Separate flocks meeting free-range

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TimM, May 2, 2017.

  1. TimM

    TimM Out Of The Brooder

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    I have four Golden Comet hens in one coop, and six in another coop a hundred feet away. They've never met. I've recently let the four out to free range, and it's worked out well, so now I'd like to let the six out as well. When they inevitably meet one another out in the field, do you suppose they'll fight? Thanks for any opinions!

    TimM
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I am sure they can hear each other. Why do you have them separated? Quarantined? Are you planning to put them together?
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    That is one of my favorite things to observe, two flocks coming together. In my setting, there is usually discord. Outright fighting unusual unless groups meeting for the first time. Most of my flocks are either harems or juvenile only where males dominate the interactions. Flocks usually do not merge unless sex ratio is out of wack in one group.
     
  4. TimM

    TimM Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry... perhaps I didn't supply enough information. They are in different coops because both coops are very small, and the hens are different ages. The hens in one coop are three years old and winding down in egg production, while those in the other are young, just starting to lay now. That's how I rotate... Young in one coop and old in the other. When I have to cull the old group (I don't like running a retirement home for old chickens) I thoroughly clean their coop and then use it for brooding and housing the new chicks.

    For many years I never let them run free because I have an 80-pound airedale who gave every indication of wanting to eat them! But I've been training her to leave them alone, and I finally succeeded. The old hens in one coop have been free-range and interacting with the dog for over a month now with no problems, so now I'm considering letting the more important young hens free as well. But I don't want any fights.

    And I assume (!) that at night each flock will go home to its own correct coop. If they changed coops I would have a problem because I would have trouble figuring out who is young and who is old. But I can't see them going home to an unfamiliar coop.

    Tim
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    They will retreat to respect coops each evening. If no roosters to divvy things up, then flocks may combine. Mark legs with colored zip ties.
     
  6. TimM

    TimM Out Of The Brooder

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    Colored zip ties... what a great idea! In fact, all I need to do is put ties on the four old hens, and leave the young ones alone. I'll give it a try and hope for the best. Thanks!
     
  7. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Good plan, I find that the leg rings get dirty very quickly, and its impossible to discern the colours, so putting them on one part of the flock, and leaving the others with none will help you in long run.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop

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