Disaster adding new members to floock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Emily1220, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Emily1220

    Emily1220 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2011
    Florida
    I have 4 brown leghorns and 2 americaunas that are about a year old. They share a coop that is 4ft X8ft and a run that is 10ft X 8ft. Mostly they always get along just fine. But last week I added 2 Orpingtons that are 5 months old and about the same size. I put them into the coop at night up on the roost. The first day the older girls made the new ones stand in the corner of the run with theirs heads down in the dirt. I didnt interfer with the whole pecking order thing. But the second day the older ones started pecking at one of the new ones til she was bleeding above her tail. I took her out to a separate area and put the other back into the coop where they wouldnt bother her. Later in the day I found her outside again with blood all over her. They pecked above her tail and all around her vent. Nearly pecked her tail totally off. Not the feathers....her actual tail. I have removed her and treated her all week and she is luckily recovering very well. I thought for sure she would die from the injuries.
    My questions are about mixing flocks and how to not let this happen again. I had a similar situation when I added the americaunas in with the leghorns last year. It took weeks to finally get them together without pecking and serious wounds. The americaunas are definitely low on the pecking order. And yesterday I saw a wound on one of the americaunas again. IF I can determine which hen is pecking others, do I need to cull her from the flock?? Debeaking her is just to cruel. I would like to extend my run to double size and add more chickens of different breeds but I sure dont want to go thru all this again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Clinton, OH
  3. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:[​IMG] I agree and the method works great for me every time
     
  4. FleurSlkie

    FleurSlkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2011
    East Coast
    Emily,
    I have had the same problem as you. New additions can lead to much blood shed especially when the area is a small one. Giving them more room fixed my issues as well as creating a hospital wing/isolation wing injuries. A bloody bird will continue to get pecked until it is healed.

    Quote:
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I don't know leghorns' temperaments, but obviously some breeds are more aggressive than others. Buff orps are among the most docile breeds, which is probably why you almost lost one. Space is a huge factor when integrating birds - that's why folks who free-range seem to find integrating easier. With the birds you have, I would definitely want more than the recommended 10 sq. ft of run space for each bird, unless you can identify and cull the aggressive ones. Really, I'd want more indoor space as well.

    Make sure you have plenty of roosts and barriers in the run so that lower birds can get out of the way. Also be sure you have more than one feeder/waterer available, set apart, so that lower birds have access to food. I would not keep a hen that is as aggressive as what you're describing...
     
  6. Rachel'sFlock

    Rachel'sFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    So sorry to hear about your trouble with integration.
    I recently integrated 8 teen chicks with my 6 1-year-old hens. I put them in a separate mini-coop inside the coop, so the bigs could get to know they were there without any chance of them hurting the littles.
    Then I lifted a section of the door so they could intermingle, but the babies could escape.
    Then I removed the door, entirely.
    Then, I released them all into their new run, where none of them had ever been before, so it made it a bit of a level playing field, just as the peeping ended and the bocking began.
    The whole process took about 8 weeks, and now, they are still very much 6 and 8, rather than a flock of 14, but they have worked out their own pecking order and difficulty has been kept to a minimum.

    Best of luck to you with your process.
    Brightest Blessings!
     
  7. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Leghorns and americana's are both high strung breeds - they can be agressive and are definately into everything.

    Orpingtons are as mellow as they get - mixing the two is difficult if the orps are the younger.

    I have not had anyone bloodied (excpet for a polish who couldn't see them coming) and I use the same - stuff 'em in there at night technique.

    You have two choices as I see it - maybe three

    1) as mentioned above - side by side coops/runs for several weeks. - Pro - they integrate into the same flock w/o being able to touch each other. Con - cost - who has a second coop and run/

    2) totally mess up the pecking order - when my polish was pounded - I took her out to heal and then when I re-introduced her I kulled the top hen. They all got along perfectly after that - the entire pecking order had to be redone and the polish were just another part of it.

    Maybe 3) raise the BO's in another location all together - garden etc. and keep 2 flocks.
     
  8. Emily1220

    Emily1220 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2011
    Florida
    I guess once they are all healed up it will be a pen within a pen until I can increase the run size and leave a barrier between them. Thank you everyone!!!
     

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