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Good afternoon, 

I have a question regarding attaching several types of run to each other. Bear with me while I try to explain the situation.

I currently have:

  • an Eglu Go Up,
  • a 2m Go Up Run, 
  • a 2m Go run (the low one - I converted my Go to a Go up a couple of years ago),and
  • a Solway Mini coop (borrowed from a neighbour)

The hens normally live within a fenced off area (about 10 x 2 meters) of the garden in summer and get the run of the whole garden in the winter.

I have two 3 year-old small hens (silkie crosses) which have been with me all their lives, and I have recently rescued three ex-barn layers (they are around 18 months old). Despite taking a lot of precautions, having a long "side-by-side" quarantine and generally being very careful, the introductions didn't go well... To cut a long story short, he small hens are totally dominated by (and totally scared of) two of the rescues (the third one is in such a bad state that she is currently at the bottom of the pecking order). To the point that they kept escaping from the fenced off area by flying/scrambling through the net (they are small enough to get through), over the net, or on the garden wall. Their wings are clipped but it makes little difference. I cannot keep them together long enough for the pecking order to be fully established and for the peace to return. So, as a temporary measure, the small hens are locked up in the Eglu Go + run and the rescues have the Solway mini and the rest of the fenced off area. 

I feel that the only way to get over this is to increase the size of the run (for safety and comfort) and put them all together, with one coop at each end. So, I am considering buying a Walk In Run and have a set up along the lines of Eglu Go Up > Go Up run > Go Run > WIR > Solway Mini. Do you think that this would work?  I can get a connector kit to go from the Go Run to the WIR but linking the Go Up run to the Go run, and the Solway Mini to the WIR might be more difficult...

Any thoughts and/or suggestions would be most welcome as it is the first time that I have such an issue with introductions :-) . 

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Don’t think you can join a Go Up run and a Go run in any way. There is a lot of size and shape difference. I think they do make a partition to the WIR run, which might be a better option.

But to be honest, not sure if mixing your two bantams with rather feisty and larger ex batts is a good idea to begin with. I understand it’s too late by now and you need to come up with a solution. But be ready to accept that the solution might be two separate chicken house holds.

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I have mixed small and large hens before without any issues; it is honestly the first time in about 10 years of hen keeping that I have such an issue introducing two groups to each other. I have had it easy until now 😂 . And to be honest, I wasn't expecting the rescues to be in such good condition (but then again, they are ex-barn, not ex-batts, so have had marginally better living conditions)... 

I wonder if putting the WIR in the middle is actually the solution: Eglu Go Up + run on one side and Solway Mini + (low) run on the other... I could get a connector kit for each run and the only bit requiring a bit of DIY would be the Solway Mini + run connection. Then I could potentially, as you suggest, put a partition within the WIR. Food for thought, thank you. 

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