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Adding three pullets to a three-hen flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by haygrif, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. haygrif

    haygrif In the Brooder

    May 2, 2010
    Hello! So, I apologize for the repeat thread, as I realize many people have already posted on this topic already. But I've read many of the posts and am not quite sure I have all the info I need.

    Here's my issue. I have three silver-laced Wyandotte hens that are about a year and four months old, I've had them since they were a few weeks old. My roommate acquired three new pullets about two months ago from a friend who could not keep them. We were unsure of their sex or breeds but as they're maturing it's obvious they are all hens -- fortunately (we can't have roosters). As they are maturing (they are nearing 5 months old) it's obvious that one is a Rhode Island Red, one is a white Leghorn and one is a beautiful little bantam of some sort that is black with gold and green reflective feathers.

    The problem we're having is that despite hearing so much about Wyandottes being really docile and accepting of new birds, my girls HATE my roommate's new girls. The RIR and leghorn are pretty big at this point, big enough to defend themselves if necessary -- the one I'm worried about the most is the little bantam girl. So far the two flocks have been separated (the new girls are in a small transitional coop), but I really need them to be integrated into the big coop before winter. I'm also worried that after a two months of having them in separate coops that are quite close in proximity, the wyandottes are still not accepting the new girls at all. I just moved the little coop within a few feet (it was more like 15 feet away before) of the wyandotte's bigger coop, and the wyandottes have been complaining about it every morning since.

    Should I keep pushing the little girls' coop closer and just wait for the wyandottes to get over it? Will they ever get over it? They make such a racket in the morning, not like their normal egg laying and waking up racket, but a more territorial almost rooster-like squawking.

    Also, they all free range together in the back yard frequently. Thing is, they stay FAR apart, and the younger ones make sure to keep a large distance since the wyandottes are so aggressive. So I don't feel like they're getting any more used to each other over time. The few times I've introduced them in close proximity one or more of the wyandottes always goes after the younger ones, especially the bantam, and feathers start coming out (and that little bantam makes the most terrible noises when she's scared). I feel like I could get the RIR and leghorn integrated alone, since the bantam is always the focus of the aggression -- but then what to do with the poor little bantam? Is there any hope for her integrating with the flock?

    Any feedback would be appreciated. [​IMG] Thanks for reading!
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011

  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I only have one wyandotte, and she is a witch! I've heard and read that they're supposed to be a docile, calm breed too, but I figured I just ended up with a throwback bird. Guess not though...
    I'd move the little pen right up along you main run, and I'd continue freeranging as much as possible. My "newbies" for this year are close to five months old. They've been here since they were chicks, and it's only been in the last two weeks or so that they've started hanging out together for part of the day. My wyandotte is still a witch to them, but they have room to get out of her way when she starts acting witchy.
    You could try putting your mildest bird in with the newbies - she would be outnumbered, and so might do okay with them. After a week or two of THAT, maybe the original flock would be more accepting????
  3. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Songster

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    I had terrible luck integrating new birds- I had three Barred Rocks and I introduced two EE's, one who was a little older than my BRs and one that was slightly younger. They immediately accepted the older bird, but attacked the younger one relentlessly and one day scalped her down to the bone! Pretty terrible. I would recommend continuing to have them live separately but where they can see each other for another week or two, it may be that the bantam will need to be kept separate though- perhaps you could get her another bantam friend and they could live in the small coop, and you could move the Leghorn and RIR in with the wyandottes. Hope it all works out!
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    I am in a similar situation. Tried a few things but there is always conflict to a degree. Here are two things that might work.

    Stranger in the night. Sneak the new birds in at night after all have gone to sleep. This is usually done without them knowing each other. There will be some squabbling. That is OK, as long as it is not pin and destroy.

    Solitary confinement. Put the aggressor in the transitional coop for a day or night. She will come back a peg or so lower.

    I also have 4 bantams, and they always get picked on. Don't want to but might separate them permanently. If anyone has any insight...
  5. haygrif

    haygrif In the Brooder

    May 2, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We're thinking about just keeping them separate. My roommate is looking into building another coop in another part of the yard. Fortunately we have a 1/3 of an acre, so there's plenty of space. Maybe someday they will get acclimated enough to live together..

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