When to encourage consolidation?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cassandra, May 22, 2008.

  1. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

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    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    Ok. I have six grown hens who have been living together for several months and getting along fine. (The two rir pick on the others, but nothing vicious.)

    They live in a run with a coop attached.

    I also have five 2 month old pullets. About a month ago, I did some changing around. Here's what I did:

    Built some nest boxes that I could access from outside the run so eggs would be easier for me to collect. For that reason, I wanted to deny the hens access to the coop for a while so they would become accustomed to laying in the nest boxes (which they love, by the way.) They have a covered side of the run with roosts to sleep on and the weather has been warm.

    I moved the pullets (then one month old) to the coop.

    I put up a weld-wire barrier over the coop access hole. I made a hole in it big enough so that the little ones could go in and out of the run, but small enough so that the grown hens could not go into the coop.

    Got it? Babies have in and out access to run and coop. Hens have acess to the run only.

    I have been trying to get the babies to spend more and more time out in the run. When I feed treats, I only put them in the run. Then the brave babies will dart out, grab a bite and dash back into the coop where all of them fight over it. LOL

    I recently had to make the access hole to the coop bigger because the pullets are growing a lot. Now, the smallest of the grown chickens can actually squeeze in there if she wants to. I saw her do it once, but she ran right back out like it was a haunted house or something.

    The little ones are getting BIG, but they still get picked on pretty roughly. Soon, I'm going to have to make the hole so big that I might as well just take the fence down completely because the big ones will be able to get through it.

    Do you think it would be safe to try them out with no barricade, during times when I am there to supervise? It may be a little tricky to get them all back on the side of the fence where I want them when I am ready to separate them again.

    Am I doing it right? How does this usually work out?

    Cassandra
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    It's always best to introduce the newbies with visual seperation. Just a simple wire barrior, with seperate feed and water works best. Once the older birds have watched the young ones for weeks, then it will be a simple introduction. the pecking order is of course on going, however reduced alot.

    I would prefer to wait til the peeps are 20 weeks old, similiar in size and able to get away from the existing flock, when the pecking order is being established.

    bigzio
     
  3. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

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    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    Quote:That is how it is now. But, if I wait until 20 weeks, they all will be about the same size. I have no problem with that except for at some point in the near future, the little ones are going to outgrow their 'hole.' So, if I am to continue to keep them separated, they will have to be completely separated with no access to the run at all. (Because if the hole is big enough for them to get out, it will be big enough for the hens to get in.)

    Thanks for you input.

    Cassandra
     
  4. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Oct 13, 2007
    California
    I just introduced my "babies" into the big girl coop.

    I have 8 standards - about 10 months old.
    4 bantams - one is a rooster.


    My babies = 4 little 8 week olds. (Araucana and EE)

    I let them all free-range in my back yard, for a few days, together.
    One day when putting them all back in after the big girls got away too far, I was tired and scooted the whole lot back into the run.... babies and all.
    I watched for a while and they did ok, but as an added safety, my hubby and I took the brooder into the coop. The babies slept in their brooder that first night - closed in away from the big girls and adult bantams.

    The next day we cut a hole in the wire on the front of the brooder so the babies could get in and out - a small hole - the standards can't get in - but the bantams are now laying eggs in there [​IMG]

    I also put up a small piece of fencing in the run - kinda rounded a corner, I made a hole on each side - also small so the little ones could get in (and the bantams) but the big girls can't.

    THey've all been together now about 2 weeks - we have been moving the babies to the roost every night to sleep with the big girls - and all is going really well.

    My coop is rather large for the number of chickens, so the babies can always get away if they want and none of them feel cramped. My coop is 20x7 or so.... my run isn't very big - its about the same size as the coop - hence I let them all out to free-range every day if the weather is good.
     

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