Merging two young flocks into one

snoozing chick

Songster
5 Years
Dec 7, 2014
51
86
132
Fairfield County, CT
I have two small young flocks of bantams and would like to merge them into a single flock. Next week our large new coop and covered run arrives with the plan to house them together.

Right now Flock A has 5 pullets aged eight months, with 3 EE, a buff Brahma, and a d’Uccle. (All bantams). The pecking order goes Brahma - EE - d’uccle - EE - EE

Flock B has 7 pullets aged six months, with 2 d’uccle bantams, 2 Cochin bantams, 1 Polish, and 2 Sicilian Buttercups. The Sicilian Buttercups are the highest and the Polish is lowest on the pecking order, with the others in the middle.

I’d like any and all tips on how best to merge the two. Right now the smaller flock is in an Omelet coop/run located adjacent to the run of the larger flock. Even though they have free-ranged in the same areas they have never mixed and keep their distance from one another. They all bawked like mad last week at each other earlier this week when we moved them next to one another. But that seems to have settled down.

I tried putting them in the large covered run together and the Buttercups were aggressive toward the smaller flock / but maybe they just need to work that out?

How best to merge? When to merge? What to watch out for? And will they work it out in time ? These are our first chickens and we LOVE it, but need some guidance here.

Thank you!!
 

pwiker

Chirping
Jun 19, 2017
78
98
71
Lancaster, PA
Professionals will tell you not to merge flocks. However, merging is a reality for most of us with small operations.

First, quantity matters. If the flocks are similar count, it helps to avoid concentrated picking. Second, room matters. Space for ones that are picked on to get away helps. Third, let them work it out if they are not too aggressive. If they are 'too aggressive', separate them by a wall of wire so that they are in the same space and close but not able to attack one another. Give them a few weeks like that before you remove the separator.
 

snoozing chick

Songster
5 Years
Dec 7, 2014
51
86
132
Fairfield County, CT
Professionals will tell you not to merge flocks. However, merging is a reality for most of us with small operations.

First, quantity matters. If the flocks are similar count, it helps to avoid concentrated picking. Second, room matters. Space for ones that are picked on to get away helps. Third, let them work it out if they are not too aggressive. If they are 'too aggressive', separate them by a wall of wire so that they are in the same space and close but not able to attack one another. Give them a few weeks like that before you remove the separator.
Thank you so much, I really hope we can do this successfully, I integrated a single pullet into the smaller flock when they were younger, and fingers crossed we can do this larger merge as well. I appreciate your encouragement that it can be done.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,848
336
Arizona
I agree on new coop will help ... since nobody can claim it as their territory ... it will be a new "common ground" like out roaming in your yard ...

Lots of space, distractions like treats ... and time on your hands to supervise ...

Should be just fine! :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Yep, put them all into the new coop at the same time...maybe at night well after dark.
Hoe big is the new coop?
Dimensions and especially pics would be helpful here.

Here's some tips on...
Integration Basics:

It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

This part above is made moot by the fact that you are going to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.
The ones below are still valid and will be helpful.



The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

snoozing chick

Songster
5 Years
Dec 7, 2014
51
86
132
Fairfield County, CT
This is all SUPER helpful. I don’t have pictures yet, because our new coop and run get delivered next week. But I will absolutely post pics as soon as we have it ready, before I add the birds so you all can chime in with suggestions. Already, the suggestions for exit-able hiding spots in the run and multiple perches gives me lots of ideas.

What a relief knowing that the whole new coop/run being neutral new territory will be helpful. And yes, we will supervise very closely, especially with our “Lucky” (an EE who survived a raccoon attack at 5weeks old but was left with one wing only, which makes her a bit of a target).

Oh I’m hopeful this will work out! Thank you!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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But I will absolutely post pics as soon as we have it ready,
Looking forward to it!
Are all your birds bantams?
Does wingless get along OK with her flock?

Remember:
As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.
 

snoozing chick

Songster
5 Years
Dec 7, 2014
51
86
132
Fairfield County, CT
Nearly all: 9 are bantams, 2 are Sicialiam Buttercups (a small sized standard breed, just a touch larger than my bantam Brahma), and 1 is a polish, also not large in breed size.

Yes, the wingless EE gets along great with her current flock. Here are the two flocks in their entirely:

Flock A (hatched 3/26, aged 8 months, all currently laying, listed in pecking order of highest to lowest):

Bantam Brahma (
Bantam Mille fleur d’uccle
Bantam EE
Bantam EE
Bantam one-winged EE

Flock B (hatched 5/21, 6 months old, layers marked with *, also in pecking order):

Standard Sicilian Buttercup*
Bantam porcelain d’uccle
Standard Sicilian Buttercup*
Bantam porcelain d’uccle
Bantam Cochin
Bantam Cochin
Standard Polish

Not sure if that helps but including it for as much info as possible.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,175
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Just wondering if mixing the bantams and large fowl may cause issues.
Have never had bantams...some that do mix them and some keep them separate.
Depends on the birds, I guess.
 

MANNA-PRO

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