Trading out the boys. More questions in post #5.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WYOwhy, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. WYOwhy

    WYOwhy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2010
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    Background information:
    I am the city half of a beautiful chicken partnership. My country friend wanted to grow her flock but didn't want the work of baby chicks. I wanted baby chicks for kids at summer camp to hold and enjoy but didn't want to worry about a whole flock of city dwelling chickens. After playing this game successfully all summer, my friend's husband impulsively put some eggs in the incubator early this fall and hatched out some beautiful and random mutt babies. One of these mutts was born with a club foot and so she and two others were given to me to start my city flock. I was planning to order some favorelles in the spring to start a tiny city flock, but I got surprise fall babies instead. Anyhow, the chicks are now between 5-7 weeks old.

    The problem:
    Two of the three chicks in my city flock look to be cockerels. I need city hens.

    The solution:
    My country friend says she will happily trade out my cockerels for two pullets.

    The question:
    Is it better for my little club-footed girl to live with the boys she knows and the established pecking order they currently have this winter and then for me to introduce new favorelle chicks in the spring when the cockerels move out; or is it better to trade out the boys now for some similar aged and similar family girls? If I am taking up the trade in offer this fall, do I trade both boys at once or do I trade the definite cockerel and keep the most likely cockerel for a little longer to ease the transition?

    Thanks! All opinions are appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    No matter how many you trade, whether they are together or apart, each flock will have to address the pecking order and go through all that again. They also have to go through it when they move to a new location. So, you are not gonna save one chick from pecking order issues by keeping her with another and trading them both out.

    Any time new chickens are being introduced to other flocks, it's ALWAYS easier on THEM if you introduce more than one at a time. A solo chicken can be unmercifully harassed and pecked and chased and often injured by the others. If they have each other, they tend to support each other, and won't be lonely during the period of time they're being "shown how we do it HERE in THIS flock" by the other chickens. Plus, more than one also divides the attention.....

    So, if you suspect you have two cockerels, I'd trade them both out at the same time. You aren't going to be able to "save" the little girl from pecking order issues whether she goes to a new flock or stays at your location.

    Newcomers aren't ALWAYS low on the totum pole - sometimes they get higher in pecking order than you think they would.

    I hope this has helped you make your decision.

    Good luck! We people find pecking order issues really painful, but it's just natural for chickens. It's how they do things. The longer we mess with it, the more the whole process gets delayed. As long as there's no bloodshed, it's best not to interfere; feather pulling, pecking, chasing and squawking are normal parts of the process.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd trade the boys out and get two pullets now. I think the younger they are the easier it is. Young birds are used to finding their footing so to speak. Plus, when the boys start feeling like men, they could gang up on her and that just would not be a pretty picture [​IMG]
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I agree with donrae. Younger birds are generally still working out the pecking order and are not so insistent upon holding their position. Carefully monitor the introduction to assure that the compromised pullet is not overly picked upon.
     
  5. WYOwhy

    WYOwhy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2010
    Wyoming
    So, when I take my cockerels out to the country what I should I be looking for in the trade, besides the obvious: girly looking chickens?

    Clean appearance, bright eyes, shiny feathers, pest-free legs, docile, happy and fat? Right? I'm trading with my friend - 18 of her chickens got their start in my yard - so I'm not worried about being scammed or about getting sick birds, I just want to be wise about my tiny city flock.

    What about the age? Should I go for older pullets or chicks of about the same age as Io?

    Also, I read that the best time of day to introduce new flock members is in the evening. Will it totally upset my clubfooted girl to be alone for a day while I make the trade?

    Thanks all! I appreciate your advice as I learn the ropes of managing a flock.
     

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