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Girls, girls, girls !!!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am about to introduce 10 adult hens to 4 existing hens and a rooster "Max".

 

They have heard and seen each others from a distance.  Each group is in a 1600 sf electric fence enclosure.

 

Tomorrow I am joining the electric fences and putting a 4' chicken wire reinforced barrier so they can see each others up close but, hopefully, not too personal.

 

Max seems to have been quite amorous with his 4 girls and one, the lower ranking one whom, I guess, doesn't dare to shove him off, is starting to show some wear and tear, especially on her back and the side of her head. (this is what makes me think it is Max'es advances that got her in that state).  There is no blood and she doesn't seem as concerned as I am.

 

Questions :  Should I put him with the new girls when I start the close up intro?

 

I'm thinking he would be distracted with all these girls and the old guard would get a brake.

 

Since the ratio is two new girl for one "old" one, would the fact that Max is with the newbies detrimental to the "old" girls?

 

I am planning to do a progressive intro where, hopefully, I'll be able to introduce 4 new girls to the "old" ones first, then introduce the remaining 6 new girls and Max to the newly formed group of the 4 "old" and 4 new hens.

 

What has been your experience?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9
I might try to put the rooster with the new hens, if he accepts them than he's more likely to protect them from the other hens. He can also be your bird to check to make sure the new ones aren't carrying something that would affect your whole flock before bringing them all together.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you Oldhenslikedogs :)

 

Since it is my first time, I have been very cautious as I am definitely not equipped yet to handle mayhem and possible illness and/or deaths.

 

The new ten hens have been quarantined for two months now. They are all healthy.  I have moved their enclosure closer to the 4 old ones  progressively.  Now they can see each other up close now without physical contact.

 

After one day, all is peaceful. Max is trying to get the new girls' attention but is not overly aggressive or anxious. Reading your response, I am wondering; since there are ten of them and only 4 of the old guard, would the new one really need protection from Max?

 

The 4 original ones (with Max) were rescued from a situation where they were basically feral. They seem to be a mix of australorp/easter egger and don't appear aggressive, just a little skittish.

 

Thank you. I really would like to avoid any mishaps.

post #4 of 9
The original ones have the territory, you are right, the ten may overwhelm the originals and they may have to just accept them. Things can go many ways depending on the personality of the chickens. You will have to follow your gut as to whether to leave them together and when. I personally like taking things slow, others just put them together and see how it goes.

My way would to pen them next to each other for a few weeks, often issues can be worked out with a fence between them. Then at some point I would open the spaces between them and see how it goes, eventually I would remove the temporary pen and hopefully everyone is getting along.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #5 of 9

I wouldn't dink around with physically introducing only part of the new group.

 

Sounds like you have plenty of 'run' space...but what about your coop(s?)?

Where have the new ones been sheltering at night?

 

 

 

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......

......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.

See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

 

Integration of new chickens into flock.

 

Consider medical quarantine:

BYC Medical Quarantine Article

Poultry Biosecurity

BYC 'medical quarantine' search

 

It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.

Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

 

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

 

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

 

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

 

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

 

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

 

Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

 

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

 

Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224

 

 

Read up on integration.....  BYC advanced search>titles only>integration

This is good place to start reading:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 9

The advice is good, no doubt about it. However, the best integration is a single adult rooster to hens. The second best is adding more birds to less birds all of the same size, in ENOUGH Sapce.

 

That is what you are trying to do. Because you are nervous about it, I would put the rooster with the new girls for a couple of days, they will fall in love with him, he will love them. Then I would put the bunch together after the the home girls go to bed, the rooster will lead the new ones in, and in the morning, he will break up any fights. Put in two feed bowls and two water bowls for a couple of days, and I really don't think you will have any problems at all.

 

They have been watching each other, the Rooster will think they are a great addition to the flock, and for the most part the other hens will follow them. Leave your second set up for a couple of days, just in case you need to separate a bully. Pull a bully out, if needed, but only if they are fighting to blood.

 

They will work it out, and when I have added birds to a flock of equal sized birds, I have not had a problem.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you Mrs. K for the detailed advice.  As you noted, I am nervous about it, so the more details, the better.

 

About that;  regarding the feeders/waterers.  I have one set under the coop of the Originals.  The other set for the Newbies (much bigger) is under a carport tent aptly named the "Chicken Events Tent". It is located at the other end of the pen.

 

Each pen is 1600 sf. and forms a rectangle with a 40' chicken wire fence in the middle forming a common barrier where they socialize (or size each others, I don't know).

So far, so good. I don't know if I should see aggression towards each others if they are separated by a fence and there are no territorial infringement on either side.

post #8 of 9

I really don't think you will have any problem at all.

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you !

I am going to introduce Max tomorrow morning before the old guard gets up. The newbies get up earlier, that should help. I am trying to take the soft approach this time. We tried the chicken wrangling approach once.  They are fast and it wasn't a good experience ... for all involved.

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