New Member, New flock, Newbie Needs Advice!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Sutherland906, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello from upstate NY! After lots of work rehabbing a huge rabbit hutch, my coop is finally ready to go. Fortunately I'm being gifted some birds to get going, adult barred rock & rhode island red, and buff orpington pullets thay will be ready to lay by Sept. (flock 1) This is all great, however I've decided I must have Australorps (flock 2)! Looking for some advice/opinions on a few things...

    1. How easy will I be able to merge these ladies together? Both flocks are gentle & raised around children, but will they be nice to eachother?

    2. Will I have an issue with them using the nesting boxes?

    3. Any tricks to increase their foraging? The ladies from flock 1 are more reliant on feed than I would like. Especially since I will be supplying them only with organic scratch. They have plenty of space to forage (acres for maximum 8 birds). Is it ok to not have a readily available supply constantly? Maybe giving food later in the day will encourage them to find more bugs & greens on their own?

    We planned on penning them for a bit until they get used to theor new coop & surroundings, just looking to make the smoothest transition possible. Any answers or advice (including unmentioned possible issues) are absolutely welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  2. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can take a week or two to integrate flocks. The safest way to do this is give each flock its own area where they can see the other flock but not be able to fight each other. Its called "pecking order" for a reason after all. Once they figure out the order peace can return but I would not rush the process.

    Hens lay where they want to lay. They may all choose the same nesting box or they may decide not to use a nesting box at all. You can place some fake eggs in there to encourage them to lay in a particular spot. You still might have to do an egg hunt to find them all though.

    Some breeds are simply better at foraging than others but a smart hen will pick up skills from the others by watching them forage. Many varieties will still rely pretty heavily on grain since that is what they've been raised on. If you are free ranging on such a large area without a Roo then predators can be a real problem. You should familiarize yourself with what lives in your area as pretty much EVERYTHING eats chicken and their primary defense is a vigilant male. Without that, YOU are the primary line of defense. Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning and finding something murdered your favorite hen while you were asleep. Best Wishes!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas and :welcome. I'm in total agreement with ChickenChaser's advice so I'll just say best of luck and great to have aboard.
     
  4. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickenchaser: We plan on seperating, just curious as to what to expect, and how hostile they typically are. They can have all the time they need! I was considering using fake eggs, its worth a shot. There's a lot of space for them to roam, the search would be never ending.

    We certainly have predators, fox and racoon being the biggest, but occasional coyotes arent unheard of. We're in the country, but the property borders a semi noisy road. There's less of an issue in the area, so we're hoping for the best (although the girls could attract them). 2 plans are in place.

    1. Installing a solar motion activated flood light. Hoping if there were to be an animal looking for a meal, the bright light will spook them. If it doesn't work, then I have a new light to install elsewhere.
    2. We'll get a roo. I want chicks in the spring anyway, so I don't mind having one. I would just prefer to start with the ladies.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Even the bravest roos only last until the predator kills them. The best they can do is sound an alarm before they die. Livestock guardian dogs have the muscle to "take out," predators.

    I wouldn't restrict water to your flock, so they will eat more juicy bugs. If you area is as hot as many are now, your hens could die of dehydration.

    Please check out the predator threads for advice.
     
  6. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While my Colonel Cluck has yet to meet a predator he couldnt run off (black jersey giants are enormous)I would certainly not put his life on the line when the security of the flock is something I could improve. The rely on you to give them a safe place to roost at night. Your coop should be like ft knox if you live in the country. Racoons have thumbs and will go after sleeping chickens as eagerly as coyotes.
     
  7. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2016
    Upstate, NY

    I would never restrict their water, I was only thinking about offering food at certain times rather than having a constant supply. Hoping that would encourage them to forage for their food if they're hungry. They will always have access to their water.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  8. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2016
    Upstate, NY

    Our coop is secure, and enclosed by an 8 ft high fenced kennel. We will be adding a roof to the kennel as well to prevent racoons from climbing into it. I know a roo won't solve all predator issues, but it certainly won't hurt.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Out of the Woods Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  10. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make sure them predators cant tunnel under the pen. They are persistent and crafty. Best Wishes.
     

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