smac_bags

Hatching
Sep 11, 2020
1
0
6
I have 2 hens 1 rooster all 24 weeks. I've had my new group, now 10 weeks old in their coop, in a separate pen for about 3 weeks now. They've been able to see each other the entire time. I just integrated them to the big coop 4 days ago. There is definitely pecking going on, lots of bloody beaks. I'm wondering how long it usually takes for them to be nice to each other? They have access to their smaller pen but the bigger kids can't get in. They spend all of their time in there unless the big kids are out in the run. Then they'll come out and eat but as soon as the big kids come back in, there is a scramble to get back in the safety zone. Also, I'm afraid my rooster will hurt the little ones. Caught him stomping on one of them like he wanted to mount it. Did I integrate too soon? Any advice would be appreciated.
 

sloanbychoice

Songster
Dec 29, 2019
490
1,014
176
Wichita, Kansas
First, any sign of blood will cause continued pecking and bullying. Any open wounds need to be dried up, and they may need to be isolated until healed.

Second, it may have been a bit too soon. Some people have better luck than others with integrating. My flock is very particular about territory, so I have to do mine with extreme care.
My recommendation is to wait until they’re closer in size. When it’s time to try it out, I take one of the older girls and put her in with the newbies first to see how it goes. After that, I try another or try two at once.
Once it starts going smoothly, then I open up.

Make sure you have plenty of places for the littles to hide if you keep them together. Have a separate water and feed station near their safe place so they don’t have to venture too far to get to it.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,695
105,695
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
Pics of the two areas would help here.

Oh, and......
Integration Basics:

It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
26,137
16,827
797
Southeast Louisiana
I'm wondering how long it usually takes for them to be nice to each other?

My definition of a successful integration is that no one gets hurt. That's it. I don't care if they are nice to each other, mingling and playing together. That stuff comes later. Some are getting hurt so it's not working for you.

Typically mine merge into one flock, roosting together, eating together, dirt bathing together, and all that when the pullets start to lay. Until then they form a sub-flock and avoid the adults as much as they can, day and night. If a less mature bird invades the private space of a more mature bird it is likely to get pecked. It usually doesn't take them long to learn to avoid them.

Also, I'm afraid my rooster will hurt the little ones.

While he is a lot more mature than those chicks he is not a rooster. He is still an immature cockerel. They just don't act the same as a mature rooster. Each chicken has its own personality but typically a mature rooster takes care of all members of his flock. He should not be attacking those pullets. I raise pullets and cockerels with my adult flock all the time, often with three or four different ages of immature chickens, some broody-raised and some brooder-raised. I seldom have any issues but the immature cockerels are the worst behaved.

Did I integrate too soon?

I typically have 5 week old brooder-raised chicks running free with my flock. I've had broody hens wean their chicks at 3 weeks, leaving them totally alone to make their way with the flock. I don't consider ten weeks too early. My brooder is in the coop and the broody hens raise their chicks with the flock from hatch, so they grow up with the flock. But three weeks in the "see but don't touch" mode should be enough.

What it sounds like to me is that they are too crowded. They don't have enough room to avoid the older ones. I think that's why Aart wanted photos. We might be able to come up with specific suggestions if we know what you are dealing with. Without knowing what you have to work with the best we can do are those generic suggests she gave.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom