Mixing the Flocks

The Gems and the Ladies know each other – and for the last couple of years have foraged on the lawn at the same time with no issues. But because these two flocks are housed separately, they keep to themselves. The Gems forage up towards the meadow and the Ladies stay in the woodland border near their Little Barn. I want to put them all in the Big Barn this winter and so I’ve been trying to get them to interact. For this, I bring out the cracked corn – a treat that none of the hens, even the shyest, can resist.

When I shake the container and call them over to a neutral spot on the lawn, their personalities become obvious. Pearl, the cochin, hangs back, and then pecks at the edge of the group. Veronica, the Marans, watches from a distance and cautiously approaches. It’s no surprise that Twiggy comes running. Not only is she always voraciously hungry, but she has lived with both groups.



Quite awhile back, Misty was banished from the group of girls that she grew up with because she was chasing and pecking at them. She learned to fit in with the Gems, who did not allow her to get to the top of the pecking order. Unlike Twiggy, though, she is cautious about making the reacquaintance of her former roommates. This is not because her temperament has mellowed, but rather because she is going through a dramatic molt, and she knows she’s not at the top of her game.



In fact, because a few of the more dominant hens are going through the molt, this is the perfect time to combine the flocks. The dynamic is in flux – top-ranked hens are unsure of their status – and so a new order should sort itself out quickly. At least, that’s the hope.

I’m planning on a couple of more meet-and-greets on the lawn. Agatha seems to be enjoying all of these interactions. She’s even including the goats in her social circle.

Agatha and Pip

If only they were all like Agatha!


  1. Hi Terry, it’s been awhile. This process of integrating is going to be so interesting. Will be tuning in. Hope all is well at your place.

  2. good morning Terry, does this mean you are getting new chicks in the spring?

      • I don’t either. My three ladies are the same age as the gems and I’m only getting eggs from one at the moment. I think I have room for three or four if they happen to get along…

  3. I have had 3 new silkies in my quarantine coop for 2 weeks now. Next week I “hope” to begin introductions daily over the course of a week and then move the newbies in with the big girls. I’m excited and nervous all in one. I have been battling mites or lice (I think) and have been working (dusting, vac’ing, new bedding, wood ash, neem, nu-stock) to clear up whatever has then head twitching and wrestless and preening through the night. I don’t witness any signs by day. But despite my efforts the twitching and a restlessness continue. If only they could talk!

      • Oh dear! I have 1 Dominique (the boss), 1 salmon faverolle, 2 Wyandotte’s, and one silkie. The big girls are very good to the current silkie. There was another silkie and 2 polish who all decided to crow and had to be re-homed.
        Today I noticed one of the new silkies has suddenly developed very long wattles. I dare say another roo. I have the worst luck with bantams. I am moving a chicken tunnel into the garden where the big girls free range to begin introductions. Fingers crossed.

          • Hopefully they won’t think they are tiny Pomeranians. Big Momma Waddlesworth (my extra huge wyandotte) has taken a couple pokes at him the last 2 weeks. Until now he has basically been ignored or treated like just one of the girls. But Big Momma has been a bit cranky. Shorter days and autumn rains mean less free range time and less foraging. My Wyandotte’s are master foragers! They currently have 22 square ft of coop/ pen space per bird.

  4. Agatha’s new coat looks wonderful. My youngest granddaughter who is 3 asked if she could paint one of my girls so she looked pretty like Agatha, they make you smile at that age :)
    Hope the move goes smoothly when it happens, will you shut them in the run just before dusk or earlier in the day ?

  5. Sussex hens are the bomb! Mine right now is looking porcupine ish, she’s molting!

    Do all the girls like the goats?

  6. Looks like the flocks are slowly warming up to each other. Integration always takes time. Will you be getting new chicks for the Little Barn in Spring 2016 or will it be Phoebe’s home only?