Concerned for the new ladies in our small flock...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pmcgov, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. pmcgov

    pmcgov New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    Hi everyone! As a new chicken mom, I'm hoping for some advice. We started our small flock 5 months ago with 6 RIRs. They were 19 weeks when we got them and they've done very well. They starting laying immediately, free range whenever possible and have been happy and easy to care for. We love them and decided to add to the flock. We picked up 2 more RIR pullets at the NJ State Fair this week and brought them home a few days ago. We put them together in our enclosed chicken yard and let them interact, watching carefully for any seriously aggressive behavior. There was some pecking and intimidation by the older girls, but nothing too serious. We watched them interact all day, and while they weren't friendly to the new chickens, the older hens didn't attack the younger ones either. We have a coop cam installed so we can watch the happenings inside the coop, so we let them stay together in the coop the first night. Again, no serious aggression, but the new chickens have become very nervous and literally hide in the corner of the coop as close to the wall as they can get. They do the same thing when they are in the outside enclosure. It's really sad! Have I done something wrong? Will our new girls (Cheese and Cracker...the kids named them) eventually get used to their new home and will the other birds eventually be more "welcoming"? The older ladies mostly ignore them or move as if to peck them to corner these new girls. Is this just part of a normal "pecking order" situation?
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
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    Yep - it's part of the process. Your new chickens will adjust eventually. Chickens don't do change well. They don't accept change in location and they don't accept additions to the flock well. But eventually they get over it. As long as there is no serious pecking going on, just leave them. They'll be fine.
     
  3. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I'm going to address your issue, but the first thing you should have done was quarantined your new girls for about a month. Then, if all was well, integrated them to your flock.

    That being said, since they are in there, I'd just leave them. It's probably OK anyway. Your younger girls are displaying submissive behavior to the older hens. If they appear to be getting pecked too much or the older girls giving them too hard of a time, I'd put them in a separate pen, close to the other hens so they can interact without direct contact. Then, allow them all to free range together, if you do that with your birds, or put the young ones in while they are roosting. The closer in size the birds are, the better it goes. They will get it worked out. I will be doing the same in about a month when my 11 week old chicks are big enough to integrate with my 1 1/2 year old hens. I have more chicks (7) than hens (4), so that should help too. With my previous flock, the RIR's were always the hardest on new arrivals. Right now, my chicks are in a chicken tractor and my hens can visit then through the wire when I let them out to free range. They were curious at first, now the chicks and the hens seem to accept each other's presence without any problem. When I combine them later, we will see!
     

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