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Starting a flock with hens from different farms

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TxAg11, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. TxAg11

    TxAg11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Howdy,

    I'm a first-time chicken owner and am planning on picking up some chickens this weekend. My wife and I want a variety of about 7 chickens. I like the idea of having up to 4 difference breeds, but the only problem is most places in our area that sell laying hens usually only have about two breeds to choose from. My predicament is this:

    There are two separate farms with two separate selections (all hens are 8 months old, though). If I acquire all the new hens in the same 48 hour period, will there be major pecking order issues when I combine the two or will it be more seamless?

    For those of you willing to lend advice on breed here are my options:

    Farm 1: RIRs, Golden Sexlinks, and Dominiques.
    Farm 2: Australorp mixes, and Leghorns.

    Ideally, I'd love to have one of each and maybe double up on some of the more hardy and productive breeds. Their primary function is for egg laying and fertilizer production. I know this may come as a shock to some of the hard-core chicken lovers, but I could care less about how cuddly the chickens are. We have our pups for that. The more protective they are, the better. That'll help establish some push-back if our dogs get too curious (red heelers tend to be very instinct driven).

    Our back yard is about 1/5 acre and has 6' fences on all sides. They will be allowed to free range.
    I know there will be plenty of people making serious mention about quarantine and I can do that pretty easily. I'm more concerned about the more docile birds getting picked apart.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    Whether you put them together in the same 48 hour period, or put them together after the recommended 4 weeks or so of quarantine where they are kept at a minimum of 100' - 300' feet apart and you don't share equipment between the two flocks and change your shoes between coops, there will still be squabbles to determine pecking order. I would think that even just taking chickens from a flock on the same farm and putting them together on a different place would cause that. After all, the flock dynamics will have changed for them and they are in a different environment. Both of those are enough to throw them off kilter. Add other hens from somewhere else, and that will affect them, too.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with Bobbi. And, your lot size does not lend it'self to serious quarantine. So, if you're up for the risk, you might want to just get all the birds at the same time, throw them into the coop, and let them sort it out. When I integrate, I like to put lots of tidbits in the coop litter. Busy gals who are foraging for goodies in the litter are less likely to beat each other up. You will want to do a full body check before bringing them into your coop for lice and mites. You might want to dust them with a miticide, and treat their legs with oil for scaly leg mites, just as a precaution. I wish you the best. An other thigh you MIGHT consider, and this is what I'd do: Get your adult flock from only one farm, and get hatching eggs from the other farm later this spring. That way, you'll be less likely to have disease issues, and will be well on your way to having a multi age flock.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    Ditto on the great advice already given- having a number of feed and watering stations reduces the likelihood of sustained bullying.

    Good luck

    Ct
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Good advice already given....
    .....especially the full body check for pests, I started with older birds and almost regret it because of the pests they brought with them.

    Also think about your coop and run set up. ....you'll want to 'home' your birds to the coop/run and they'll need to be confined for at least a few days for that to happen.
    Free ranging is great but there often comes a time when they will need to be confined to the coop due to extreme weather or predator issues.

    Eventually you'll want to add chicks/birds and that takes extra coop/run space....or you may need to separate a bird from the flock for various reasons.
    Best design plan I carried out was making my coop able to be split with a temporary chicken wire wall and an extra people door for access.
    I later added another pop door and separate but adjacent run.
     
    1 person likes this.

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