As I mentioned in my last chicken post about adding three more chooks to our flock, that we got them home and it was suddenly very clear that they could not be integrated after a few days of 'getting to know one another' like we thought would happen. The new girls, or as we are calling them, 'The Little Sisters' are only about 10 weeks old. The original chooks are over a year old now, and being affectionately referred to as 'The Big Sisters'. (Which was sort of a dumb idea, as now every time I mention 'Little Sisters' I start singing the Elvis song). Anyways, the size difference is huge. We sort of forgot that 10 week old pullets are not very big. Of course there will be an adjustment period at some point, but we could hardly put three tiny chooks in with three full sized chooks (one of them is a BIG chook, not mentioning any names, Princess Layer) and risk the fall out being worse than just integrating same sized chooks with each other.
Luckily, we had already planned on extending their chook run (since we were going to have a total of 6 chooks), so we had ordered more 'pet enclosure' from eBay, which came the day after we got the chooks (phew). I also bought a pet 'cage' or carrier from a local pet store, and using a large canvas tarp that we had, made the Little Sisters a temporary home too. It means they can be completely, safely locked in at night, as the chook run doesn't have any flooring. The Big Sisters continue to stay in their own chook house at night, which has a fox-proof flooring. Eventually all six of them will share the main chook house, it can hold up to 10 chooks apparently. Both lots of chooks are let out during the day into their own chook runs, which now have a double cover over them, to stop Tweet Tweet from flying out, and from the neighbours cat thinking it can get in. So far so good on both accounts. (The Big Sisters still have their supervised free-ranging time in the garden too). These chook runs have an adjoining fenceline, so they can still see/ hear/ smell and harrass each other. Well, of course, we don't want the Big Sisters harrassing the little ones, but it is all part of it, and best to let them get used to each this way.