IOT

In the Brooder
Aug 20, 2020
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I have two groups of chickens that I've been slowly integrating with each other. There are three chickens in my older group (about 12 weeks old) and the other group has seven chickens (10 and 8 weeks old mixed, but fully integrated since they were much younger). I used the see but don't touch approach to get the two groups familiar with each other, and then they had some time of being able to be all together in a temporary coop/run I had for them before my actual coop was ready. My chicken Lucy in the older group is the one that's causing trouble. From the beginning she seems to be having fun intimidating the younger ones. I don't believe she pecks at them so much now, but they are afraid of her and she can now easily intimidate them without even pecking at them. The other two chickens in the older group are more chill but they do tend to join Lucy when they see her intimidating the younger ones. I just got my coop and run ready this past week and they are all now getting used to it. But Lucy really gets in the way of the younger ones being able to explore and feel safe in their new space. They avoid going where Lucy is, for good reason. I really want them to be able to explore going in and out of the coop/run without restrictions. Yesterday, I had to "rescue" one of the youngest from Lucy, as she had her cornered in the underneath coop (see picture). I don't think Lucy was pecking, but Goose was terrified (I will no longer have them only in the underneath run without supervision for now when Lucy is there). So today I decided to separate Lucy for a while in the temporary coop (which is right next to the bigger coop, so they can still see each other) to give the others a chance to explore and integrate without being afraid. So far, it seems to be working. Does this seem like a good approach? If so, how long should I do it for? They all need to sleep together in the big coop and so far this hasn't been a problem as they all just go on their roost and the younger group sticks together. Would trying the separation just for a few hours have an effect? Thank you!
 

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IOT

In the Brooder
Aug 20, 2020
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Thank you! They-re all back together now and I added a couple of feeding/watering stations. Do you think it's likely they'll for the most part stay in two groups or do they eventually integrate a bit more?
 

MadamPoofyBrow

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Jun 15, 2015
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Provide multiple feeding and water stations and allow them to work things out. Separating Lucy may very well result in worse problems when she is reintroduced to the flock. The chicken social structure is very much like 'mean girls in high school'. It's normal.
:goodpost:
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop

IOT

In the Brooder
Aug 20, 2020
34
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They will likely stay in two groups until they are all laying.

How many birds in each group?
Betting the 'bully' is the low bird in her group.

Might want to 'clutter' the run a bit:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
There are seven in the younger group and three in the older group (the one Lucy is in). Lucy has an interesting story actually. She was the sole survivor in her shipment (my first chick shipment ever, not a good experience!) and I got another chicken, Foster, about 2 weeks older to keep her company. We ended up keeping Foster because they were so good together and Foster has always been pretty chill. Lucy has always being dominant over Foster despite being smaller. We then got another chicken, Bandit, and decided to put her with Foster and Lucy, rather than the younger ones (before I started any integration between groups). I was afraid for Bandit, but she actually turned out to put Lucy in her place, and Lucy was afraid of Bandit for a while. The three of them now get along very nicely. So, I think this fits your view that Lucy might end up being the low bird in her group? Is it like they're trying to overcompensate for their insecurities or something? lol

I'll look into cluttering the run! I think they all could use some entertaining. Thanks for the link!
 

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