Chicken Whisperer needed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mandk2309, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. mandk2309

    mandk2309 Just Hatched

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    In need of a chicken whisperer or expert. We have 4, year old hens, one year old rooster. 4, 8wk old chicks (hopefully pullets) and eggs in the incubator. We tried for months to get the rooster in with the hens to no avail. Currently we have one hen in with them and they are doing great but she is getting overuse. The plan was to raise a flock for him because the other hens won't have anything to do with him. At what age is it safe to put the chicks in with him and the other hen? We moved one hen in with them and she won't let the roo near the overuse hen and they have been fighting but not bad. I need suggestions on the whole situation. The picture is of our runs and coops layouts. We usually have the 3 hens in the 10x6 run. I put the chicks in the tractor in the am, and the roo and hen are in the 10x30. Our goal is to have 2 flocks. One of layers and one of fertilized, or one of laying and put the roo in as needed (I'm ok with either option). We will be building a bigger commune for the chickens later this year or early next year and will be able to free range then but not at this time.
     

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  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Why two flocks?

    Since they can already see and not touch, I would start letting them all mingle. There will be some squabbles at first but they usually work it out in a day or two.

    People have different opinions on chick integration. Some say wait until full size or near that. I generally try to start integrating by three weeks. I would not integrate everyone at once, though. Do the adults first. Then work on the babies.

    If you do do your two flock thing, you still have a very long time until those chicks become "useful" to the rooster, so you have about 3-4 more months of that hen being beat up. Either get everyone together, or separate the male.
     
  3. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I'll add that in your second plan you talk about keeping the male separate. Generally if you do that, you will want more than one, since they are social, and have it out of sight of the hens.

    What do you plan to do with your extra males?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Could you explain in detail why, what you tried and what happened??

    Am guessing that your coops are tiny and too small for the birds you want in them.
     
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  5. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Good catch. I assumed it was because of the hens fighting.
     
  6. mandk2309

    mandk2309 Just Hatched

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    People in our area don't tend to like fertilized eggs. We have those that do. So by having 2 flocks I satisfy both.
     
  7. mandk2309

    mandk2309 Just Hatched

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    We kept him near them for a month then put them all together at once. They beat him up. We then started by putting in the most docile chicken/lowest on the pecking order. That worked then the next one was horrible. No blood shed but it was not good. We tried adding at night and that didn't work either. I added one that is highest or just below in and it has been ok. A few squabbles but not as bad as it was.
    The run is 300sq ft for 5 chickens so not squished. Nor is the main coop tiny. The small one yes, but we have never tried to integrate them in the small coop/ run.
     
  8. mandk2309

    mandk2309 Just Hatched

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    It was because of fighting
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How old were all the birds involved when you tried this?
    Had the hens involved been living together nicely for a long time?
    How big was/is the coop, in feet by feet?
    Were there places to 'hide', multiple feed/water stations, etc.

    Space, patience, and a good understanding of chicken behavior/society are essential during integration. It's hard to watch the battles and beatings but it is important for them to go thru them, if you stop to process they(and you) just have to start all over again.

    Here are my notes on integration, and a link to more info:

    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  10. mandk2309

    mandk2309 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for all your suggestions. Let's see if I can get through your questions. All the current hens/ roo are the same age, 13months. The 4 hens were brought home together at 1 week old. The roo was bought in feb. the run he is in is 10ft by 30ft. It has always been his and we have introduced the girls to him on his territory. There are 2 water and food areas, plenty of places to get away/ hide. We had 2 fences as a barrier and they could get their heads through. They have been hanging out "together" but on their respected side of the fence. I just moved one more gen in with him on Saturday. It is going way better than it has. They only fight in the morning and at dusk. During the day the preen together and dust bath together and don't seem to have issues? I have researched integration a ton as has my husband and have literally tried every suggestion given to us.
    He is a good rooster and I would love to keep him integrated and have his "own" flock. He is purebred as will be some of his flock. I will continue to hatch eggs but I have some friends and buyers that will not eat fertilized eggs and hence the 2 flocks.
     

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