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Cube mk1 capacity and rehoming advice

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OK, two questions rolled into one, but I'll give a bit of context.

A couple of weeks ago, we were recipients of six chickens who'd needed a new home after their owner had to go back to Italy. They were part of a flock of eight birds and we needed to move quickly, so we got our Eglu Cube mk1 back from the friends we'd lent it to and that seemed to be the ticket. Our next door neighbours, who were the link between us and the birds' previous owner, took the other two birds. Unfortunately, those other two have been rather set upon by our neighbours' two resident birds, to the extent that our neighbours have now decided the remaining two from our flock will never integrate properly and so need a home.

We're happy to take those last two and to complete the flock again, but we have two concerns on which we'd like your advice. We'll be doing the deed this evening, so quick replies if possible will be much appreciated.

Firstly, the birds in the flock are ISA browns and (I think) Columbian black tails. This makes them medium sized birds. The Cube is supposed to be for 6-10 birds, but with 10 being bantams. I think 8 will be OK, but can't find anything that'll say for sure. The room for daytime, incidentally, is way more than they need so is not an issue.

Secondly, I've never tried reintroducing birds to a flock after an absence of a couple of weeks. Are they likely to come back together easily or are they more likely to act as separate flocks again?

Any thoughts much appreciated.

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Glad to hear that they'll be together again. The housing isn't generally the issue as they tend to snuggle up together regardless of how much space they have.  As you don't have an introduction coop, I'd recommend popping them in about an hour after the others have gone to roost and when it's dark, that should minimise and shenanigans.  My grandad used to swear by spraying them all with vinegar in water to 'make them all smell the same'... it's worth a try I guess.

Good luck and do keep us posted.

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The cube shouldn't be too much of an issue, I have had 6 LF orps in one, including a huge cockeral.  I'd do as DM suggests, definitely do the intros after dark when the others are in.  I have never quite experienced your scenario, but I have had to run separate flocks which shared a free range space, and then try to merge them in a short space of time due to emergencies (ie fox).  So, I did bung them in together at night and hope for the best.  They were all there in the morning and no damages.  However, in my case over time they never fully bonded as one unit but they did tolerate each other.  I think if you get over the initial bit, ie the intros, everything else will fall into place and you will manage whichever situation ends up facing you, as best you can.  In the final analysis you may be able to rehome the last 2 hens somewhere else entirely, if the worst comes to the worst.  Good Luck.

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It's still a bit of a work in progress, but generally well, I think. The issue is that one of the new recruits is quite flighty and nervous, so might just as well be wandering round in a t-shirt with "bully me" emblazoned on her back. Nor does it help that our neighbour's treatment of the wound on the back of her head made her look still more different - necessary but not ideal. That said, the two new hens seem to be much more settled after a couple of days than they were with our neighbours' hens, so I think things will be fine.

This is a good point, though, to reflect on what I've learned:

  1. The Mk1 cube is fine for 3 warrens, 3 Columbian blacktails and 2 leghorns (which is what the new hens are). There's space enough without them needing to resort to the nesting box, although the nesting box is a good bolthole should it be needed. The two new hens have made up their own minds when making themselves scarce in the henhouse has been prudent.
  2. Space outside is key, as is the ability to separate. We're lucky enough to have two feeders and two means of watering, as well as enough room for the victims to run away, so our new birds have been able to keep themselves out of conflict at the same time as being able to keep properly fed and watered.
  3. They may have been one flock only recently, but less than two weeks of separation is all it takes for reintroduction to be just as fraught with problems as with complete strangers.
  4. Administering treats is a good thing, but we need to make sure there are plenty of bits to go around otherwise it's just another thing to argue over.
  5. Leghorns are renowned as flighty, but I had no idea they'd still be able to hurdle our electric fencing after wings were clipped. Little madams!
  6. I forgot just how much the sun saps your energy. Trying to level some ground in full sun ready for a walk in run is a killer. Nevertheless, we're ready to start construction.
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