Advice needed - How to introduce 2 larger hens into a flock of smaller chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mdm Cluck Cluck, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Mdm Cluck Cluck

    Mdm Cluck Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2013
    Dear All

    I need your advice. I have a friend who already has an established flock of chickens. I hope that she will forgive me that I don't know what they are. I think they may be Cochins?? Frizzles?? Well whatever they are (and unsure how many she also has atm), she got them roughly around Spring last year and raised from chicks.

    They seem to be bantam sized/possibly slightly bigger. They look small to me in the piccies as I've got bulk standard hybrid layers of varying sizes.

    Anyway, someone has very kindly given her 2 larger chickens, who true to form are sorting out the pecking order by drawing blood (particularly on 1 individual).

    I've told her the standard things of isolating the bullies from the flock etc etc. And I've texted her with various different internet sites which have useful advice or helpful forums like BYC. Perhaps she'll even end up reading this thread!

    However I cant see anywhere, where anyone offers advice on how to integrate 2 larger (maybe older) hens into an established flock of smaller birds.

    What I wondered was is this actually possible as the new birds are so much bigger?

    I remember very clearly what it was like last year for me when I added 2 additional point of lay hens and then a further 6 point of lay to the 2 hens I'd originally been gifted with by my neighbour when she was moving. My neighbours 2 birds consistently beat up all the other birds and I ended up separating them in the end for about 2-3 months before integration finally happened. But the new birds I had were at least a similiar size. It was an extremely stressful time and I was resigned to having to keep the 2 flocks completely seperate together when they just clicked and bonded.

    What do you think?? Has anyone successfully been able to introduce larger full grown older birds into a flock of smaller chickens. If so please advise how you managed it.

    Regards

    Madame Cluck Cluck
     
  2. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just successfully accomplished this very thing last week. I have seven 3-month olds (BLRW, BA, BR, BO, BB, EEWJG) and had three 7 month old Marans that needed integrated after their 4 weeks in quarantine.

    I built a small simple A frame tractor type enclosure and put them out there during the day right next to the coop with the 7 younger ones. Sort of a mini-introduction so they could get a little bit use to each other.

    After a few days of that I put them in the coop and locked the 7 downstairs in the run for the day to get the Marans use to their new home.

    The next day I put them out into the coop all together. The 7 smaller ones were of course terrified and huddled in the corners of the coop/run most of the day. 2 of the Marans played nice, 1 of the Marans was not so nice. I pretty much pulled up a chair for the day and kept an eye out. It was cold out, but I kept warm with a nice glass of black rum ;-).

    After several days I decided that 2 Marans were better than 3 and sold her to a nice couple where she can free range with other hens. That night after she left for the farm, the rest of the chickens all roosted together shoulder to shoulder like one big happy family.

    The older ones are at the top of the pecking order and the others are still a little skittish, but they roost happily together and things are pretty good. The Black Copper Marans is bossy, but the Blue Copper Marans plays momma and gets between any altercations. Very small altercations is all. Typical chicken stuff I think.

    I am pretty comfortable with how it turned out. My rule of thumb was pretty much just to let them work it all out.

    I also made sure they had plenty of scratch, fodder, etc. to keep everybody busy. I think that helped a lot.

    Good luck! I'm sure it will all work out well!
     
  3. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh yes, one other thing. The original seven 3+-month olds suddenly had a HUGE growth spurt. I think it was nature giving them the tools to hang with the big girls.
     
  4. Mdm Cluck Cluck

    Mdm Cluck Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2013
    Thanks for this will pass this on to my friend! [​IMG]

    Regards

    Madame Cluck Cluck
     
  5. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    You arwe welcome. Would love to hear how it works out.
     
  6. Mdm Cluck Cluck

    Mdm Cluck Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2013
    If I hear anything will let you know! [​IMG]

    Regards

    Madame Cluck Cluck

    (My feathery namesake and the rest of the Cluckers are pretty fed up atm - lots of out of season snow, cold and wet! Are we ever going to get Spring?!?!?! [​IMG])
     
  7. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good Lord, we woke up to a wet, wet snow this morning too. I went out and added some dry pine shavings to the coop, since it felt so damp in there. This really is getting to be a bit too much. Okay, more than a bit too much.
     

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