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Please help with Chicken integration

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am a new chicken and duck parent since this past spring. I am having a big problem with one of our pullets and I was wondering if you might help? This spring we ordered ducks and the hatchery sent us "male warmer chicks" (Rhode Island Reds). One of the 10 turned out to be a female. We later saw how fun chickens were and knew we'd never be able to keep all those roos so we got 4 pullets that are also Rhode Island Reds that are 3 weeks younger than the rest of the group. We were able to integrate them fine with the "playpen technique". We ended up culling all the roos (they got very mean and began biting us.) Anyway, all we have left is the 5 total pullets. Morgan is the oldest from our original group, and she never would go near the babies and never bonded with them. They actually bully her even though they're younger than her. We have tried keeping her in a playpen inside the run with the other girls not able to peck her, but still see and be near her. Every time we try and let her out with the group they chase and peck her. She runs and hides sometimes high up the roost and won't come down and it's clear they're still not ready to be a group. They are of laying age now, with Morgan 21wks and the other 4 pullets at 18wks old. I fear she will end up having to live a solitary life. After all these months nothing seems to work. She isn't laying even though we already have 1-2 younger ones laying, and I don't imagine she ever will with the bullying stress. We even put her in the coop each night on the roost from her playpen after dark so she will be safe and warm with the others. Nothing has worked for this group to come together. I am losing hope that after all these months they will never accept her and we might just have to build another enclosure for her. I even tried letting her visit the ducks in their enclosure and neither seemed happy about that. I have read they have enough room so I don't think that's the issue. We have them in a 10 ft by 10 ft dog run with there raised high coop in the center. I have provided 3 feeding stations so all could get food and water. I provided multiple roosts. Does anyone have any suggestions? I could really use the help.

 

post #2 of 3
Let Morgan and one of the pullets that is laying already have full run of the coop. Put the other 3 in the playpen. Better yet, put them in the playpen someplace else, like in the garage. Then add them back to the coop one at a time over a period of 2 weeks or so. The goal is to break up their little mob and make each of them feel like the outsider while giving Morgan the "home team advantage".
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you!!

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