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Flock integration - What would you do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheSpiceGirls, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Here's the situation. I have an adult Jersey Giant (alpha) and a Buff Orpington.

    I've been working on introducing three 3 month old BO's to the two adults for about 5 weeks now. Letting them see each other but not get to each other. And then two weeks ago, I turned them lose together and it was going quite well.

    The BO would lunge at the babies if they got too close but they quickly learned to keep their distance.

    Well, the BO is really struggling with their existence. She's been the bottom of my pecking order her entire life and was bullied quite badly last year and I think she's just not about to go back there. And I get that.

    But now she's starting to stalk the babies and pull out their feathers. She stands there all sweet and innocent when I'm around. But if I spy on them from the window, she's quite mean to them. And when she goes after them, the JG sometimes joins in.

    So what would you do?

    Separate them again for a while longer? Or will that just prolong this adjustment?

    Leave them alone to duke it out? I'm not seeing any blood but it concerns me when she pulls out feathers. And I can tell when she's been tormenting them because they run and hide behind me and have this whimper/whine. Breaks my heart.

    I COULD put a peeper on her but I really hate to do that. And I refuse to trim her beak which has been suggested. Just had a horrifying incident with that when I was a child and that's simply not an option.

    I do have a very small run I could isolate her into for a time. But I'm not sure that's going to "reset" my pecking order since they are still babies. I think they are going to be at the bottom. My JG will be the top and the BO will be number 2 inline.

    So my thought is to just let it work itself out. The biggest issue I have with this is that they are sleeping in separate quarters and I'd like the babies to be in the house which is warmer and safer at night.

  2. mtnhens4

    mtnhens4 Chirping

    Mar 12, 2011
    Western NC
    If you're not seeing any blood then I would let them handle it, someone has to be on the bottom of the pecking order. In Dec. I added 2, 14 wk old chicks to my mixed flock of 4 and it has taken some time, there is still chasing and some pecking but they are together in the same coop and run, the little girls just steer clear of the big girls. When I first put them together the big girls drew blood twice, just be watchful and go slowly but seperate them if you have to.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Change structure in run / coop. Basically move furniture around. Move feeder to a different location. Apply treats patches where birds have to scratch or fly up to get at eats. Think diversions.
  4. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Thanks. Yes, I've moved things around in the run. And I've left the dog crate out there which the babies love. They were raised in it so it's home to them. They hang on top of it during the day and sleep in it at night.

    I was really hoping to get the babies to sleep in the big house by now but the big hens peck at them so I've given up on that and just let the babies sleep in the dog crate.

    I think I'm going to just back off and let them work it out. The only blood I see is on the very tip of my pecking BO's comb. Not sure if the alpha hen nipped her or if she scraped it on something. Either are possible.

    I have a long weekend and lots of free time this weekend so I'll spy on them as much as I can and go from there.

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