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single 3 month old chick... how to integrate her into our flock of 4 hens?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We have (foolishly) tried to integrate her earlier, when she was about 2 months, but that ended in absolute terror for the little one. Now she is terrified of the older birds and they for the most part dont try to chase her around unless shes close enough to nip. Shes a total mommas bird and loves people. We have been raising her inside alone after a friend of ours said they couldnt take care of her. We have 4 older hens, all under a year old but laying. Right now we are letting the young one out during the day and taking her in at night, but shes really just hiding for the most part. How can we make this integration work better and her less terrified? All thats happening is her trying to hide all day, and the others dont really even see her. Thanks! 

post #2 of 9

How about getting her a friend, younger one, where she can be top of the pecking order and then integrating the two with the four?  If that's not an option I would free range her with them daily until she settles down.  

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridebeliever View Post
 

How about getting her a friend, younger one, where she can be top of the pecking order and then integrating the two with the four?  If that's not an option I would free range her with them daily until she settles down.  

Unfortunately we cant have another chicken, 5 is really already pushing it for us.. do you recommend just leaving her outside full time even though its winter? I dont want her to freeze if shes too scared to cuddle with the others. It gets into the 30s at night. Also is there a possibility that she will always be singled out? As of now there is no indication whatsoever that she was get over her fear of them and the older ones are also just as unyielding. 

post #4 of 9

Thats tought. Could you consider setting up a little area next to the chicken coop with the chick in it, so they are able to see each other? I would wait until your chick is 18 weeks old, close to full size. If she is 10 weeks old, she should be fine with 30F, because she has feathers and everything. You could try to put her in an enclosed portion of the coop. How old, and what breed is the chick, and what breeds are the 4 adult hens?

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
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In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
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post #5 of 9

Unfortunately, you may have to wait until she is full grown.  I raised a single chick, and had to wait until she was full grown before putting with the others.  She was the lowest in pecking order and thankfully the rooster made her feel welcome and she stayed close to him.

 

Since then there have been other chicks grown up and added, and two groups merging, and now she is the bully, and even growls and pecks at us. 

 

Your flock has different dynamics with hens only, but hope this helps.

...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post
 

Thats tought. Could you consider setting up a little area next to the chicken coop with the chick in it, so they are able to see each other? I would wait until your chick is 18 weeks old, close to full size. If she is 10 weeks old, she should be fine with 30F, because she has feathers and everything. You could try to put her in an enclosed portion of the coop. How old, and what breed is the chick, and what breeds are the 4 adult hens?

She is a Marans, 3months, and the others are 3 EEs and 1wyandotte. the wyandotte seems to be the alpha, followed the the 3 EEs. So its okay to leave her outside alone in the 30f weather? 


Edited by asteria01 - 1/5/16 at 3:23pm
post #7 of 9

You might pull one of the original flock, separate her with the younger bird together, but separate through a see through fence and feed along the fence for a while, then maybe a one way gate, where there was an escape for the little one, until they really buddy up.

 

Then pull the wandotte, add the pair to the flock, wait a few days and add the wyandotte back in. This should totally upset the pecking order, and allow it to reset.

 

 

It is better to add 2+ to a small flock, very difficult to add a single smaller bird.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by asteria01 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post
 

Thats tought. Could you consider setting up a little area next to the chicken coop with the chick in it, so they are able to see each other? I would wait until your chick is 18 weeks old, close to full size. If she is 10 weeks old, she should be fine with 30F, because she has feathers and everything. You could try to put her in an enclosed portion of the coop. How old, and what breed is the chick, and what breeds are the 4 adult hens?

She is a Marans, 3months, and the others are 3 EEs and 1wyandotte. the wyandotte seems to be the alpha, followed the the 3 EEs. So its okay to leave her outside alone in the 30f weather? 

Yep, she should be just fine to be outside in 30F weather. Maybe give her a box or something to keep her heat in. Also, try separating the alpha from the flock for a couple days. This will knock her a couple spots in the pecking order, and may make the chick have a better integration. I am going to be facing the same situation, but I have 7 chicks, 9 weeks old that need to be integrated to 4 hens who are 5 months old.

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
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In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
post #9 of 9

This is probably one of the toughest challenges a chicken keeper can have, trying to integrate a single chicken into a flock. You can almost guarantee they won't be accepted and welcomed.

 

But it's not impossible. I'm doing it right now with a two-year old rescued hen, and it's been not quite three weeks since I brought her home, and I'm stunned at the progress she's made adjusting to her new flock of twenty other chickens. She's actually starting to make friends with the two youngest members and I saw her dirt bathing with an older hen the other day. The flock mostly leaves her alone now, but she still gets chased and pecked by a couple of bullies.

 

It requires lots of patience, and don't give up!

 

Here are some things I did that might help you. At first, the new hen had her own pen where she was safe but in full view of the flock. Her food and water were inside this pen. After the first three days, I opened the pen for a few hours each day so the new hen was forced to interact with the flock. This helped her develop strategies for dealing with the flock, as well as helped her learn who to keep watch for and who she could trust not to attack her.

 

Regardless, I feed her twice a day inside this safe enclosure so she's assured of getting plenty of nourishment. If I expected her to eat out of the communal feeder, she wouldn't be able to eat in peace long enough to get enough to eat. This is critical. You will need to feed your little girl separately for several weeks or longer.

 

I also let my new hen have a few hours "rest" a day in the safe pen so she can recover regularly from all the stress she's under. During this time, I've begun to let the two youngest pullets in with her for company in hopes they might bond. It appears that may be happening.

 

She learned very quickly that she could count on me to rescue her from her tormentors, and I've been trying to force her to learn to fight her own battles. It's been a careful balance of knowing when to step in and referee and trying to give her the opportunity to adjust in her own way. She roosts with the others, and while it's not a simple thing, she manages on her own to find a place to roost every night, even if it's in a different place every night, according to where the others decide to roost. She's finding her place in the pecking order, and I think she's doing terrific.

 

Mrs K recommended you try putting a docile hen in with your girl. I think you need to try that, but do it after your girl has eaten. My girl won't eat when the two pullets are in with her as long as they want to eat first.

 

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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