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We have to mix flocks, probably in the next few hours.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by greginshasta, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    I saw this coming, hoped it wouldn't, but here it is and I guess we have to deal with it...

    We have 9 hens, 4 months old: 2 BO, 2 SLW, 2 Barred Rock, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Red Sex Link, 1 Australorp. We have the new coop/shed, intended for our 9 with room for some growth - the coop section is 6x9 attached to a 8x12 covered outdoor run.

    Neighbor has 6 hens, 6 months old, some of which are laying (and have been doing so for several weeks). 1 EE, 1 BR, 2 Australorp, 1 BO, 1 RIR or Red Sex Link.

    Their coop is a piece of crap 10x12 shed that was originally used for lawnmower storage. It has one completely open end that was closed up over the warm/dry months with chicken wire. Holes in the sides, similarly, were covered up with chicken wire. The floor is dirt covered with a couple bales of straw.

    Winter took it's time to arrive, but arrive it has. For the past 48 hours we have had snow, then wind and rain, now just continual rain. The straw is soaked and nothing blocks the wind.

    A few months ago, the gal next door was injured (broken back), lost her job, claims no disability income, has no money to care for her chickens. We've been buying the feed for them for the past 3 months.

    We're discussing the need to move these 6 hens into our coop, as soon as we hear from our BYC consulting team.

    I know it would be desirable to quarantine the birds, but that's not an option. I don't know where that would happen that doesn't include the cold and wet shed they live in now.

    I'm thinking about moving them over to our coop tonight after ours have gone to roost. Or we could take them there now while everyone is awake and sit around watching to see what happens.

    Please - what do you advise here?
     
  2. HenHaven

    HenHaven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    Yikes! I hear the urgency in your message!

    Can you put them in something like cardboard boxes in a garage at least for the night? pet carriers? They really don't need much room just to sleep. Heck, adults are shipped with very little space.

    I hate the idea of just putting them in with your girls. You know all the whys and wherefores. I would try to make do with a dry box(es) or something until tomorrow when you can make better arrangements and have time to give it more thought.
     
  3. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    This is ugly. We brought over the RIR and our Sex Link is showing very territorial behaviour. Wants nothing to do with this newcomer and attacking/pecking the RIR. Can't imagine what we would see if all 6 were moved over.

    As for putting them in something termporary for tonight, I'm not sure what that will do for us as the space we have really seems to be too small to add the 6 neighbors. What would we do the next day? Grrr...
     
  4. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2007
    Georgia
    If you have been feeding these chickens and monitoring their health over a month I would think that would be a decent equivalent to quarantine. It appears you know these chickens well. I do not have much experience with mixing flocks so I would not be able to advise on the pecking order thing.
     
  5. Mac

    Mac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2007
    South Central PA
    I'm no expert, but if this is your neighbor, how close? Have you been to her house or her yours? What I'm getting at is if you are close, and her chickens seem healthy why not just bring them over now? Anything airborn or carried on feet have already happened if you guys go back and forth. Yeah, you might get mites or worms, but they are treatable easily enough. Its not like you are bringing them from an auction site or worse. You got a garage? You could try that.

    Hope someone else chimes in soon!
    Mac
     
  6. HenHaven

    HenHaven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I guess it depends on how much you want to help this person and the chickens. If you can buy some time with boxes or carriers, heavy duty plastic or tarps tacked on the shed could do a lot to keep out the elements. But it really sounds like the chickens need to be rehomed. Six-month-old pullets are pretty easy to find homes for... Anyhoo, good luck, I feel for you...
     
  7. nuchickmama

    nuchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Rock Island, TN
    We mixed a flock about 3 months ago. After a quarantine period, with them free ranging and ours in the run we waited until night time and added the 30 new birds. We now have 77 chickens , 2 guineas, and 5 ducks together. Of course , the next day there was some disharmony and it did re-establish the pecking order, but no injuries. They still pick at each other at times, but no real problems.
     
  8. ZuniBee

    ZuniBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2007
    Zuni, Virginia
    I was just as worried when I had to mix two flocks although I didn't have to worry about quarantine since they were both mine. Since you have been feeding them for three months I don't think you have anything to worry about either.

    In my case I had a roo in each coop. I decided to mix them at night in their coop. After dark I just set them in the coop on a perch and left them there. I watched from the window and there was some pecking but in the dark they mostly slept. The next morning the roosters were fighting and there was an occasional fight between hens but they all started getting along very quickly. Of course the two roos tend to fight every now and then but nothing bad.

    I think the hard part is letting chickens be chickens. Put them together and let them determine who is the dominant bird and they will be just fine.
     
  9. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2007
    Iowa
    Quote:Well, when you introduce them, personally I would introduce all 6 at once, so that there is a more equal numbers between the veterans and the newbies.


    Anyway you can see if any local chicken folks want them? I would looove a six month old pullet of any of those breeds right now that is laying eggs.
     
  10. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    ok, here's the status.

    It was really clear there would be trouble in the hen house if we forced the situation tonight. A few of the girls were not only attacking the RIR, but each other.

    We split the coop across the middle so that a 4x6 area is divided from our girls with chicken wire. We created some 2x3 roosts, a nesting box and provided food and water.

    This will allow them to be warm and dry for the next couple nights. It's not nearly as cold tonight as it was last week, but the wind and rain are howling. I'm going to try and close the holes in the walls of their shed and return the girls by end of week.

    So we have wet straw in that shed. I suppose take it out and replace it with dry stuff? Will it dry out if it doesn't get wet again?

    I'm hoping the ground under it is mostly dry as there are several inches of straw in there.

    Ideas?
     

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