Advice please, having trouble integrating new pullets

Aug 17, 2018
36
30
64
St. Louis, Missouri
I've read how to do it right, still not working.
Here is the scenario, my 3 yr old Australorp (originally from a flock of two, one died) easily accepted 3 new pullets that were 4 months old (did the look, don't touch method, with them on the pen floor in a large dog cage) Those three are 9 months now, (2 easter eggers and one silver laced wyandotte) and the four of them are calm and happy.
So I got my life long dream chickens, a black copper marans and a genuine Ameraucana from a heritage breeder, and she said they were 2-3 months.
So I put them in a raised coop (pic attached, in the burgundy one) for a couple of months so they could grow, and then three weeks ago, I put the two young ones down on the pen floor in the big dog cage again, so the four others could see/smell them- for three whole weeks.
I tried to integrate them this weekend, and the 9 month old 3 pullets seem fine with the addition, just a little scuffling. But the 3 yr old australorp is brutal, chasing, pulling out feathers, pinning them down and pecking repeatedly at their heads. I let it go on for a minute, because I know not to interrupt the pecking order, but it is hard to watch. I had to step in and separate them, putting them back up in their separate coop. I tried it four different times this weekend, and my australorp is still so mean. I am afraid to leave them alone, I fear she will kill one or both of them.
I even tried letting 3 of the group of 4 out to free range, with adding one back at a time, with no luck.
Here are the facts:
Live in Missouri, temp currently in the 30s. 6 hens, no roosters. The pen is 8' x 10' by 7 feet tall. Two separate coops, the original group of 4 reside in the gray one, the two younger pullets have been kept in the burgundy one. I let the original 4 out to free range anytime I am home and it is daylight.
Incidentally, during the last three weeks while the Marans and Ameraucana were kept on the pen floor in the cage, the Marans started laying, much to my delight. So she is either older than the 18 weeks that I thought she was, or she is a young layer...
Any suggestions??
 

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oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,887
78,537
1,452
Wisconsin
All birds are immature ones. It's going to take much longer to basically integrate teenagers to teenagers, especially since they can be more moody at that age. I would keep at it with supervised mingling, but I wouldn't rush it.
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
9,582
30,018
997
SW MO
8 X 10 is a bit tight for chickens that don't get along, there's little room to escape. I agree with separating the Australorp. You could even try pinless peepers as a last resort. It cured my bully hen....she wore them about 6 months and it stopped the pecking. I removed them and she plays nice now.
peepers.jpg
 
Aug 17, 2018
36
30
64
St. Louis, Missouri
8 X 10 is a bit tight for chickens that don't get along, there's little room to escape. I agree with separating the Australorp. You could even try pinless peepers as a last resort. It cured my bully hen....she wore them about 6 months and it stopped the pecking. I removed them and she plays nice now.
View attachment 1612016
I would try anything at this point, hate to get rid of my 3 year old australorp. How do those peepers stay on? Can she still eat while wearing that?
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
9,582
30,018
997
SW MO
The peepers have prongs that fit into the nostrils. They do not hurt the bird (altho it takes time to get used to them) They can eat, drink, and roost. Try holding your hand in front of and close to your eyes. You can still see around it. This is how they work and why they can't peck.
It takes 2 people to put the peepers on, one to hold the bird still and one to carefully place the peepers. You first put them in very hot water and the plastic becomes somewhat flexible. I got a small package of them cheap on Ebay and practiced flexing them before attempting to install on the hen..
12345.png
 

Peppercorngal

Crowing
Feb 5, 2018
2,586
5,938
371
Feather Falls, CA
I do not feel that these chickens have enough room. The best way to integrate chickens is to do it in a big space. I have two coops with large attached runs. I bought 4 Delaware hens from a friend who moved away and kept them in coop #2. I would free range the rest of my original flock leaving the Delawares locked up. After a couple of weeks I started free ranging them together and nothing much happened. Now one of the Delawares has taken to the original flock, sleeping and laying in Coop #1. Sometimes 2 Delawares will go to Coop #1. All this to say that there was no fighting when they free ranged together in a 50'x50' area. Your chickens have no where to go to avoid one another. I also let them choose where to sleep. I notice that two of my "bottom of the pecking order" chickens, Sadie and Maggie are sleeping with two of the Delawares in coop #2 now. They are all happy since they have space! I'm sure none of this has helped you, good luck! :hugs
 

imnukensc

Crowing
May 22, 2017
1,633
3,612
319
SC Midlands
Different things work for different situations it seems. I did the look/don't touch thing for several weeks when trying to integrate young pullets with some older hens. Didn't work. Separated the couple of older, bully hens for a couple of weeks. Didn't work. Pinless peepers worked.
 
Aug 17, 2018
36
30
64
St. Louis, Missouri
I do not feel that these chickens have enough room. The best way to integrate chickens is to do it in a big space. I have two coops with large attached runs. I bought 4 Delaware hens from a friend who moved away and kept them in coop #2. I would free range the rest of my original flock leaving the Delawares locked up. After a couple of weeks I started free ranging them together and nothing much happened. Now one of the Delawares has taken to the original flock, sleeping and laying in Coop #1. Sometimes 2 Delawares will go to Coop #1. All this to say that there was no fighting when they free ranged together in a 50'x50' area. Your chickens have no where to go to avoid one another. I also let them choose where to sleep. I notice that two of my "bottom of the pecking order" chickens, Sadie and Maggie are sleeping with two of the Delawares in coop #2 now. They are all happy since they have space! I'm sure none of this has helped you, good luck! :hugs
Thank you so much for the advice!
 

MANNA-PRO

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