Hello and Best way to introduce a Pullet to an Older Hen??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jessie and Kade, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Hello my name is Tracy and We are new to the BYC. We strangely just got started in keeping back yard chickens by this Random Pure RIR Hen coming onto our unfenced property and making it her home ( literally trying to come into my house )!! There is only 1 household in my direct neighbourhood that I Know has chickens and I tried talking to them about and they avoid me like the plague soooo long story short she either "got out" and they dont care or was "let out" but either way we have a chicken LOL! She has taken on our family as her own and follows us Everywhere even onto the trampoline while the kids are Actively jumping on it she will jump up there to watch them. For the first few days we just let her free range all she wanted (thinking she may go back home) but once we started getting attached to her and realized she was staying decided to coop her at night and build her a run for when we cant supervise her as we are now attached and dont want to come home and find a pile of feathers (we live on country property but in a residential area and we can hear the coyotes some nights!) Soo on to my question LOL (sorry its taken this long but wanted to give back story on the situation) we dont know this hen or Any of her back story and a friend of mine said "chickens like to be a part of a flock and if your not going to have a Lot you need at least 1 friend for her as chickens are Not happy solo!" Soooo off I went to get her a friend (not knowing it could take Weeks before she Ever liked her new friend) She is a pecky hen with us and Seriously food motivated and will peck finger tips if she thinks you have something, but is friendly and tolerates being picked up. So I went today and picked up a French Black Copper Maran Pullet (Kadee she is approx 4mths old) to keep her company (from a friend) and she is sooo Nasty to this poor Pullet!! I have found Many articles on how to introduce a chicken to a Flock but nothing about 1 on 1 hen to pullet so Im wondering whats the best way to go about this?? My RIR (Jessie) has a strange tendency as well and that is she doesnt want to roost in her Coop (but will lay eggs there) but wants to roost in a Plastic dog crate on my deck outside my back door (where she can see us through the door) seems strange but I let her free range in the afternoon and at about 5pm she starts to stick close to my back door and at night fall when I go to lock her up she goes and climbs in the dog crate (the place where I cooped her to start with when she first showed up) SO cant really coop them together overnight tonight as the crate is only big enough for 1. So tomorrow I will go get a Bigger crate to put on the deck and try to "sneak" the pullet in after a few hours of dark once they are all groggy and see if that works but i did other things to try to help ease the intro like rearranging the coop and putting in the coop and putting a board over the pen (as its raining today and that way if someone wasnt "allowed" in the coop they werent out in the rain either getting soaked) moved feeder and water etc. Anywho they are separate for tonight and will let them attempt to sort it out again in the morning. Jessie is not That much bigger than Kadee but seems to want to make it Very clear SHE is top Hen here and Kadee better Not even Think about testing Those waters (even though Kadee will eventually probably be Bigger than Jessie as the BCM she comes from are Very big girls!!) Thanks for reading and for those with advice thanks in advance for your tips!!

    SIncerely
    Tracy, Jessie and Kadee
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    It would be much better to keep the new hen in an enclosure where they can see each other and interact some for a week or two before having them mingle. That way they can sort of get to know each other a little better before the games ensue. It's common for the new one to get bullied a bit before things settle. But do separate them a week to ease the pressure off the new one.
     
  3. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Thank you for your advice. I don't have another run so will have to come up with something so they can be side by side. I had them sleep side by side last night. I'm going to try all I can to help these 2 get settled! Kadee's breeder has assured me if it doesn't work out we could trade for another hen and see if that helps at all (maybe she's just too young and unsure of how to deal with an older ornery hen?). Does it happen where they just can Never live together??
     
  4. proverbs31chick

    proverbs31chick New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2012
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    I have a similar situation and need some advice. We have 3 rhode island reds whom we got as chicks, born in February, started laying in July. A couple months ago, we decided that 3 wasn't enough for us, so we got 5 english sussex pullets (they were about 3 months old at the time, so now almost 5 months). At first we kept them separated (but visible to each other through a fence) for a couple weeks so that they would get to know each other and get used to each other. They do sleep in the same coop at night, though, but I try to go out first thing in the morning to let them out and separate them. There were a few times in the beginning that I didn't get out there early enough and there was some feather picking and a bit of blood (RIR's pecking the ES's).

    A few weeks ago we started to try to integrate them, but it hasn't been great. Our first step was to let all 8 of them free range the yard for a few days. This was ok but not great... the RIR's were definitely bullying the ES's and guarding the food/water bowls (i had to put out 3 different food bowls in different parts of the yard!) but there is enough room/places to hide in our yard that they mostly stayed out of each other's way, though I would hear squawks from time to time.

