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Dominant existing flock and new hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ceri, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Ceri

    Ceri Hatching

    Mar 29, 2017

    I have been keeping hens for about 6-8 years now and am currently have a bit of an issue with my existing hens.

    Currently I have a very large columbine, a dominant fenning cou cou and a ranger. All are full size and are the last of my last flock, I recenly went to buy 3 new hens to add to my flock, a columbine, another Cou Cou and a Bluebell at 19-21 weeks old.

    Please see attached photo of my house, run and external run. to get a better idea of my situation

    They have a coop which is roughly 1.5m x 1.5m with multiple perches and egg boxes, the ladder leads down to a covered internal run of around 3m x 1m with a concrete base. This has a large round hanging feeder and water bowl in and a straw base replaced weekly.
    When the ground is not wet the have an external run, the main length is pictured in red, this is approx 4m by 1m plus the additional bit by the internal run door, this run has as you can maybe see long zig zagging perches and also a 1x1m corrugated PVC end that allows that portion ot stay dry for year round sand baths even in winter. The chickens are also regularly allowed into the main garden for grass and free roam under supervision.

    When I got the new chickens I was aware they were much younger and smaller than the exiting dominant chickens so I had the new ones lock outside with a separate water bowl and feeder for one week where I would in the evening pick them up and put them in a back up house, this allowed them to see but not be touched by the existing hens after 1 week I opened the separating door, all seemed mostly fine and the new hens just seemed to hide under the outside run cover staying clear of the new hens after a few little pecks and chases. Days went past and the new hens were not going anywhere near them just hiding in the corner and they hadent got the chance to learn the layout of the inside and coop so I was every evening picking them up and putting them in the house at night. A few more days and the exiting chickens were very violently attacking them giving them no quarter. I am aware this is normal but when blood was drawn I had to re separate them. A gave it another week of half run serperation and tried again, but no luck. The existing chicks literally stand with all their weight on there backs and tuck at their feathers and pull at their combs with then cowering with no where to go until I stop them.I ahve tried letting them out on the grass together where there is much more space but the same happens with all 3 dominating an individual. I have even tried letting them do it in hope they will get to a point where they decide they have made their mark and will leave them but it gets too rough and I feel I have to stop it.

    The issue is I am going away for a few days aboard next month so I really need to know they will be safe and get on.

    The last resort would be a separate house and run next door (out of shot) but then I would end up with 3 chickens in this enormous house and run

    Any help appreciated!

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Your existing house is too small to add any to. The original birds will continue to defend their small territory against more birds. Housing them next to each for a long while may work, but in your situation I wouldn't count on it working. You will need more space or another coop.
    1 person likes this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    agreed. While more birds can be crowded into a small space, it invites aggression issues including blood shed and possibly leading up to death.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    Going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to integrate new birds into that small space.

    Oh, and, Welcome to BYC......sorry we can't give more encouraging advice.
    I've got to give you kudos for your clear, detailed explanation and an excellent illustration.

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