a BIT worried with mixing my new birds

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vfem, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    We let our 2 new silkies in the run with our 30+ week old and two 10 week olds. Our new one's are 20+/- weeks old. In the run, I gave them all apples and some melon to munch on. The 10 week olds chased the new one's around the run constantly, pecking and jumping. I figured they'd cause no harm so small. My oldest stood in the middle and just 'watched'. Finally there was some calm and everyone just ate up until sunset.

    Then the little one's ran in the coop and my oldest "Muppet" stood at the entry and won't let them in. No pecking, just low bucking sounds to show she was serious. Then one of the newbies took a peck at her and she just went like RAMBO CHICKEN on her! Got her by the neck and held her down. I had to pull her off. No blood but a beak full of feathers.

    She opened her mouth and let me pick them out, and then went calmly back into the coop and curled up in the corner. Our new additions are just laying in front of the door (were laying).

    Now my husband says, they're just letting each other know who's boss and to just leave them be to work it out. Apparently, shortly ago my husband said the newbies (no names yet!) have sneaked there way past the guard. I'm afraid that in the middle of the night there will be a blood bath. Should I just leave them be like he says? Listen for awhile and make sure everyone is out cold for the night for real? Or should I just go in and move them back to their pen?

    I want them all to be comfortable with each other, but that last fight made me really uneasy!?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  2. ScottK

    ScottK In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    Redmond, WA
    We just integrated 3 new 20 week old buff orpingtons with our other 11 20 week olds of other varieties (one rooster). They are so docile they would just run when any hen looked at them and hide their heads in the corner. We put them in a dog crate in the coop the first 2 nights. Then we let the original flock free-range during the first 2 days and kept the new ones in the fenced coop so they could get to know their home and still see the other chickens (when they were near the coop) and get a chance to try the roosts. When all locked in the coop in the evenings, the original flock would go get to bed on their indoor roosts and the new 3 would saty outside eating. Late at night we went out and found they had snuck into the coop and snuggled on the floor, so we picked them up and put them on the roosts with the other chickens. I think they stayed put until morning. Now they have been allowed to free-range together (4th day) and really the 3 try to keep to themselves and take off when the curious old flock comes near. The rooster runs back and forth keeping an eye on all of them though. Finally tonight we went to find only 2 of them on the floor - one had made it onto the roosts with the others on her own (the smallest most timid of them no less) - we added those two so they are all on the roosts again. Just a little jostling and we "pecked" on the one hen trying to interfere for them. And the last two days we have been home with them and made a point of whacking the offending hens with sticks since the new 3 are too timid to do anything but run. It seems to have helped. One hen clearly is in charge of the roosts and another is in charge of pecking the new hens, but no serious damage. Rooster seems to understand what is going on and leaves all alone.
  3. Heather J

    Heather J Songster

    May 29, 2008
    There was a fair amount of bossiness and pecking when I integrated my chicks with the adults--probably a bit younger than they should have been, but I didn't have anywhere else to put them. They all learned to get along just fine, though, and we didn't have any injuries. That standing on the chicken's back and pulling head feathers thing is what roosters do when the mount chickens, so it may be a dominance thing. As long as the chicks don't loose a *lot* of feathers, and no one starts bleeding, they'll probably all be fine. You might want to be sure and let them out early so they aren't closed up together too long in the morning, but they're asleep now and unlikely to have problems while it's dark.
  4. nhammer

    nhammer In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2007
    I too am working at incorporating hens. I have one 20+ week old Ameracauna that I am putting in with my 5 hens. They have free ranged together for months but always slept seperately. A couple of my alpha hens let her know who's in charge periodically.

    In the mean time, I built a new coop and thought putting them all in at the same time might be good because it would be confusing and lesson the chance of them getting after the younger one.

    I put them all together and it took 3 days for them to figure out the new roosts and nest boxes. My concern is my young ameracauna refuses to come down from the roost. The others go out into the run during the day and come in only to lay but the young one doesnt even get down.

    Being concerned, I built a small shelf and put food and water within her reach...was that good or does that just give her a reason NOT to come down? Do I need to give them more time or should I take her down and put her out in the run? She went out once and they cornered her. They didn't do much damage she just hid under a feeder as best she could and they left her alone except to peck on her once in a while.

    Am I just being impatient with giving them time to work things out?


  5. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I think you should at least move her out yourself for awhile. Let her know its ok.... bring her treats while you move her and lay them out in the run. Perhaps that will make her have interest in the run, plus getting her own treats will make her feel special.

    Mine are still chasing each other around today... in and out in and out... in and out! Its funny, but its not [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008

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