merging my two flocks help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mamachicken6, May 29, 2012.

  1. mamachicken6

    mamachicken6 In the Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2012
    I have a mama and her 8 chicks in my run outside and I have 6 chicks close in age to the outdoor babies inside. I tried to merge them and mama almost killed two before I could get to them. What's the best way to get them together peacefully?
     
  2. cassandralee

    cassandralee In the Brooder

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    May 29, 2012
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    This is VERY irritating! I ran into a problem myself when my orange hen, Rapunzel didn't like the black chicks she hatched out! They didn't have orange on them or look like the first two chicks.. I have no idea why really, but she started to peck them till they bled, so I removed them and brought in a foster mom, who was white, but took to the chicks immediately.

    This is what happened to me. I put both moms in the coop outside with their babies, at first my white hen decided she needed to attack the other mom, and kill its chicks. I finally got them to a point where one stayed in the hen house, and the other in the run, and I just brought them all in at night. But occasionally something strange would happen, and they would start fighting or attacking eachother again. So I just took moms away. The babies wailed, until I took both moms in the house in pet carriers for the night (the chicks had a heat lamp). The next day, chicks don't care if there is a mom or not. After all, the moms are mostly there for warmth. But my chicks were so calm with the moms.. it was hard for me to let it come to that! But another problem you might run into is if you didn't vaccinated your babies for Mereks disease after they hatched!! They can get it from mom even if she is vaccinated, and its highly contagious!!!

    But the chicks got along well, and have now developed their own pecking order. Except I hadn't vaccinated them for mereks thinking, cause my other chickens are so healthy, and because moms are vaccinated, my chicks should be fine. Well thats not the case. I just had to put one to sleep yesterday. Look up mereks disease. its horrible.

    And I also had to do this with a batch of younger silkies I added to my older chicks a year ago. All I did was put the silkies in a cat carrier, let them get used to eachother. Then I let them in the coop, and watched them like a hawk. The first 24 hours is the worst! If they start getting mean, take them out only when they are going for the kill. It took me one day to introduce my chickens and they were of diff. ages so your chicks should be just fine. Its the moms and the babies that are not okay! Why should she be made to take care of offspring that doesn't smell like her? or are from her eggs she hatched? I'm pretty sure they want their genes to thrive, not another hens genes! They can instantly kill a chick they do not like or want! I hope this helped a little... and good luck with your chickens!
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité

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    I think the easiest way would be to keep them separate until the hen weans her chicks. That'll be when they are 6-7 weeks or older. Could you possibly divide your run so when you put your chicks outside they can see each other, but mom can't get to the indoor chicks?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    If chicks more than 4 weeks old, then remove hen from equation. Upon mixing, some fighting will still occur but fighing should not result in actual harm. DO mixing just before lights off.
     
  5. mamachicken6

    mamachicken6 In the Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2012
    My hens chicks are 10 weeks old and they still sleep under her and freak out if I separate them. Do you think if I introduce the unrelated chicks one at a time it would help?
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Will make situation worse for introduced chicks. At 10 weeks post hatch, hen not needed.
     
  7. mamachicken6

    mamachicken6 In the Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2012
    So it would be best to remove mom? Will they ever get along? Ugh!! So frustrating
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    They will eventually get along but they must be exposed to each for a time with some discord before they settle down. Normally, in a free-range setting, such groups would remain discrete until they reach adulthood and flocks shuffle members about. For my flocks, this happens in late fall early winter just before natural breeding season when that applies. Merger at other times can be forced as is typical of flocks kept in coops and runs. If flocks number less than 30 birds or so, then birds within each group recognize each other as individuals. Anyone they do not know is enemy and fighting occurs apparently without intent of making for new social pecking order. Members of one flock attack any and all members of other flock(s). Normally the picked on flock would leave. What you want is for birds to recognize each other as being within the same pecking order. One group may occupy all top ranks but they will at least recognize each other as individuals. Language between and within groups does differ and can be discerned by your ear.

    Two tricks have worked for me to force merger. First is to move both flocks to a third neutral location. It is very likely that in new location flights will break out even within flocks. This will prevent one group from sustaining attack on other, especially as everyone gets to know each other as new pecking order worked out. Second is to introduce a brood cock to both groups without a hen present, especially if done in a neutral location. Brood cock will have attention directed towards him and at first he will be regarded as a threat that overides inter-flock conflicts. Some cocks will also interfere with flights between subordinates. Very quickly pecking order will be based on him. Do not use a stag as such can be a problem in his own right. You can consider a rooster to be a cock based on adults feathers being fully grown in. A subtle difference in vocalizations also will be evident but that takes a lot of practice to pickup on.
     
  9. mamachicken6

    mamachicken6 In the Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2012
    Flock update. All the little ones minus one are happily merged. Mom is in a seperate enclosure right beside and is freaking out! I hope I'm not traumatizing her. Also one of the indoor chicks (my prized sebright hen) is now a mean rooster! He is in a third seperate enclosure beside mom and babies. Ugh!
     

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