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Will My Flocks Ever Get Along?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Peaches Lee, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two free-ranging flocks that I am trying to integrate. I'm new to chickens, so I don't really know their flock behaviors. I have 8 EEs (4 roos, 4 hens) and 14 Golden Comet/Production reds (1 roo, 13 hens). The EEs are 12 wks, the Goldens are 10 wks.

    So far two EE roos have been, to me, a bit rough with the Golden hens, biting their necks and pulling out feathers. How much of this is okay? As soon as this happens I seperate the flocks because I worry for my hens. Do I let them just work it out, or am I at risk of them killing one another? I also have them housed seperately. I don't have a way for them to meet through a screen either [​IMG].

    Well thanks for any input. [​IMG]
     
  2. gettinaclue

    gettinaclue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm having a problem very similar to yours. I have some layers over a year old and some chicks around 3 months old. I put a "mini" run on the end of our regular run and let the chicks stay there for a while to get everyone acquainted with each other through the fence.

    The mini run is nothing fancy. It's just fence that has been attached on one side of the run to the other. It's very temporary - easily removed. I'll be taking it down this weekend. All I have to do is roll up the fensing and put it away. It isn't sunk into the ground or attached to anything other than the two end posts of the existing run.

    When I integrated, I made the mistakes of not doing it at night and keeping everyone in a space to small for them. I was trying to cram 16 chickens in a space only big enough for 8, and that led to some fights that should never have happened. I had to put my favorite polish chick down because of some pretty serious injuries.

    Now, I just let everyone out to free range during the day until the run can be expanded. That way, the chicks can get away from the bullies.

    I don't seperate them. They separate themselves, and now after a couple of weeks, I don't have any more problems...but again, they aren't all cooped up together.

    I would say just keep an eye out and make sure no fights get to serious. Chickens sure can be mean to each other.

    Good luck to you and your chickens!
     
  3. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    gettinaclue--thanks for your thoughts. I wish I could just be a little less concerned, but it really freaks me out when they attack the hens. I don't know why they have to be SO mean! [​IMG]
     
  4. chicklover16

    chicklover16 queen of flirts

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    I have the same problem [​IMG]
     
  5. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    For starters you have too many roosters. The ratio is 1 rooster for 10 -12 hens. The girls are gonna get wore out by the amount of boys with them. I would recomend keeping the best rooster that is good with both girls and you. If you have the space, stick the extra boys in a bachlor pen and try each on out with the girls until you figure who is right for your flock.

    As far as integrating the younger group, I go by size. You want them to be really close in size so they have a chance in integrating. Also, make an integration pen next to the main coop to whete they can see, hear, and get to know each other. It is recommended to keep them in the integration pen for at least 2 weeks.

    This will make integrating go smoother. There will still be scuffles while the new pecking order is determined, but it should be milder. If you do have a bully that is being too ruff, then pull the bully out for a few days. This will knock the bully down the pecking order when reintroduced and should hopefully stop the aggression.

    Sometimes bullies don't stop and will need to be invited to dinner.

    Hope all works out and you have peace in your flock.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Every year I have what are called subflocks within my free-ranged flock. This year I will have > 10 in an area that is less than 8 acres. Each subflock is derived from group of related hens and single rooster that all nest together or start off as a group in brooder. In free range setting the groups have rank, and sometimes territories they actively defend. To get around potential of more dominant groups denying subordinates access to food, I set up feeding stations that are at least 150 feet apart and when possible such that line of sight broken between them. Movement is fluid between feeding stations. Also helpful to have multiple day roost. To avoid problems associated with roosting squables, multiple roosting sites also maintained.

    This whole arrangment approximates what red jungle fowl do with exception much higher density of birds made possible by application of feed.

    When birds are juvenile, sex ratio not important. I do not even distinguish sexes when it comes to managment strategy to control social strife. That is delayed until adulthood.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  7. GoChick

    GoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 one year old hens. another flock with 7 three month olds. they free range all day, have 2 feeding stations and several waterers spreaded through abount one acre. My run has a roof and is covered completely with hardware cloth, so I leave the pop door to the coop open at night. At first, the little 7 would sleep in the run ( I have some roosts there), but little by little, they started sleeping insode the coop, with the big girls. at first there were some fights and screams, and the little ones would run out of the coop, but now they figure out that if they wait until all the big ones get in and settled, they can come in and roost with them.

    And more and more they are free ranging together - but still cannot eat at the same time the big ones eat. sometimes they steal treats from the big ones.

    Chickens are funny...
     
  8. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I think I have come up with a game plan. Right now the Goldens are in a horse stall next to Silkies, I'm going to move the Silkies to a new stall, which will leave it open for the EEs. Here they will be able to see each other on the roosts and nesting boxes and hopefully [​IMG] learn to get along!

    I do think I am going to establish a bachelor pen. I did have more hens but a stupid dog killed them. I do have the rooster picked out, he is so far the calmest, sweetest one, he's been that way since he was young. However, he has curled toes. I wonder if it would be ok to incubate eggs from him in the future?

    Thanks again. [​IMG]
     
  9. Chicky Monkey

    Chicky Monkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I must be the wimpiest chicken owner ever. I had to find a new home for five younger chickens that the seven older ones were pecking on, even though they were almost the same size and I had put them together, but separated by fencing, for over a month. I cried all day and gave them to an experienced owner who was thrilled to have such friendly chickens. I missed them terribly, though!
     
  10. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a mixed flock who free ranges most every day. My mother, who lives next door, has 6 Golden Comets with 1 Wyandotte. If they are both out at the same time, one of the smallest hens she has will go after my flock, including my Jersey Giants. The rest of her's stay together and feed, but the one looks for any chance to prove her strength. I belive she is the top hen in her flock and is trying to enforce that with the outsiders.
     

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