Flock integration woes.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PoppyPansy, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. PoppyPansy

    PoppyPansy Hatching

    Apr 6, 2016

    We have three 13 week old pullets that we hatched earlier in the year, and three 1yr old hybrids that we have had since they were little. Ultimately, we want the six of them to live together in our Eglu Cube set up. Despite our best efforts we are struggling to integrate the two flocks, so I'm after some advice.

    We have taken things very slowly, and I'm beginning to wonder if they will ever settle down together!

    From the age of 4 weeks the chicks spent daytimes in their own run/coop set up (they have an Eglu Go), with the original hens free ranging around them. When they were 7 weeks old they would take turns- the chicks would free range while the hens were secured in their Eglu Cube, and vice versa. Once they reached 8 weeks old we allowed them all to free range together, with both runs closed and plenty of different food/water containers out in the garden.

    So, they have been free ranging together daily for 5 weeks... but we don't seem any further forward!

    The pullets keep themselves to themselves in the garden, and because there is plenty of room and plenty of hiding places there have been no real fights or issues generally... just a lot of chasing (unless I forget to close the smaller Eglu run where the dominant hen can corner and attack the pullets). No blood or anything awful to date, but even just yesterday this hen had a good go and took a few feathers- she is one mean chicken!

    I'm feeling dismayed that after 5 weeks out together there is no real improvement! I naively thought that after this amount of time they would have at least integrated a little bit- nope! Their behaviour is identical to when we first let them roam together.

    Lots of people say you should wait until pullets are the same size as the hens before fully mixing them (the pullets aren't far off the size of the hens), so perhaps I am just being impatient, but I'm also wondering if there is anything else I could be doing to help??

    On the one hand there is no rush really, but on the other life would be much simpler if I could get them all in the same coop together, and get rid of the smaller Eglu filling up the garden.

    Feels like perhaps until I put them all in the same run together they aren't going to sort things out? But I'm not brave enough to put them in together to see what happens? Considered doing the 'night thing' and put them all in together once it's dark, but sunrise here is about 4:45am at the moment so it would mean a very early alarm call to dash down and open the coop in case the hens don't just accept the new additions...

    Do I need to man up and get them mixing in the coop/run to sort out the pecking order once and for all, or do I need to stop being so impatient and just give them lots more time?

    Any thoughts welcome!

  2. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    As long as there's no blood don't worry about it. They won't act like a flock until the young ones fully mature.
  3. PoppyPansy

    PoppyPansy Hatching

    Apr 6, 2016
    Thank you both!

    Think I'll just keep doing what I'm doing then- at least they are all reasonably happy out in the garden together, even if they do steer clear of each other :)

  4. I have a similar situation. In all reality I may have three sub flocks that have now become two. My first (March '15) pair stuck to themselves when I integrated another pair (Sept '15). In January I got 5 new chicks which have grown to be adolescents now. Back in January the September two were only mid size and remained very distant from the March pair. So this new January flock of five teenagers have been free ranging for about 8 weeks now, and the other four have combined forces and stick together. I am realizing that these five are getting to be a bit cramped in the starter coop which is directly next to the big coop (it's only chicken wire between them so they've seen each other this whole time). But I am nervous about putting them all together. In this five, the lowest ones on the totem pole is my black Silkie Elizabeth and blue Cochin Phyllis. I am debating keeping those two in the small coop and just transferring the other three (a maran, a barred rock and a SLW). This is the closest they get...


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