The first ten are 35 weeks old and the second four are 17 weeks old.
Yesterday, for the first time we had them all in the same run. They have been in side by side runs and separate coops to this point.
The results: basically the littles stayed away from the others. Overnight, I had them in the same coop. I went out early to assess and prevent harm. The littles were huddled in a nesting box.

Need the help of you experts.
Is it to early? Do they just need more time?
All advice and suggestions welcome.
Thanks
Frustrated chicken dad
It is going to take months for the two subflocks to form a cohesive single flock. They will stay in separate groups until the 17 week olds start laying and then you will start to see them coming together.
As long as there is plenty of space, multiple feed and water stations and lots of places to perch and hide and things to do in the run, they should be fine. Leave them to work out the pecking order. Only intervene if there is serious injury.
How much roosting space do you have? How large is the coop in sq ft and the run in sq ft?
Can you post pictures of your setup?
What I do each year after the broodies wean their chicks and they start hiding out in the nest boxes is wait until full on dark to do head count and lock up and pluck the errant teens out of the nest boxes and place them on available spots on the roosts. I block them for a moment or two with my hands to prevent the stab in the dark pecks from the roosting neighbors. When it's that dark, the neighboring chickens generally leave them alone.
 

Measej09

In the Brooder
Dec 23, 2020
4
14
26
It is going to take months for the two subflocks to form a cohesive single flock. They will stay in separate groups until the 17 week olds start laying and then you will start to see them coming together.
As long as there is plenty of space, multiple feed and water stations and lots of places to perch and hide and things to do in the run, they should be fine. Leave them to work out the pecking order. Only intervene if there is serious injury.
How much roosting space do you have? How large is the coop in sq ft and the run in sq ft?
Can you post pictures of your setup?
What I do each year after the broodies wean their chicks and they start hiding out in the nest boxes is wait until full on dark to do head count and lock up and pluck the errant teens out of the nest boxes and place them on available spots on the roosts. I block them for a moment or two with my hands to prevent the stab in the dark pecks from the roosting neighbors. When it's that dark, the neighboring chickens generally leave them alone.

So right now we have the setup you see in pic 1. Two coops one is a playhouse I am converting. The other we bought. The purchased one has a coop that is 4x6 and the inside is pic 2. The playhouse is 6x5.5 and the inside is seen in pic 3.
I plan to get them all in the playhouse once I have it ready. But haven’t been able to work on it with the little girls in it. Also to note, we let them free range most days.
Thanks for your help!
jordan
 

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Measej09

In the Brooder
Dec 23, 2020
4
14
26
So right now we have the setup you see in pic 1. Two coops one is a playhouse I am converting. The other we bought. The purchased one has a coop that is 4x6 and the inside is pic 2. The playhouse is 6x5.5 and the inside is seen in pic 3.
I plan to get them all in the playhouse once I have it ready. But haven’t been able to work on it with the little girls in it. Also to note, we let them free range most days.
Thanks for your help!
jordan
Pics are out of order
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,697
282,957
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
So right now we have the setup you see in pic 1. Two coops one is a playhouse I am converting. The other we bought. The purchased one has a coop that is 4x6 and the inside is pic 2. The playhouse is 6x5.5 and the inside is seen in pic 3.
I plan to get them all in the playhouse once I have it ready. But haven’t been able to work on it with the little girls in it. Also to note, we let them free range most days.
Thanks for your help!
jordan
I would put more things in the run. Because you don't want them flying out, keep perches low.
Add multiple tree branches supported on free standing cross braces about 8" high or so.
Teepee two pallets together near the center.
Add a barrel or something on it's side with both ends cut off and embed it in the ground to keep it at stable. Look around at what you could add.
Any plan for a solid roof run? They're da bomb!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,072
22,794
907
Southeast Louisiana
My brooder is in the coop so the brooder-raised chicks grow up with the flock. I often turn them loose to roam with the flock at 5 weeks. My broody hens raise their chicks with the flock from Day 1 and wean them anywhere form 3 weeks of age to 10 weeks. I do have a lot more room in the coop and outside than you do. I have a main coop, a grow-out coop, and a shelter where they can sleep safely. Between the incubator and broody hens I may have 4 or 5 different-aged broods a year.

However they are raised, my juveniles do not merge much with the adults either outside or inside until they mature enough to join the pecking order. With my pullets that's usually when they start to lay. Who knows when cockerels reach that point. When they are outside they form sub-flocks with the juveniles avoiding the older birds. Different aged broods generally avoid each other too. Inside at night the juveniles are not allowed on the main roosts with the adults until they reach maturity. That explains them sleeping in the nests.

My definition of a successful integration is that no one gets hurt. Sounds like you are doing OK from that aspect. While they are integrating I don't care where my juveniles sleep as long as it is not in the nests and is somewhere predator safe. I used to have a problem with them sleeping in the nests so I put up a juvenile roost, lower than the main roosts, higher than the nests, and horizontally separated by a few feet to give them a safe place to go. On the rare occasions I find one sleeping in a nest I just toss it out on the coop floor after dark, just trying to teach it the nests are not a safe place to sleep, but I don't try to cuddle my chickens. Especially if they are used to sleeping in the nests it could help to place them on a roost instead.

I don't know where your older ones sleep. If they all sleep on those two roosts on the end that flat board may work a a juvenile roost. If they are more spread out you may try raising those two a bit to entice the adults to sleep there. Or lower that flat board a bit.

I'll include a photo of my juvenile roost. The top of my nests are droppings boards, horrible design as they are hard to scrape. The brooder is off to the right with the main roosts above the brooder.

Juvenile Roost.JPG


That second coop gives you another option. I like that extra flexibility a second coop gives you. If moving them to the one coop causes problems let the young ones sleep in that other coop until they mature more. Let them roam together during the day but just sleep separately. I've had some move into the main coop on their own but usually I have to move them myself. I know it is a pain to maintain that second coop, may be why you want to move them, but it gives you an option.

Good luck with it.
 

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