Brand new to the Chicken world and need help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by collinski, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. collinski

    collinski Out Of The Brooder

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    I finally figured out how to post something here! My dilemma is this.... We finished our coop and got 2 Rhode Island Reds (we were told they were approx. 4 mos. old) and on the same day from another farm, 2 Black Copper Marans (supposedly the same age). The Reds were double the size of the Marans, but as it turns out they are all the best of friends (after a couple of days of fussing). So, we were enjoying the 4 chickens so much that we decided to add 2 more and went to another farm to get 2 "barn yard" chickens (they were supposedly also approx. 4 mos. old). The first 3 days were horrible as the Reds (and the Marans sometimes too) were cornering the newbies and really beating them up. It's been a week now and the beatings have stopped, but the "Fab Four" totally exclude the two new ones and run them off if they are in the same vicinity. My husband extended the run to add a whole new section and added more roost space in the coop to give them all more room to avoid each other, which seems to have helped tremendously! We also had to put multiple feeders and water around so the new ones could eat and drink. My question is.... Will the new chickens ever stop being so scared of me and the other chickens? Will they ever be a happy bunch that hang out together? This has been very stressful to me and we have considered taking the two new ones back. The first four are very friendly and let me pick them up (sometimes). I hate to see the two new ones being outcasts!! Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. Frost Homestead

    Frost Homestead eggmonger

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    [​IMG] I think you just need to give them more time. it's stressful for them to move and try to get used to a new environment, let alone new coop mates.

    We got two little EE after out first two were already laying and although they now get along, there is a definite pecking order with the two newer hens on the bottom. The big hen allows her 'sister' to eat with her and never acts dominant towards her, but even though the 2 other hens are now the same size, they have to wait their turn. One quick look for her while she's eating sends them running! (we feed on the ground).

    Sounds like it didn't take too long for them to stop attacking the newbies, maybe just give them some time to integrate better. Once the new hens see you spending time with them and realize you aren't a threat they might become more friendly. Treats help! [​IMG]
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Establishment of The Pecking Order is a natural process for chickens but not very much fun for people. Good thing your DH put out multiple feeders and gave 'em more space.

    The four-against-two badgering is normal - it's a good thing you didn't add just a single chicken to your flock. (Don't ever plan on doing that.... ever.....)

    What I do to facilitate integration is put newcomers (chicks or adult birds, doesn't matter) into a separate, temporary coop inside a temporarily fenced area either immediately next to the original run or INSIDE the original run. For at least two weeks. A simple doghouse will do, surrounded by chicken wire and garden stake fencing. With their own feeder and waterer.

    This allows the First Chickens to see the Newcomers, and the N.C. to see the F.C. They see them, hear them, have an opportunity to peck at them through the temporary fence, squawk at each other, call each other names, bump chests with the fence between them, all without injury to anybody.

    After a while, the N.C. are no longer "strangers" to the F.C. You take down the temporary fence and let them all mingle. There will still be name-calling and some chasing and maybe even some feather pulling, but that's just normal Pecking Order business, not an attack on Strangers In Our Coop/Run. Keep the extra feeder and waterer available, because the F.C. will still insist the original feeders and waterers are THEIRS by rights.

    Hope this makes sense... integration of newcomers is stressful for everybody, as you've already discovered. Segregation in plain sight helps diminish the mayhem. [​IMG]
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    [​IMG] and congrats on your new flock! You'll find nothing but enablers here with the habit hehe.

    Like greyeyes says, just give them more time. And treats!
     
  5. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.
     
  6. chi-rn

    chi-rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be careful about putting your girls altogether too quickly... It isn't just the integration thing, which by now you know is a difficult thing. But, you want to be sure, sure, sure you don't bring in a disease / organism into your flock. Read this post: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=30851

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

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    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Louisiana!
     
  8. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome from New Hampshire! [​IMG]
     
  9. FarmCoe

    FarmCoe Flock Mistress

    May 22, 2010
    Planet Earth
    [​IMG] Welcome! [​IMG]
     
  10. collinski

    collinski Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Thanks for all the help. You know it's weird to me that even though the four are picking on the two new ones all day, they seem to have a truce or something at night because they all file up the ladder when they know it's time to go to bed and jump up on the roost bars in the coop. There is a little squabbling about who's going to sit where, but basically they get along (or tolerate each other) in the coop. In the morning they are all waiting by the door to be let out. The four go out first and then a couple of minutes later, the two "outcasts" go out. While they are in the run and the pen, the bullying begins. It's only been about a week since we've had the two new girls (Molly & Goldie), so hopefully it will continue to get better!
     

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