Trouble Merging Flocks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by slimsalmon, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. slimsalmon

    slimsalmon Hatching

    Apr 21, 2008
    Last night I added 10 Red Star pullets that are about 4-5 months old to my flock of 3 barred rock roosters and 11 hens which are about all 6.5 months old. Today the new pullets have been avoiding the rest of the flock and wanting to sit inside and eat feed all day instead of foraging outdoors. As the day's gotten hotter and the barred rocks have been coming into the coop, the new pullets have been trying to avoid them by hiding in the nest boxes (and making a huge mess).

    I was wondering if this is a temporary thing and if so, how long will it likely take for the birds to all get used to each other? Also I was wondering how much of the behavior I'm seeing from the new red stars is because of age, breed, upbringing, or just the result of being new.

    I'm thinking that if the red stars don't start getting out of the co-op more, I might have to try a week or so of locking them outside during the day. But that would involve some logistics, because the barred rocks are starting to lay and I'm trying to get them to use their nest boxes.
  2. Kentucky

    Kentucky In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008

    The introduction process can be a slow and somewhat difficult process, the wife's ever changing flock of different ages and breeds has been challenging

    However, thus far I have been able to resolve all problems without any injured chickens. At present, free ranging, treat feeding is a tranquil process among the entire flock.

    Using separate cages then finally joint cages to get the (5mth) bantam rooster to accept the (4mth) bantam hen was the most difficult. The remaining task is to now get the bantams back in the pen and coup with the other larger chickens(rooster & six hens), then I'll be at 100%.

    Simply put, if you have the introduction process to a point that they are not attacking each other, that's probably good enough. As I understand it a normal "pecking order" is acceptable as long as no injuries.

  3. fatguyaz

    fatguyaz In the Brooder

    Sep 2, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    i was watching some chickens for a neighbor when she went out of town for a week. Her hens actually were hatchmates of my girls, so i figured they would all get along, since they were all sisters... not so! They had been seperated for only about 2 months and they were quite hostile towards each other. They all stayed in sepearte areas when free ranging, and in the coop. No blood, only a few pecks when they were closed in the coop together. After a week, they could, at least, stand near each other without pecking... short memorys on these girls!!
  4. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    It takes alot of time and patience to intergrate different flocks into one. First, you have to expose them to each other, but keep them separated. Fence off an area of the run where they can see each other and get to know each other. After a couple of weeks of this, remove the barrier and let them mingle. Of course, they won't really mingle, the older ones will chase off the younger ones and the younger ones will scream like they are being beat, but eventually, they will be a flock. I still have certain hens that always peck at the other birds. But, that's just normal.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Once there is an established pecking order, any changes will toss it up. After a month quarantine for even healthy looking birds, let them range together and then keep them together. Fighting can occur up to a month or so after but usually not that long. A new order will be established and all will be good! Try not to intervene if there are no large blood sheds, since that often seems to extend the integration process.
  6. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Songster

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    We have a large coop with three units fenced off we have chickens in all three They are 19 weeks old and 13 weeks old they have always been able to see each other but not touch each other My question is how should I go about changing the flocks. We built the coop for Orpingtons,Polish and Cochins. When we ordered we figured it would be easy to separte them later but due to an additional order being sent 6 weeks later they are different ages What i would like to do it is separate them by breed Do you think they are old enough to do this. I have noticed the larger breed orpingtons are pecking the polish bald on the head so I feel we should separate them now Sorry if I highjacked this thread I was about to post as well. Micki
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I would separate them.

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