Having trouble intergrating chickens - I need Help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chuckzoo, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I have two BR hens now ~ a year and a half old and am trying to slowly intergrate my 3 month old Buff Rocks. It is not going well! They have been in the small run and coop seperated by mesh so have been very close and seen each other now for 7 weeks. When I try to put them in the big run with the two bigger hens they are really hard on them. They peck them pull feathers out and even try to sit on them. It was so bad that my one 3 month old appeared to have a brief injury to the head as she could not keep her balance for a while!

    My run is not huge, about 72 sq ft. which sounds big, but not really, so when they have no place to go without being cornered. I am really afraid they will hurt the younger ones or the pullets will end up hurting themselves trying to get away from them. I need to intergrate them soon as I will be leaving for two months.

    Please does anyone have advice on how to curb or at least lessen their aggression. I understand that this is normal but don't want my young ones hurt or killed!

  2. tegg

    tegg In the Brooder

    Nov 11, 2007
    right well first you could try the swicharoo. in wich the two new hens get free run of the pen and the other evil hens get seperated. one week should do it. then release the evil chickens with the other chooks and see what happens. if that does not work try spliting up the two bullies put one in with the two hens in the seperat pen so the bully is now alone and must get on with its new companions.
    if you can try to find the chook who is more bossy and seperat it so when its released it has to establish its pecking order again. all this changing and swaping will hopfully make them bond with each other.
    ultimatly rough scuffels do happen even to chooks that have lived peasfully for years will sudenly tear anothers combe or scratch an eye. so even when they are friends the two new chooks will still be seen as lower rank unless they chalenge their position.
    i hope this helps. i have tryed it and it worked ok, aspeshaly the removal of the current bully or leader as it throws the pecking order in the air.
    good luck.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Did you put them on the roost at night?

    There will be a bunch of chasing, pecking, bullying for a couple weeks until they get their pecking order established. Put out extra feeder and waterer, so the new ones aren't crowded out Can you give the new ones a hiding spot in the run? Like put a bale of hay that they can hide behind? I have pots of trees in mine (it's also my orchard) and when I've integrated, they hang out around the pots.

    It gets easier. The first time is tougher than the 2nd. My 2nd integration was a breeze compared to the first.
  4. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    At the moment I am trying the switcharoo method Tegg suggested. I am trying to figure out which of my hens is more aggressive so I can keep her on the one side of the run/coop.

    I have not let them roost together, at present they are in the same coop just seperated with mesh so they can see hear each other all the time.

    Good idea to put some thing in the run they can hide behind, I just don't want them to get cornered because that's when the hens do the most damage.
  5. beclu727

    beclu727 In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2009
    Dacula, GA
    I recently put two 4 month old EasterEggers in with my year old Wyandottes. They were in a chicken tractor next to the coop/run for several months. I had read somewhere that you shouldn't try to integrate the young ones until they stopped peeping and started to make more mature clucking noises. At 3 months, mine were still cheeping a lot, so I waited until they were 4 months. I put them into the coop and on the roost one night after the others were sleeping (or at least roosting and sorta groggy.) The next morning, there was a lot of squawking and a little pecking on the young ones by the older ones. That continued for several days. The young ones still stay in the coop a lot more than the older ones, but they are out most of the time now. One of the young ones laid her first egg today at 22 weeks 3 days old.

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