Adding 2 new chickens in at once - One's settled: One hasn't. Any help appreciated :)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jso003, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Jso003

    Jso003 New Egg

    Oct 26, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    I'll just tell you quickly about our set-up before i talk about the issue. In our garden we have a Omlet's Eglu chicken coop for around 3-4 chickens, within a relatively good sized cage around it. We normally ignore the cage and just open it allowing the chickens to run free range in the garden, which is a decent size.

    Up until about a week ago we had 3 chickens living in harmony, but Mr Fox decided to pay us a visit early last week and so we unfortunately lost two of them. The sole surviving one is a Warren. After this we went about replacing the two lost chickens, we added a Bluebelle (Which is the same breed as one of the ones who Mr Fox had killed) and at first they had a few scraps for the first hour or two and then they seemed to settle down remarkably quickly, and the next day after adding the Bluebelle we added a 6 month old Black Rock (Which is a different breed to the other chicken that was killed) to the pack.

    We slipped the Black Rock in at night and then the next day kept checking up on it, since then the other two have wandered the garden together, with the Warren occasionally marking her ground but both the older chickens peck the new Black Rock whenever it gets near them, or sometimes they chase her away. They've been in the garden free range for around 2-3 days but the Black Rock seems to be scared stiff of the other two and runs away whenever one of them goes near her, and so i am worried that she's not marking her ground enough like the Bluebelle did when introduced. At night, they all go in the coop together relatively calmly and i haven't had any trouble thus far getting the Black Rock in at night, she always goes in by herself and she doesn't seem to be getting pecked out of the house which is strange i find considering the behavior in the day.

    I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how i can get this new girl to settle in using our setup and if there is anything i can do to help smooth the process, i appreciate any help!!

    - Oliver

    P.S Sorry if the colour coding comes across as patronising - Thought it might make it easier to follow whats happening! :p Thanks

    Edit: Just been out and the Black Rock isn't being let in after all, keeps getting nipped by the Warren when she goes in and runs back out again, she always is in there when i shut them up at night so i assume she goes when the other two are sleepy. So any more help please!
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy Jso003

    First up, I did not interpret the colour coding as patronising at all.

    I am also so very sorry to read of your loss [​IMG]

    Integration can be tricky and requires patience.

    I had a similar experience where I was down to one chicken and while quarantine is recommended, I bypassed on that occasion because the one chicken was extremely lonely and needed a friend pronto; so I got her one. Like yourself, there was a bit of scrapping, but not much.

    Just my humble opinion but the Warren and the Bluebelle probably bonded without too much issue as they were both alone and the need for company outweighed the need to be boss as such.

    However, because these two bonded [even if only overnight], they have each other for company so the Black Rock is seen as an intruder.

    I use the ‘look but not touch’ method on integration, meaning that the newby(s) are separated from the existing flock with wire for a couple of weeks so that they can see and communicate but not feel threatened or bullied. Not sure if you can do that with your existing set up?

    After a couple of weeks, while they are still separated by wire when in the run, free range is supervised and all together; space is a wonderful aid in integration.

    Another trick I use is to keep the existing flock locked in the coop/run and let the newby free range .. this gives the newby time to explore the garden without the threat of being picked on and also to find all the hiding spots and feel comfortable in the surrounds. Granted, the existing flock are not impressed but they get over it [​IMG]

    I also switch it around in that I let the existing flock out but keep the newby(s) locked up, giving them a good chance to explore and become comfortable in all of the coop/run without being picked on.

    If you decide to continue down the path you are on, as long as no-one is getting injured, they will probably work it out and the Black Rock should eventually feel more comfortable and become accepted. It may take a little while longer yet for that to happen.

    Sitting with them and sharing out treats may also help.

    Sadly, sometimes some chickens just do not fit in but I would give your three a bit longer yet before giving up.

    Good luck with your gals, I hope it works out for you.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015

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