Merging my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kchron01, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. kchron01

    kchron01 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 9 birds in my little flock. 6 are 18 weeks old and consist of one Rooster and 5 hens. One is 9 weeks old and 2 are unknown because I got them from a farm. My guess is around 12 weeks. The older ones were all raised together and the younger 3 were introduced. Things are just fine in the coop at night and during the day the older birds usually go out of the coop and run to free range. When they are gone, the other 3 roam the coop and pen, occasionally going out into the yard. The problem is when they are confined to the coop and pen, the 3 younger ones won't get off of the perch. In another week, I will be out of town for a few days and due to other family member schedules, they may all be in the coop and pen for most of the day. How long will the younger 3 sit up there? Will they eventually get hungry or thirsty enough to attempt to come down? They get chased by a couple of the older birds but so far, no injuries. I had hoped they would work it out by now. Hoping for some suggestions. Maybe I'm worrying about it too much and if I just let it go, they will figure it out.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they are sleeping in the same coop they should be alright. It is just a matter of them becoming comfortable enough to eat with the older ones present. But they will eventually come down to eat and drink. A second feeding station may help if you don't have one already.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    It takes my younger birds up to a week to be out and about with the flock. I never see them out of the coop, and rarely see them off the perches in the coop, but I know they must get down to eat and go out to drink (water is in the run) or they'd be dead. They're not going to be so scared they'll kill themselves, but they may be quick about it for a while!
     
  4. kchron01

    kchron01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2013
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    Thanks for the information. It's been about 2 weeks. I have extra water and feed in the run but I will add it to the coop also. Your are right donrae, I would hope they get down for food and water or as you say they would be dead. I really want to enjoy my small vacation and not be worried about my chickens. : )
     
  5. cluckermomofsix

    cluckermomofsix Out Of The Brooder

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    I have six hens that are approximately 18 months old and three little ones that are 10+ weeks old. I'm having a hard time getting four of the older ones to let the younger ones roam free. They chase them around, run them off and peck at them. I have two separate runs but they are adjoining so they can see eachother, but they are still sleeping separately...the little ones have a make-shift coop inside their run but it is not very weather proof. We are starting to get colder weather and I would like to put the little ones up with the big ones but I'm afraid I'll find the little ones injured or severly traumitized by morning. Any help you all can provide would be greatly appreciated.
     
  6. kchron01

    kchron01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Most likely you could put them together at night. Every post I've read seems to say that fighting will be at a minimum or not at all while perched for the night. It seemed good in my case. Since you have two separate runs, you would just have to separate them in the morning till they start to get along better or they are at least closer in size. I only have one coop and run, so in the morning the small ones just stay on the perch till the big ones go out into the run or better yet, into the yard. It is getting better though I think. I made extra food and water stations to keep everyone happy as was suggested to me. I would try putting them together for the night. There may be some squabbles but it should be ok once they are settled on the perch. Good Luck! I know how worrisome it is!
     
  7. cluckermomofsix

    cluckermomofsix Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! Yes, so hard. I just want them to be okay and not create long-term problems.
     
  8. whittychick

    whittychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When does the pecking order stop? I added my babies with the big girls about 2 weeks ago and the big Girls will still peck them once in awhile
     
  9. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To cluckermomofsix, yeah I agree...at night they are the least likely to pick on each other because it is "sleeptime" just be sure you have plenty of perch room in your coop, because cramped perches can still cause discomfort. You may have to round up the newbies at night for a bit and put them in the coop with the elders. I have a new chick that I recently integrated with mine and it tries to sleep on the roof instead of in with the big girls so I have to go out and put it in when I do my nightly headcount. After a while things should iron out and a pecking order will re-establish, but that brings me to my answer for whittychick...the pecking order will get established, but it will always be enforced from top chicken all the way to bottom. Top hens will always pick on lower hens when it coms to food, water, scratch spots, dustbathing pits etc. usually once the order is there, there won't be much "fighting" per se, but the top hen will come up to one lower than her that is at the feed dish and maybe rap her smartly on the head with her beak, letting her know to back off and let the top hen eat first. With a couple of my girls, all the top hen has to do is "glare" at the bottom hen and she knows to back off...sometimes she'll even growl, lol but any actual fighting should subside.
     
  10. cluckermomofsix

    cluckermomofsix Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks blondiebee181. Once I merge them, what about food? Do I feed everyone the medicated chick food or do I feed only the layer pellets or a combination of both? It seems my older ones would prefer the chick food but I'm not sure it has all the necessary ingredients for full-grown laying hens.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

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