Early Integration

This is a follow-up to my last post, in which I was noted that the Littles were looking like feathered sardines in the grow-up coop.

My initial plan had been to keep them all separated for another 2-3 weeks, but after some comments from various people, I started to rethink it.

Yesterday morning, I opened the door and let the Littles go outside into the pasture with the bog flock.  I was nervous, and watched them all closely for not only harassment, but in case they were harassing Claire’s Wee Ones.

There was some feather-pulling and a lot of squawking, but there was no overt harassment.

The Littles divided their time between their tunnels (a safe zone) and the run for most of the day.  By the end of day, more of them were venturing into the broader pasture.

Claire kept her babies near the run and barn steps, and Dots and the older girls hung out in the pasture.

There was some intermingling as the hens went to lay eggs and Claire moved about with her babies.

Dots came into the run at one point to ‘check out these new kids.’  He walked right up to the four biggest roosters -three Buff Orpingtons and one Australorp – and presented himself to them.  He bucked and growled and then turned and walked off.  I figure that means he has deemed them to be non-threatening.

When I checked back with them at bedtime, four of the Rhode Island Red hens were sleeping on roosts with the Littles.

No one was injured, no one was killed.  Everyone was tucked in sleepy and ready for bed.

This was a far cry from last year when Gold Boy tried to kill one of the little RiRs by forcing it into a corner and pecking without mercy until  DH and I pulled him off the poor thing.

It was only supposed to be a trial run, to see how they’d do, but I think I’m letting this Integration stand.

Here are some pictures yesterday’s adventure.

7 thoughts on “Early Integration

    1. Thank you!!! 🙂 I tend to think so, but I might be a bit biased, having raised them all. I’m really enjoying stalking your Dashwoods, too. I’ve been silently following since you brought them home. 🙂

      I currently have 34 birds. The older set consist of 11 Rhode Island red hens, 2 Golden Comets (rooster and hen) and 1 extra rooster, a cross between the Comet and a RiR. He was hatched this past fall and raised in the coop all winter, all by himself.

      My younger group were all brought home from the feed store in March. They are 6 sexlinked pullets (I call them my Mystery Bin Girls), 6 Buff Orpingtons (4 roos, 2 hens) and 5 Black Australorps (4 hens, 1 roo).

      My YOUNGEST group were just hatched out last week, after one of my RiRs decided to broody. They are (again) RiR/Comet cross…3 of them. Too early to tell hen or roo, but they’re adorable!

      I’ll be down to 29 in a few weeks,, as the extra roos will be headed off to Freezer Camp. I can’t keep 7 roosters.

      I had one other Black Australorp rooster, but we rehomed him to a farm with a flock he could call his own.

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      1. Wow, that is impressive! I almost got a buff orpington but the breed descriptions made me believe they were super docile and I wanted more adventurous birds. How do you find yours? And do they tend to get broody? You must live in a rural area that you can have so many. The city lets me have as many as six without special permit so we decided to build for 5 and start with 4 and see how it goes. No roos in my bunch I hope! It must be fun to have your chickens hatch and raise their own chicks!

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      2. I find the Buffs to be very sweet little birds. They are cuddle bugs, yeah, very mild mannered. Even the boys. Mine are young and they are a bit curious, so they explore in groups of 3 or 4. I got them because of the color. I hope they go broody when they are old enough, but they’re only 13weeks old now, too young for babies!

        I’ve had two hens go broody since we’ve had our chickens. It’s been such an adventure! I think letting them raise their own is exciting.

        We live in a rural area, in what’s left of my parents’ farm. The barn is old and no good for animals, so we converted per of it to a chicken coop. The chicks live in the barnyard and pasture below. They have a pond and a tree. I think it’s some kind of tree, or a very overgrown bush for shade. They are happy and it’s fun to watch them.

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      3. Maybe when the chance comes to add to the flock I will get a couple of buffs. I can imagine how fun it must be to let the hens raise their own! It sounds like you live in a great area. So envious! 🙂

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  1. Glad everyone got along! Integration can always be tricky. We are also in the same boat as we have a set of 8 week old Black Stars and Australorps and a wee little one at just over a week old. I’m going to keep everyone separated until everyone is ready for layer feed. I can’t seem to keep the layers out of the baby food and the younger ones out of the layer food. Hopefully all that time for the young ones in a run that the older ones can visit through will be long enough for everyone to get acquainted before integrating day comes!

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  2. I’m just mixing all the food now. So there is chick feed, grower/finisher and layer all in the same bowl. I learned with Pip that he was going to just eat what his momma ate anyway, so there is no point in trying to segregate the food.

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