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Mixing Flocks??? Or Start Over???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SGM, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. SGM

    SGM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
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    Ok I have come to a crossroads. Option One: I try to introduce some of my different layers to create one flock for eggs. Obviously the problem is introducing. I have 7 RIRs with a RIR rooster and I have 3 Blue Andalusian/RIR cross hens with a SLW rooster. My first step is removal of the roosters. Then, would I have any success introducing the hens? They are penned next to one another, but don't have interactions because of the two fences.

    Or would I be better off ordering in an assortment of layers just for that purpose. To raise up together in a laying flock.

    I'm so torn. I really like my hens. They lay well for me and are so sweet. The blue hens give me almost 3 eggs a day out of 3 hens. And the RIRs have only just begun to lay. So I'd hate to give them up. Is there any hope of introducing??? Any suggestions???? Please???
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  2. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Absolutely you can introduce them. Unless they are in a high confinement situation where they can't get away from each other at all.

    I have 27 hens that get switched around several times a year and new pullets introduced yearly. There are always fights, but the low ranking ones will steer clear of the meanies until everyone is comfortable and the hierarchy is settled.

    In my experience it's better to keep one rooster with the hens, it's his natural inclination to break up fights. He will side with 'his' hens to begin with but when he starts breeding the others he'll keep the peace more effectively.

    You can expect fighting, it's the pecking order. Just keep a close eye on them to begin with to make sure there are no serious injuries. More feeding and watering station would be a big help during this time as well as more roost space and I especially like outdoor roosts where the low ranking hens can hang out without being harrassed.

    Many like to introduce them at night so they all wake up together. I don't know if it really helps the fighting or if most of it is over by the time we humans wake up, but I've used the method and it did seem to go smoother. Also letting them free range together first on neutral ground can help.

    Like I said, expect screaming and fighting just keep a close eye to make sure no one gets cornered and they'll be fine. It sounds worse than it is! Things do settle down, I promise. [​IMG]
     
  3. SGM

    SGM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Easley, SC
    Thanks for your reply. Its given me hope. Yay!!! I let a few out to free range today and am thrilled to say they're doing well. I may just try to get all my hens to free range and then once they're use to one another they can go up in a much larger run permanently. Thanks!!!
     
  4. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Quote:Good idea. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. SGM

    SGM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Easley, SC
    I turned the 7 RIR hens and rooster loose after letting the 3 Blue Andalusian/RIR hens loose. The RIRs were raised here so they've free ranged before. The blue hens were nervous at first and after I went out and started digging up grubs for them they happily followed me around.

    I am thrilled to report that they have all been hanging out together without any squabbles at all! They've both checked out the other's coops and nest boxes (even got a RIR egg in the blue hen's box.) This is going much more smoothly than I anticipated. I am thrilled!

    Thank you so much for your help! [​IMG]
     
  6. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh good, I'm so glad! [​IMG]
     

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