mixing old and new flocks of chickens

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Friends are moving and they have two flocks of chickens they would like me to take off their hands. They are a New Hampshire Cross and nine of them have been laying almost a year and six of them are about to start laying. They are being kept seperate at this time. Because I already have three seperate flocks of my own and space is limited. Will I be asking for trouble if I combine these two flocks? I know that their being of the same breed is a plus but I am not sure about the age difference. They are the same size only one flock looks a little older of course.

-- Steve Carder (stevecarder@hotmail.com), August 28, 2001


I'm having good success with mine. I have 14 hens and two roosters that I raised last year. This year I raised 14 hens and 4 roosters from chicks and finally housed them all together starting about 2 1/2 weeks ago. The only problem I have is that my coop isn't quite big enough for that many chickens, so I have to get up early to let them out on range before they start getting cranky with each other.

-- Russell Hays (rhays@sstelco.com), August 28, 2001.

I have not had success in mixing chickens! I raised 20 Golden Comets from chicks this spring and then put them in our secure outdoor enclosure. I got five "Easter egg" chicks a month after I got the first batch so I kept them in the house intheir carboard box a month after the Golden Comets were released. For the first week, I kept the new chicks in a wire cage but inside the enclosure thinking the chickens would all get used to each other. ThenI turned them all loose together.

They stayed together a month and I finally partioned off a seperate place for the five newest chickens. The Golden comets wouldn't let them have any treats from the garden; pecked at them; and just generally bossed them around. They have been seperated now for about a week and two days and are much much much happer. These are the only chickens I've ever raised so I don't know why this happened like this!

-- Suzy in Bama (slgt@yahoo.com), August 28, 2001.

Another trick that sometimes works is turning them together during the night. I just added 3 new ones a few days ago. I don't even think they realize there are any new ones in there. That's usually what I do & have had good luck with it.

-- Wendy (weiskids@yahoo.com), August 29, 2001.

I just added 2 young pullets yesterday to my 1, 2 and 3 year old hens and they all act like they've known each other forever. I add the new ones at night and by morning they all think they're old buddies. Of course, I have the advantages of diversity and small flock size. I only keep 6 laying hens, so it's a small flock. I like to try out different breeds of chickens, so I get different looking birds all the time so there will never be an odd-man-out (or should I say, odd- hen-out) with these girls since they all look vastly different to start with.

-- Sheryl in ME (radams@sacoriver.net), August 29, 2001.

I haven't had much luck integrating young hens with old ones, either. Doesn't seem to make much difference to a rooster - a hen is a hen, but the new ones are the lowest on the totem pole and the brunt of all the pecking. Consequently, I have chickens in 2 chicken houses, and 6 that live with the ducks as I let them out of the chx pens one by one as they were pecked on. They are all so happy having the run of the place w/no rooster I haven't the heart to put them back in a pen. They are of 3 breeds and get along fine with each other, but I've found that when they are penned the largest number of one breed rule the roost. They have large pens and are not bored, just seems to be the nature of the beast.

-- Duffy (hazelm@tenforward.com), August 30, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