Yesterday and again today I gave Autumn some time with the rest of the flock. It went really well. I had found that putting another girl in with Autumn didn’t really work.
A couple of days ago I tried putting Salmon in with Autumn. It wasn’t long before Salmon was chasing Autumn so I took her out again. I then tried putting Gold in with Autumn because they often dust bath together with one girl on either side of the wire.
Gold didn’t bother Autumn at all but she did hog the food dish and Autumn didn’t have the confidence to go to the food. I decided that there isn’t really anything to be gained by putting a girl in with Autumn. I don’t want her to be unable to eat in peace and she has the flocks’ company from the other side of the wire.
The next step was to give Autumn time with the flock. I let her out of her side of the run but kept it closed to the flock. This makes it easier to get her back in when I think she has had enough.
Both yesterday and today it went really well. Most of the flock didn’t take any notice of Autumn. It was just Storm and Dot that chased her a bit. Storm used to chase Dot so I wasn’t surprised she chased Autumn too. Dot had been bottom girl until the new girls arrived so I wasn’t surprised that Dot also chased her. Dot had to let her know that she is now below Dot in the pecking order.
There wasn’t anything nasty though and Autumn was able to get out of their way.
I think Autumn would soon settle in with the flock. It’s a shame that she needs to be on grower pellets for at least another month.
I have been researching mixing girls of different ages. It’s important for the younger ones to have grower pellets because they can’t process the calcium in layer pellets and it can build up around their kidneys and cause lasting damage and shorten their life.
It says that if you have to mix different ages (if you haven’t space to separate them) then you should put the whole flock on the food the youngest member needs. If the laying girls are on growers they can top up their calcium from oyster shell, which we have in a hopper, on offer all the time.
With this in mind if I find it is becoming difficult to keep Autumn separate for another month I will put the whole flock on growers until Autumn is old enough for layers. It’s never been a problem when their are several girls together on growers but it is hard to see Autumn on her own and she makes it obvious that she wants to come out and join the flock.
I will play it by ear and make a decision when I feel the time is right. I don’t want to do anything that sets her back by her not being able to get to the food easily. I may start increasing her time with the flock and then put her back in her part of the run to eat and drink in peace. This was what I did with Mango and Cloud and that worked well.
I am very happy with how things are progressing.