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Introducing young hen to an older hen

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I am new to chicken ownership so bare with me smile.png. A few months ago a friend of mine gave me a year old hen (Penny) that was being picked on at her family's farm. I live in a urban area and really unsure about my city's ordinances so I have been trying to keep her on the down low. She was loud first day but has been super quiet and easy to handle. I feel like she needed a friend to keep her company in the coop as she doesn't get out too much with my dogs around. Same friend gave me a 10 wk old pullet this weekend and I let Penny out for the day and left the pullet in her pen. Before nighttime I put Penny back. A few pecks and it seemed okay since before I went to bed they both were roosting on the perch.

This morning though, Penny was back to her loud barks. New pullet was hiding in the coop. I shoo'd her out and Penny just chased her around and cornered her (ate her loose feathers??). I know I probably rushed this.
Should I take Penny out for a few days? Or is this a lost cause for Penny to have a friend 😑
post #2 of 9
It's not a lost case... 10 weeks is still pretty young compared to a one year old... The young one needs plenty of space to run and hide and I would watch them and maybe keep them seperate for a little bit until they are similar in size. A pecking order has to be made and it can get ugly... Other things you can do is entertain them with treat block around the yard.... Hanging cabbage and other things that will distract them and make sure they get plenty of protein to prevent feather eating... Hope this helps and good luck

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 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

A picture is always worth showing.

Reply
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ah the treat thing is a good idea to keep Penny busy.  They are stuck together while I am at work today.  When I check on them over lunch, Bridget was cowered in the coop but flew out when I opened the roof.  She landed on the perch and Penny instantly bullied her back into the box. Maybe in a few days they'll be friends :rolleyes:  I'm debating putting Penny in time out for a little bit though.

post #4 of 9
Is there a way you can divvied your run so they can get used but not at each other for a while? A full grown hen can quite easily kill a ten week old. Normally you would keep them where they can see and get used to each other till they are both a similar size. Giving them time to get used to each other like that also helps calm things down a bit when you do put them together. At the moment she sees that little one as an intruder, once she is used to it she will just see it as needing reminding it's below her on the pecking order. Very different levels of pecking.

Even something as simple as a few tomato stakes and a roll of plastic garden wire to divide your run temporarily would work. Also be careful locking them up together at night, the little one needs a safe place where she can't corner it. That is probably the most dangerous time for it.

There is no reason they can't be put together in the end but with that big an age difference to do it safely you can't just throw them in together or it could very easily end up with the little one dead.
Edited by appps - 10/13/15 at 12:10pm

Aussie Mum to
our sizzle Al

our neurotic Partridge Silkie Penny

and our sweethearts the Salmon Favorelles girls, Colonel , Winry & Carl
And our big girls the Australorps, Pepper, Blackie and Tonio

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Aussie Mum to
our sizzle Al

our neurotic Partridge Silkie Penny

and our sweethearts the Salmon Favorelles girls, Colonel , Winry & Carl
And our big girls the Australorps, Pepper, Blackie and Tonio

Reply
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a pretty small coop. It's big enough for both of them but can't divide. I have to supplies to shimmy something up beside the coop. Do I put the new chick in the new area or older one?
post #6 of 9
I think I'd almost be tempted to put the older one in it so the younger has the home ground advantage ;-). Just make sure what you do is predator proof!

Aussie Mum to
our sizzle Al

our neurotic Partridge Silkie Penny

and our sweethearts the Salmon Favorelles girls, Colonel , Winry & Carl
And our big girls the Australorps, Pepper, Blackie and Tonio

Reply

Aussie Mum to
our sizzle Al

our neurotic Partridge Silkie Penny

and our sweethearts the Salmon Favorelles girls, Colonel , Winry & Carl
And our big girls the Australorps, Pepper, Blackie and Tonio

Reply
post #7 of 9
I went thru a similar situation this summer too. Red lost her best friend to a coyote and was so lonely we ended up getting three new pullets about 4-5 months old. Unfortunately, a bear knocked over the coop that had the new pullets and killed two of them... Luckily Little Red escaped. We couldn't put Little Red back in the damaged coop so we had to put her in with Big Red. There was definitely some pecking order stuff going on and we thought about separating them but within a couple days it worked itself out... Now they are inseparable. Keep and eye on them and as long as there's no blood being drawn, let them work out their pecking order. Good luck!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just a quick update - I gave it a few more days before separating, although I was on the verge of doing so.  First few days poor Bridget was cowered in the corner of the coop and wouldn't come out.  Yesterday she was outside on the perch with Penny on the run floor so that was a big step....this morning they both were scratching around on the floor together! :celebrate

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmitty88 View Post

Just a quick update - I gave it a few more days before separating, although I was on the verge of doing so.  First few days poor Bridget was cowered in the corner of the coop and wouldn't come out.  Yesterday she was outside on the perch with Penny on the run floor so that was a big step....this morning they both were scratching around on the floor together! celebrate.gif

Yay that's awesome!
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