Chicken Flock Integration - Part 1 | Home & Garden
It's time to start thinking about integrating my little chicken family of mother hen and four children into my other flock of four laying hens. In fact it is from this flock that the mother hen originally came but she has been gone from that flock for 2 months and as a result has sort of lost her "status". Chickens have a complex social order that must be worked out every time a group of hens get together and live in a group. This is called a "pecking order" and we use that term regularly in our day to day conversation to describe essentially the same idea among people, co-workers, family etc. So as soon as our broody left the coop to rear her young the four remaining ladies had to work out their pecking order. Now that they've done that we're about to upset that pecking order by not only bringing back broody but also her four chicks! This is a pretty big deal socially to a chicken and I had to to a lot of research before I plunged in here. The most successful way seems to be to give both flocks time to see each other during the day but without being able to get to one another. I did this with a simple fenced hoop house that protects the mom and chicks from the mature laying hens. They can see each other, and interact but cannot harm each other. It seems to be working very well. In about a week I will remove the hoop house in the early morning and just let them discover each other. There will be some pecking and it's important NOT to interfere with that unless they are really drawing blood. Hopefully this will be a smooth transition!