Hi Everyone, I am hoping you can help me out with an integration gone wrong.
I have 4 ISA brown pullets that are about 7 months old, and I was given/adopted one chick at a week old, who is now a 12 weeks old cockerel (I am fairly certain). Anyways "stormy" the cockerel has been beside the girls coop in a large dog crate since he was 4 weeks. Now, he is almost the same size of them but doesn't weigh as much... and is a very, very timid bird.
The problem is the girls are nasty to him... they are still trying to kill him.
I have tried letting him out in the yard with the girls and the two most aggressive ones, will run across the yard to attack him (we have three acres). I have tried letting him out with just one of the "non aggressive" girls and they still will peck at him, but then will leave him alone (won't chase him like the other two). I have tried putting him in the coop and the girls in the dog cage (so he can get used to their "space" and they can see him). I also tried yesterday him one on one with a "non aggressive" girl in the coop, with a distraction treat, and she ignored it, cornered him and wouldn't stop pecking him/pulling out feathers (so I pulled him back out after a minute).
Background, the girls get a few hours of roaming time a day when we are home as there is a lot of predators (coyotes), so we want our dogs to be out with the girls to protect them.
I am new chicken owner and knew it would be hard (and now realize why you need more than 1 to introduce). I am hoping soon he will be bigger than the girls and stand up to them instead of being terrified. Any suggestions, or just keep waiting until he is bigger. The issue is it is starting to get to zero at night and I would love it if he can go to the coop for nighttime.
Thank you for any suggestions.