    Our next step was to introduce the RIR's one at a time to the ES's in the run. So, we would have 2 RIR's in the coop, and 1 RIR in the run with all 5 of the ES's. That didn't go well, as the RIR (all 3 of them did this) would run around picking at the ES's the whole time (we have a large run with bushes and a small tree in it, so there is plenty of space and places to hide). I felt so bad for the little pullets that I didn't let this go on for long.

    That was our last attempt at integrating them, and since then we have just kept them separate to make it easier. However, soon the ES's will be laying, and we need them to have access to the coop to get to the nesting boxes (plus i dont want to have to go out at 6am for the rest of my life to separate them! :p )

    Any suggestions? More free range time in the yard (our yard is getting torn up!)? I have read that ES's are very docile, so they don't stick up for themselves even now that they are bigger :( Do i just need to let them all work it out in the run until they have established a pecking order, or...?? I just don't like hearing the little ones get picked on :(

    Thank you so much! The lesson I have learned is... get more chickens than I think I need for our future flock! Easier to cull than introduce new ones.
     
  5. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    I wish I had an answer for you lol...but it seems we are kind of in the same situation. Its starting to sound (to me anyway) that RIR's are the Hardest to introduce! I dont want to have to get rid of my RIR as shes our first and really does Love our family and almost seems to think shes human nor do I want to loose her Excellent egg laying (she has laid an egg a day since she moved in) but shes just so darn nasty to our pullet. Tried Again tonight to add baby once they both were sleepy Yeah Right!!! That doesnt work at All. Jessie (RIR) got right up and started in so I removed Kadee and put her in her own house. Jessie Does NOT like sharing sleeping quarters which was the Whole reason for getting another Hen (warmth, company, extra set of eyes to watch for predators etc.) and she wants Nothing to do with her!! I'm really starting to think she got the boot from her old flock for being nasty with other chickens which is why she liked it here because there were no other chickens here. Are there any chickens here that live Solo? Anyone have 1 that just was Not interested in being around other chickens??
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    The only ones I've known of that are solo aren't that way because they prefer it. But on to your dilemma. There is a lot of posturing and pecking and fighting going on when birds are first introduced. Sometimes it's nothing that even causes you notice and sometimes it goes to the other extreme. I say, so long as you're not seeing blood or lots of feathers being pulled out, let them sort it out. Since they've been together anyway a few days, keeping them separate at first is sort of out of the question anyhow. My suggestion was for them to be kept separate but so they can see each other before being allowed to spend any great amount of time together. At this point doing same won't solve anything. What's done is done. Again, let them just sort it out, unless one is showing obvious injury.

    Let me expand on what I mean. "Pecking order" is just that. They peck hell out of each other to establish who is higher. And the lower one in the order does get some grief indeed until it's all worked out. Chicken society isn't like mammal's societies. They are not sweet and wonderful to each other often. It takes time. Once grown, they don't really "cuddle" on the roost and keep each other warm, they simply keep each other company. The incumbent chicken has the roost. The new one has to be around a while and "earn" the right to be there. They aren't doing anything out of the ordinary and you aren't seeing anything extreme. Let them work it out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  7. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Oh yes I understand what you had said I did the 1 In 1 out method yesterday do everyone got to stretch their legs and still have use of the pen/yard. But at night fall I had heard of others putting them in the coop once everyone was groggy and when they wake up everyone's happy. So that was what I was thing for that way at least at night they both had company. My hubby thinks I worry too much. Out pullet is 4mths old and is a Big girl she's almost as tall as our RIR. Ur our RIR out weighs her for sure! Wish I had more back story on our RIR seems like it would help! Thanks for your advice I will keep them separate for now until things calm down a bit.
     
  8. Jessie and Kade

    Jessie and Kade Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Well I managed to introduce them for daytime BUT they will not sleep together so today we Finally got the Big Coop done and my RIR hen is NOT being very nice she Really feels it necessary to "put my BCM in her place"!! They have been calm during the day and my RIR even looks for my BCM when they are free ranging BUT gets Really nasty at bedtime! I tried to put a heat lamp in there for the night but that seemed to make it so my RIR could find my BCM and beat her senseless. So i took the light out and things calmed right down and i went back out 20mins later and they were both huddled down sleeping on opposite sides of the coop. Any suggestions how to keep them warm without adding light as that seems to agitate the co-habitation situation?
     
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Unless it's way below freezing and they have a draft on them, they're fine as they are. No need to add any heat. They have on feather long johns that keep them pretty warm, even in freezing temps. They only need to be protected from rain and snow, and a place to get out of the wind.
     

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