Introducing new hens to a flock with one bird being aggressive

Help needed for introducing new pullets to a small flock.
By TayRae · Aug 20, 2018 · ·
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  1. TayRae
    Hello all,

    I am newish to the chicken community and I have a really small flock and I'm having some trouble with introductions and I would like some advice.

    A year-and-a-half ago I endedI ended up gettinggetting a rescue chicken... Long story but I ended up having to get her two companions. When I introduced those hands to my rescue chicken there was really no trouble there was a little scrubbing the first day I I introduced them but I put them together in the evening within a day they're all good friends. No blood was ever drawn no one was super aggressive I was surprised at how easy it was, to be honest.

    My small flock got even smaller when my oldest rescue passed this spring. To abide by bylaws of my city I need a minimum of three chickens so I went out and bought two new young hens because I know you can't introduce one chicken to a flock. I got two chicks quite young at about 3 to 6 weeks of age. One of my pullets is about 6 weeks now and the other about 12 weeks. I've had all of them separated by a wire mesh fence for a few weeks now so they could see each other but not interact. Nobody seemed to be aggressive in the fence so I decided to start introductions. I'm having one hen, my dominant lady, being super aggressive to the two new hens and she keeps drawing blood. When blood is drawn I separate the two youngsters and start the process over again when the wounds are closed.

    They are different breeds. The dominant hen is a light Sussex. Her companion is a Rhode Island red, who she is showing no aggression whatsoever to the two newcomers. The youngest is a golden salmon Maran and she is about 8 weeks and she hasnt gotten hurt because she's able to dodge the Sussex a little bit better because she's a bit smaller. The 12-week old is a bielefelder and she's getting the worst of it. Today I was able to have them together for about an hour and a bit but then the Sussex just got crazy and tore a big hole in the comb that poor little hen.

    I know distractions are key so I've changed up there run put in lots of treats have a hanging cauliflower put in new stumps and things for them to jump on but nothing seems to work.

    I have the youngsters separated again but now my Sussex is just acting quite aggressive around the entire coop and run. She's running around trying to chase the pullets even though they're seperate.

    I would love to have them free range but I can't because it's a violation of my cities by law. My light Sussex seems to be getting more aggressive with introductions instead of less aggressive. I'm not sure how to fix this problem and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    My run is a 12 by 8 space well my coop is about 4 by 4.5 space. I haven't combined them in the coop because it's way too small of a space and someone would get really hurt.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and I look forward to all of your advice!

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  1. lutherpug
    I agree that you'll get far more responses by posting a thread in the forums but I had a very similar situation a few years ago integrating 3 young pullets into a flock with 3 adult hens and my RIR was a terror to them for at least 6 weeks. Here is what made it more tolerable until they finally worked it out-

    1. Add vertical hangout spaces. We built some small platforms and tables out of scrap wood and pallets that we had laying around. Having levels was some of the best advice we got and it really helped.
    2. Have escape rooms. Something the young ones can get under or in that the adults can't access. It's good advice that we had trouble executing at first but once we figured something out it helped.
    3. Put out a couple of new waterers and feeders. Incorporate them with your new vertical spaces. The hens are not likely to feel charitable about these newcomers in their feed.

    Our poor pullets hung out on the vertical spaces for long periods of time where the hens generally left them alone. They could eat and drink in peace and had a place to escape. It wasn't fool proof but it helped ALOT. The other option (and maybe it's a combination of these things) is to keep them separated until they new ones are closer to 16 weeks old and a little bigger. It seems to me that people have the most success integrating when they are very young (babies) or closer to full size. The middle part seems to be where people have trouble. Just my experience, YMMV. Good luck, I remember how stressed I was during integration. Good luck, eventually it will work itself out!
  2. Texas Kiki
    Can you copy this all and paste it into a thread here please:
    Managing Your Flock

    You will get much more advice by starting a thread instead of an article.
      lutherpug, N F C and MROO like this.
    1. TayRae
      Thanks. I'm new here so I'm not to sure how all this works yet!
      KikisGirls and MROO like this.

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