Merging two flocks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NoraJeann, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. NoraJeann

    NoraJeann Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, I have two separate flocks who may have met before, but I have never seen it. One is made up of 6 hens and 1 rooster, the other is just 6 hens. They all free range during the day, but their coops are about an acre apart and only the rooster goes from flock to flock. I have never seen any of the hens within 50ft of each other. I want to merge them all into the coop with the rooster, but don't want a huge fight to break out. So whats the best way to get them familiar? Also whats the best way to keep them from returning to their old coop at night? Thanks!
     
  2. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    Ack! Wow! If you could, I would move one coop closer to the other, slowly, a little closer each day,and then move the flock into the new coop at night and totally remove the old one from the property at the same time.

    That probably isnt an option.

    So, they are creatures of habit. If you pen one group and move them closer to the other coop, they can mingle through the pen and hopefully get to know one another while forgetting about their old coop. Then put them all in the pen together at night and put up some kind of fencing that keeps them from getting back to the old coop. Do this over a period of a week to two weeks with a lot of observation to make sure no one is very ageessive. Pecking order will need to be reestablished but no blood should be drawn.

    Not sure if it will be fool proof, but just a thought.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If you type "integrating chickens" into the search bar, you will find additional info to that above. @aart has written a very useful article on the subject. Since you free range, the transition should not be too much of a problem.

    All the best
    CT
     
  4. NoraJeann

    NoraJeann Out Of The Brooder

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    I could only find stuff for introducing chicks or 1 or 2 hens, nothing really on two established flocks.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you have a run with the coop you want to move them to? That makes all of this so much easier, especially if it is a decent sized run. I assume the coop you want them all in is big enough?

    Whether you have a run or not, I’d move the hens at night when they are easy to catch and put them in with the others. Then I’d be out here the next morning before they woke up and open the pop door. That way they can run away if it gets too violent. If you have a run, leave them locked in the run for three or four days. Do this when you can be there at first and observe, just in case it gets bloody. I don’t think it will but it’s best to be prudent.

    If you don’t have a run, you’ll need to keep moving them at night until they get in the habit of sleeping in the new coop. I’ve never tried this with two adult flocks that have established territories, but from moving adolescents into the main coop from a grow-out coop I don’t anticipating it taking that long. Locking the old coop so they can’t get in should help. If they don’t go to sleep in the new coop immediately they should try to roost near the old coop, probably pretty close to the door. If they do that, hopefully it will be somewhere they are easy to pluck from the roost.

    They will sort out the pecking order if they haven’t already. The rooster should help with that, a good rooster helps keep order in this flock. I know you read about nightmares on here, and they do occur, but most of the time they sort this out pretty easily. Normally this goes pretty smoothly.

    You have another problem though. They will want to go to the old coop to lay eggs. If they can’t get in there they will find a new place to lay. That might be in the new coop but there is a real good chance it won’t be. So I’ll offer an alternative, provided your coop is big enough.

    Build a pen inside your coop to house the hens. Include two nests. A roost up higher than the nests might be a good idea. When you move them that first night lock them in that pen and leave them in there for about a week. After a week, just open the door to the pen. That should retrain them to lay in the new nests and go to bed in that coop. Just ne down there fairly early the first morning after you open it up to see how it is going.

    An alternative is to cut a news pop door, build a run outside that pop door, and partition off a bit of the inside with then nests and roost. This is a way to stretch the size of your coop. Since you are not worried about predators with any of this, you can use cheap chicken wire.

    All this will be so much easier if you already have a decent sized run. A larger coop gives you more flexibility too. But even without that you can manage. Good luck!
     
  7. NoraJeann

    NoraJeann Out Of The Brooder

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    yes, I have a 20x8 run with an 8x8 elevated coop. And it is set up nicely where I can split it into 2, 10x8's temporarily. So I think I'll try this.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  9. NoraJeann

    NoraJeann Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm not sure if I could split run and coop, I could set up another coop on the opposite side of the run, and then split the run in half. They wouldn't be in the same coop, but at least they are in one enclosure. Then maybe over the course of a few days remove the divider, then remove the coop?
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Probably more important to split coop than run.
     

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