Integrating Chicken Flocks

After buying one set of chickens and then two weeks later buying another set of chickens (if you want more information check out the previous post), we successfully integrated chicken flocks. "Look at us!" my husband and I thought, "We are such great chicken farmers!" Just kidding, we realized that it was easy enough. They were young, they didn't have dominance set up yet, and they were close enough in age. All we had to do was stick the two groups together and we had a flock! 15 chickens.

That little green-roofed building is the coop. Obviously, the outside looks terrible but I promise the inside is perfect! We placed them in the coop, fixed the run after a few predators took a couple, and finally felt like we were in a good place. David and I were sad about losing the few since we were down to 13 with no guarantee they weren't all roosters.

If you want to know the difference between pullets, roos, straight-run, either-sex, etc. I will do a blog post in the future. For now, check out this community-created resource.

And then we adopted a few...

My mom saw on Facebook, one of her former co-workers "rescued" chickens and she lived in the suburbs so she could not take them. Long story short, the owners no longer lived on their farm and the chicken coop flooded. David and I agreed to take them since we were going to get eggs that much sooner. It was pouring rain and this woman drove them up in her large dog kennel (which actually was a great idea and I'll explain in a little bit).

Through some finagling, we realized that these chicken flocks were not going to be friends. The newer chickens were older and the first flock was still young but definitely had a pecking order. What we decided to do was in the opening of the chicken coop we put the dog kennel. Added some straw and this created a small coop. The chickens could hear each other and get used to the presence of each other without fighting. We did this for 24 hours and then let them intermingle for nighttime.

They were tired and didn't want to fight, they wanted to sleep - so this allowed us to have them get used to each other. One caveat I would give you, we knew that the rescued chickens were not sick. If you are picking them up from a Farm Swap page on Facebook or in some other manner where you cannot trust their history you need to keep them separated for a lot longer. Watch the new flock and make sure they are not carrying anything. It would be really sad to infect your own flock.

Friends?

After they spent some time together, our flocks are successfully integrated. It's so nice to have fresh eggs months before our other flock was ready to start laying. They are not friends and frequently exist in separate parts of the run. But they are officially integrated, we are getting eggs and both are fine hanging out with each other.

If you ever have any questions about integrating your flocks, just send me a message on Instagram!