Advice on Blue Kote/Aprons/Integrating new pullets

jcarney13

In the Brooder
May 26, 2017
17
17
41
I'm a newbie to BYC and to raising chickens in general, so any and all advice is welcome.
A little background (or a lot):
We inherited a full grown easter egger from a family member so we're picking up where they left off. Our hen previously had a sister but she passed away recently. Not wanting the our hen to be all alone in our back yard we brought home two 11-week-old pullets (a golden wyandotte and a cuckoo maran) last week.

We've kept the new girls separated from the hen but in view of each other for a week, with some supervised free ranging time, and last night we decided to see how they did in the main coop together. Everyone went to roost just fine but this morning, our big girl was pecking the back sides of the newbies to bits. We re-separated everyone, but the poor pullets have some raw, bloody backsides now.

Finally on to my questions:
I'm looking into getting some blue kote for them and I would love to know if anyone has recommendations on what kind is best (Dauber or Spray?)

I also read about hen aprons/saddles. Are those a good idea for younger birds? We're still planning on giving them at least another week of separation (Maybe more, we want those feathers to heal up if we can first, and I've seen a few posts recommending waiting til 15 weeks), but I'd love to be ready to help protect them if it becomes an issue.

And finally - how much pecking should I expect? I know they have to sort out their pecking order, so I'm trying not to be too overprotective, but I also don't want to leave those little girls defenseless and in pain.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Get the spray bluekote, reapply as necessary. Aprons are for rooster wearing. They are irritating for hens to wear, I would pass on them.

You will probably need to keep them penned side by side with supervised mingling for a while yet. An occasional peck to remind the young ones who's boss is normal. Chasing and pecking repeatedly is aggression. Separate them out. It could take a few months before they all can safely be left together, depending on your older hen.

Generally it's recommended to integrate chicks when younger, but with your first experience I would take it slower. How big is your coop and run? Size of the set up can dictate the ease of integration.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
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Conway SC
I'm a newbie to BYC and to raising chickens in general, so any and all advice is welcome.
A little background (or a lot):
We inherited a full grown easter egger from a family member so we're picking up where they left off. Our hen previously had a sister but she passed away recently. Not wanting the our hen to be all alone in our back yard we brought home two 11-week-old pullets (a golden wyandotte and a cuckoo maran) last week.

We've kept the new girls separated from the hen but in view of each other for a week, with some supervised free ranging time, and last night we decided to see how they did in the main coop together. Everyone went to roost just fine but this morning, our big girl was pecking the back sides of the newbies to bits. We re-separated everyone, but the poor pullets have some raw, bloody backsides now.

Finally on to my questions:
I'm looking into getting some blue kote for them and I would love to know if anyone has recommendations on what kind is best (Dauber or Spray?)

I also read about hen aprons/saddles. Are those a good idea for younger birds? We're still planning on giving them at least another week of separation (Maybe more, we want those feathers to heal up if we can first, and I've seen a few posts recommending waiting til 15 weeks), but I'd love to be ready to help protect them if it becomes an issue.

And finally - how much pecking should I expect? I know they have to sort out their pecking order, so I'm trying not to be too overprotective, but I also don't want to leave those little girls defenseless and in pain.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Any time you try to integrate you should be there the nest morning when its breaking day to see what happens----peaking is the way I do it----coming 15, 30 minutes later can lead to some hurt chickens. The Hen might Not never accept them, then she might in time.

I have blu-kote spray in several places--- I Like the spray and Have been using it 50 years maybe??

I have Never used a apron in 50 years-----that's your choice.
 

jcarney13

In the Brooder
May 26, 2017
17
17
41
Thanks so much for the responses! I went ahead and ordered the blue-kote so I'll be able to get that on them by Monday. And we are now at least mentally prepared for a potentially long separation period.

And our coop area is about 5'x4', then we let them run around a section of our back yard that's about 12'x12'. They usually leave each other alone while free ranging.

I also noticed that one of the pullets is now pecking at the exposed tail of the other pullet (even though they both absolutely love being next to each other. It's like she just gets curious and decides to take a bite sometimes). We separated both of them as well for now, they're each in their own crate with food and water. Will the blue-kote potentially reduce those pecks since the red will be less visible?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I spray the bluekote, than put them down while it's still wet, so any curious pecking will give the bird a bad taste in the mouth, and they generally won't peck again. Exposed skin will draw in pecking, and bluekote disguises it. Keep applying as it fades. If you get any on your hands dish soap will generally get it off. If you get it on your clothes you will have speckled clothes, so don't wear your Sunday best, and keep it away from eyes.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
I also noticed that one of the pullets is now pecking at the exposed tail of the other pullet (even though they both absolutely love being next to each other. It's like she just gets curious and decides to take a bite sometimes). We separated both of them as well for now, they're each in their own crate with food and water. Will the blue-kote potentially reduce those pecks since the red will be less visible?
If the one chick is bleeding or has been----you will probably have to keep that one away from the rest for a day or two----till it heals some Or the other one will continue pecking. I have seen where one started bleeding and the others pecked it to death---when one is bleeding the others become vultures.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
96,376
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I've found blukote to attract almost as much pecking attention as blood.
I suppose exposure when it's still wet might help.

Also have had the bird that had the blukote on it trying to preen it off themselves which can reopen wounds too.

Sounds like you'll have to do some chicken juggling....3 separate but adjacent enclosures until healing happens then mixing and matching who is with whom for shorter and/or longer periods of time depending on the reactions.

This might help:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/reintegrating-a-recovered-hen-to-a-small-flock
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,757
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Macon,GA
I've found blukote to attract almost as much pecking attention as blood.
I suppose exposure when it's still wet might help.

Also have had the bird that had the blukote on it trying to preen it off themselves which can reopen wounds too.

These are to very important comments that I had never seen mentioned elsewhere. I had each of these happen in my gals, and it was a surprise.

Regarding pecking at roosting time - I have cameras in my coop for surveillance...when they go to roost, they don't just sit down and go to sleep - even a happy flock will move around, chatter and jockey for their favorite location. When there is conflict with a newbie - the others will peck, push them around on and off the roosts. There's a member who divided a roost with a cardboard "wall" - That may be a way to help the new ones get some peace at night?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,376
129,678
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Regarding pecking at roosting time - I have cameras in my coop for surveillance...when they go to roost, they don't just sit down and go to sleep - even a happy flock will move around, chatter and jockey for their favorite location. When there is conflict with a newbie - the others will peck, push them around on and off the roosts. There's a member who divided a roost with a cardboard "wall" - That may be a way to help the new ones get some peace at night?
Absolutely! RoostTimeRumble!! That's why it's important to have 'extra' roost space and a separate roost for newbies.
 

jcarney13

In the Brooder
May 26, 2017
17
17
41
I've found blukote to attract almost as much pecking attention as blood.
I suppose exposure when it's still wet might help.

Also have had the bird that had the blukote on it trying to preen it off themselves which can reopen wounds too.

Sounds like you'll have to do some chicken juggling....3 separate but adjacent enclosures until healing happens then mixing and matching who is with whom for shorter and/or longer periods of time depending on the reactions.

This might help:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/reintegrating-a-recovered-hen-to-a-small-flock

Thanks so much. Everyone's feedback has been so helpful and that article is great! We'll keep a close eye on the girls once we get the blue-kote just to see how it goes. One of the pullets already looks damage-free today with just some gentle washing/antiseptic, so I imagine she'll be the first to hang with the bigger hen. But for now, we'll keep them in the three enclosures near each other and prepare for our chicken juggling act!
 

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