Help, added new hens to flock....2 are mingling other 2 are scared???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by definetlydeb, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. definetlydeb

    definetlydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2007
    Tioga/Potter County
    Hi there with my new flock, I ended up with 5 roosters and 9 hens....(all were supposed to be pullets...but) anyhoo....when the Roos starting crowing I knew it was time to get rid of them, as I wanted to avoid the fighting and over sexing of my hens, one of my friends offered to do a swap, Roos for hens....YAY! Well, I brought 4 new hens home with me, put them in with my current ladies.....two of the new ladies, have become the flock leaders, so to speak...but the other two, will not get down from the nesting boxes at all!! They act like they are absolutely terrified. All are close to same age, 4 months.....I have resorted to putting feed up there for them along with a small watering they won't get down and it has been a week now. And, I have a window right over the nesting box, which I can see them well as sneaking out to see if they are at least on the floor......So....what can I do, I feel so bad for them and they really act terrified....Please give me some advice on what to do, someone said oh they are chickens they will be fine....yes, they are chickens, but I love all my ladies and would really love to see them outdoors, or even anywhere in the coop other than the nest boxes!!!! Help!!!!
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    A couple of things can often times help. And if you could tell us the measurements of the coop and the run. As often times space can be a very big part of the problem when the flock is not getting along.

    Next, go out and look at your run. You might need to set up some hide outs in the run. Leaning a piece of plywood against a fence, set up a roost in the corner. Set up a pallet on bricks so that birds can get under it and on top of it. Standing up a small 2-3 feet wide wall in the middle of the run, and placing a feed bowl and water behind it. So that when birds are at the main water and feed, they cannot see who is eating behind the wall.

    Chickens establish a pecking order by the higher bird aggressively acting towards a lower bird. At this time the lower bird needs to move away and out of sight. That indicates that she agrees with this, and does not need anymore discussion. What can happen in a wide open small run, with no where for the submissive hen to go to, is that the higher hen, thinks the lower hen is questioning the order, and attacks more forcefully simply because there IS NO PLACE for the lower hen to get out of sight.

    I have often seen my lower hen, disappear, order is established, and then within seconds, come to stand next to the higher bird and eat at the same place.

    So after you set up the hide outs, make sure that there are two exits to each hide out. Then remove the feed and water from the two in the coop. If you can let the others out for a bit into the yard. Then take the timid hens out of the coop, and place in the run. Then walk around the timid birds in the run, so that they feel pressure, and find the hideouts. Then let the other birds back in. Observe, sometimes using a stick to push an aggressive bird away from a timid one, but mostly encourage the timid birds to find the hideouts so that they are safe when you are not there.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  3. By providing food and water where they are hiding is prolonging the actual integration process...Pecking order needs to be established...Block off the nest boxes if no hens are laying yet...? I understand your worried, but Chickens are mean and need to figure out things on their own....
    Best advise I can give....Also you can set up a look no touch pen for the new birds so they all can see each other for a week or so and then let them all together?

    Good luck
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    As usual, Mrs. K gives good advice.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

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