Adding a single hen UPDATE: finally doing better!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NellaBean, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I have a 14-15 week old RIR pullet that needs to be added into an existing "flock" of 12-13 week olds....11 pullets, 1 cockerel, cochins, leghorns, jersey giants, buttercups (JG is a cockerel). They were kept near each other while growing up (same night shed, although they were separated) but not lately....I split them up about a month ago.

    I have a RIR pullet and cockerel, 14-15 weeks old that have been kept alone all along. The cockerel has gotten very aggressive lately.....I had planned on waiting a couple weeks until the new big pen was finished before getting rid of the nasty roo since he stays with his girl all day in a separate small 4x4 pen. But he has been more and more aggressive every day and flogged me tonight (no spurs yet, yay) and came after me a 2nd time when I was trying to get him in the night shed. He should be leaving in the next day or two. That leaves his lady all by herself. I am not comfortable just throwing her in with the 12 others that have always been together (that were fighting with the evil rooster through the fence yesterday). But can't leave her alone in her little 4x4 pen.....she makes horrible honking sounds like she is dying when I take her evil rooster pal away and leave her alone out there.

    I also have nine 3-4 week old chicks in a large brooder (3.5' by 6' and 5' tall with multiple roosts and shelves).

    I guess I have three options:

    1) Put her in with existing flock. I really think they will all gang up on her though. She is very sweet.....
    2) Pull a pullet or two from existing flock and put with her for "company" in the small pen. I have very dominant pullets and very wimpy pullets to choose from.
    3) Put her with the 9 young chicks.....assuming she is not aggressive towards them...she can keep them company and I do plan on keeping her with them once they are older (they have a RIR cockerel and Blue Andalusian cockerel in the group to choose from).

    What should I do? I really had hoped to have the new pen built, so I could keep her adjacent to the big kids for a couple weeks before integrating.....but I can't deal with the nasty roo any longer and she will be left all alone.

    All chicks have been on my property since day old, so quarantining is not an issue.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  2. annek

    annek Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    I would add to her pen not the other way around. It would be nice if she would go with the chicks if she is going to be put with them eventually. If that doesn't work out then I would take one of the gentler birds and give her a new friend. She will be devastated to lose her best bud.
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Well the naughty Roo finally left this weekend. I ended up making a partitioned off area in the big coop for her where she spends her nights. She is still going out in her little pen during the day, but by herself now. She has been spending the night in the big coop since Saturday night and today jumped into the pen when I let everyone out. That was all fine and dandy for a minute or two until the Rooster (giant) popped her in the head a good one. She ran off squawking and one by one the other girls noticed her and would try to peck at her. Within a few minutes she was cornered with a good 3-4 girls going at her at once, so I pulled her out and put her in her regular day pen alone.

    What would be the best way to do this? It did not work putting her with the little ones.....and I don't feel comfortable putting her directly in with 9 others that are the same size or larger and an "existing" flock. They usually have about an hour of daylight before I let them out of the coop....should I start putting her away at dark but loose in the coop and letting them wake up together and have that hour before I go out to let them out?
  4. ace6175

    ace6175 Songster

    May 9, 2009
    Did you try bringing a chick from the existing flock in with her? It might be easier to do that.
  5. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Try intigration at night. When all are roosting, take her in and put her up on the roost. In the morning when they all go out they will think she has always been with them.
  6. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Ace, I did not....her "day pen" is only a 4x4 tractor and the thought of leaving her and one of the other girls together in that small of a space as an introduction didn't seem like a good idea.

    I did end up putting her away loose in the coop tonight. The other girls and the big cockerel were all already roosting and there were a few squawkfests going on while I was outside as she was trying to get up to roost with them.....but nothing over the top. When I went to lock things up for the night she was up on the top roost next to the cochins. It was not quite dark yet so everyone was awake still but already in "night mode".

    I assume I should get up early tomorrow morning to check on them rather than leaving them to wake up and "figure it out"? Just in case?
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    They're young enough that the integration should go OK. Keep a close eye on everyone.
  8. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Well, so far this is not going well!

    I put the single girl into the coop everynight after the others "go to bed". It is usually still dusk and so they are awake but on their roosts. I let them out around maybe an hour or less after daylight?

    There are at least 2 or 3 or 4 (or more) trying to attack the single girl at a time......Everywhere she runs there is another one trying to go after her. If they can corner he, a few more will come running to peck at her. Even the rooster gets her when he sees her. I woke up a half hour later yesterday and came out to one of the other pullets (the head one) chasing her around and up onto the roosts, onto the table, behind the fan, down to the floor....around and around.

    I do take her out during the day and put her alone in her little pen, then back in the coop at night. Then has been the routine for a WEEK now and there has been no improvement in their behavior to her.

    Any other ideas? I think if I was integrating a larger group it would not be as it is now, there are just too many of them, and only 1 of her .
  9. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I dunno, that is a pain. Maybe she can be integrated with the younger ones later on when they are larger. One would think sooner or later it would work if they continue to see each other all the time. No expert here; I have two flocks and not enough nerve to try integrating.
  10. treefr0g

    treefr0g Chirping

    Apr 12, 2009
    Central Florida, W. Coast
    I'm pretty new to chickens, but I recently had to integrate 3 younger ones into an existing flock. They were in a separate enclosure next to the main run for about 6 weeks. Even so, I spent a full week working to get the younger ones into the flock. Based on my own experience and observations, I agree that it might be better to put younger ones with her (if she's "nice" to them), and later integrate the entire group into the flock. That way, the flock has "multiple moving targets" to go after, instead of a single lone hen. She's basically a sitting duck going it by herself...based on what you've described. I personally would try to get her to accept several babies, as many as you can, and when the babies are big enough...THEN combine the 2 flocks. Chickens will target a sole new arrival, but if there are several newbies, the focus gets divided out. Also, in my flock, the newbies had each other to be 'stressed & scared" with...was comforting for them to have peers in the flock. Anyway, just my humble opinion. I always feel so bad for the "picked on" ones.

    Chickens can be really MEAN sometimes. [​IMG] I spent many hours in my run during that week, keeping things from getting out of hand...pecking order, I understood that, but no blood-letting or gang-banging was allowed. With my small flock, I'm the "Alpha rooster" & the "Mama"...and when my older chickens got a little out of control, I sprayed them (gently of course!) with the hose. Was enough to shift their little brains from chasing mode, to "What the heck was that?? OH, is that a bug over there?" I can safely say though, that if I had only 1 little one to blend into the flock, things would have been MUCH harder. 3 youngsters running around kept changing the focus, so one didn't get singled out.

    You're poor little girl is probably stress to the max! I feel so bad for her. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009

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