Flock integration question

Kyatesw

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Nov 6, 2020
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64
Hi everyone, I have four 14 week pullets that I'm working towards integrating into my existing flock of 3. I've been doing the see but no touch for 2 months and now I'm working on letting them all out together to free range in the yard. I'm in no rush since I'm building a bigger coop.

My question is how do I empower the little chickies to be less afraid of the big gals? I've tried letting just the little chickens out so they can get comfortable in the yard. And I've tried just one of the big chickens out with them in the yard at a time. The problem is the big chickens know the little chickens are afraid of them so they chase them back in their run for sport. My method for right now is to just let them work it out, but I'm wondering if there is something I'm not thinking of.
 

Kyatesw

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Nov 6, 2020
43
72
64
They just have to work it out.

My Splits harassed the Ideal Dozen for weeks after integration, but since I had lots of space, multiple feed and water stations, and lots of hiding places no one ever did anyone any harm.
Arg that's what I figured. I'm just annoyed that the littles are rewarding the bigs behavior. Thanks!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,954
31,369
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Arg that's what I figured. I'm just annoyed that the littles are rewarding the bigs behavior. Thanks!

Mine wisely fled and stayed out of the way until they started approaching full size.

At this point the Splits who are laying hang out with The Ladies while the ones who aren't hang out with the Ideal Dozen.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,291
23,588
907
Southeast Louisiana
How big is that back yard in feet? Do you have a photo? That's mainly just out of curiosity, it probably won't change my answer.

With my flock, the immature chickens avoid the mature ones. If they invade the personal space of the adults they are likely to get pecked so they soon learn to stay away. This is during the day and when they are settling down to sleep. If they get pecked and run away they might get chased but very soon they learn to just stay away if they have room to stay away. That's why it is important that they have room inside and outside, so they can stay away.

My brooder is in the coop so the chicks are raised with the flock. At 5 weeks I turn them loose and they roam with the flock in an area over 3,000 square feet. They almost immediately know to avoid the older ones. It's never been a problem.

I don't know how long you have been trying this. Yours may still be in the learning phase of avoiding the older ones. As long as they have enough room that should not take long.

At night my young ones do not sleep up on the main roosts with the adults. It depends on how many different groups pf younger ones and their relative ages but they find a safe place to sleep where the older ones don't bother them. As long as it is predator safe and not in my nests I don't care where they sleep. About the time my pullets start laying they are considered adults by the older hens and can join the pecking order and merge with them day and night.

It sounds like your pullets are still sleeping separately. In your position I'd let them prove that they can coexist in the run/back yard during the day for at least a couple of weeks before I tried to force them to sleep together. Hopefully your coop is big enough that they can stay separated at night. With you only having seven chickens total I'm kind of concerned just how big your main coop may be. You may require more patience than I do. As far as I'm concerned as long as no one is getting injured no one is getting injured. Life is good. They'll figure out all that other stuff when they mature enough.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,291
23,588
907
Southeast Louisiana
Arg that's what I figured. I'm just annoyed that the littles are rewarding the bigs behavior. Thanks!
That's not a reward, it's how chicken flocks work so they can exist in a flock. When there is conflict the weaker typically run away from the stronger. There may be some chasing but, in general, if they can run away and get away peace is restored. It usually doesn't take long for the weak to learn to avoid the strong. You see that some with adults but you see it all the time when you have juveniles in your flock.

Chickens are not human beings, they are chickens. That behavior is chickens being chickens. Practically any chicken can be a bully if they get the opportunity.
 

Auntiejessi3

Crowing
Oct 20, 2020
1,573
3,823
456
Central Texas
My Coop
My Coop
Arg that's what I figured. I'm just annoyed that the littles are rewarding the bigs behavior. Thanks!
They will ultimately be 2 separate flocks until they start to lay. The bigs will have their pecking order and the littles will have theirs(but the bigs are the boss) once the littles start to lay you will probably see more small squabbles as things rearrange again. I've seen a lot of changes in the last couple months with my 15 month olds and my 6 month olds, have faith in the pecking order they'll work out all out ;)
 

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