Help integrating my chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Hendaddy, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. The Hendaddy

    The Hendaddy New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2016
    New Jersey
    I have three Rhode Island reds that are 11 months old. I also have four 16 week old new chicks. Two Leghorns, 1 Coachin, and one easter Egger that turned out to be a rooster. The four 16 week olds have been in a coop next to the Reds since they were 6 weeks old. I have been trying to let them all free range in the yard and although the rooster is doing his job with his sisters, he and the others keep getting attack by our most dominant red that we named Adolf because of her aggression. Adolf will pull out feathers and they will all keep running away. None of them stand up to her. I was surprised that the rooster didn't stand his ground. Any ideas would be appreciated.
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Well your rooster is quite young, another 3-4 months will give him some confidence. He won't really be a good rooster for the flock until he is about a year old. He can probably bully the younger girls into letting him, but older hens will more than likely thump him good teaching him some manners.

    You might put Adolph in the chick coop by herself, and let the chicks out with the other hens. See if that is a go. Do make sure that there are hide outs, and multiple feeders and waterers. Sometimes if they are not killing them, and there is no blood, it is better to let them work it out, instead of dragging it out.

    Mrs K
     
  3. The Hendaddy

    The Hendaddy New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2016
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  4. The Hendaddy

    The Hendaddy New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2016
    New Jersey
    Thank you Mrs K for educating me on the rooster. It is the first one I have owned. I have had them out all day today free ranging. I haven't seen any brush ups. The two flocks free ranged away from each other. I have seen Adolf walk towards them but they run away and she doesn't follow. I think I will keep doing this for a little while but I am not sure what my next step would be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It probably will continue like that, with the pullets being a sub flock, lower in pecking order, but accepted until the pullets begin to lay. I raise my pullets in the flock with a broody momma, and after she weans them, they are a sub flock until they begin laying, then completely accepted.

    I am not quite sure of your set up, but I am assuming that eventually you would want the whole flock in one coup/ run set up.
    Here is a trick you might try is to let the older birds out to free range, and lock the younger group in the older birds coop/run. This will allow the chicks to explore this new territory, find the hide outs and the feed stations without getting attacked. It also allows the other birds to see these younger birds in their set up. Some people swear this can really help.

    Integration is tough, that is why once I went with a broody hen, I never went back. Even though I have to wait until it is her notion.

    Mrs K
     
  6. The Hendaddy

    The Hendaddy New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2016
    New Jersey
    With your help Mrs. K I have them all in the same coop and run. However for the last two weeks that they have been in the coop, the new flock, the Roo, two Leghorns and the Cochin, have all been sleeping in the nesting boxes and not roosting. I have seen why, everytime they enter the coop the three older reds scream at them. I have a store bought coop that says it's good for 7 to 9 hens and a 13' × 20' run.

    Also the Leghorns and Cochin hens are 20 weeks and have not laid an egg yet. Could it be stress?

    Thanks again
     
  7. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What size is your coop? Store bought coops are notorious for over-rating capacity.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^ coop size in feet by feet will help us understand.

    I put up a separate roost for the younger generation...and block off nests an hour or so before roost time to 'force' them to use roosts.
    Sleeping(and pooping) in nests is a bad habit you want to break asap.
    Your birds may be close to lay, but I wouldn't worry yet, it can be hard to wait.
    If you are free ranging they may be laying out in range area.


    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.



    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    Vent:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
     
  9. The Hendaddy

    The Hendaddy New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2016
    New Jersey
    Thank you Art and carl. Some great advice. My coop is roughly 4 1/2 by 4 1/2. They are only in it at night but free range from about 6 am until they go in at night. I have had them all locked in the 14 x 19 run for the last week hoping that if they start laying it will be in there or the coop but so far nothing. But they are making nest......but not in the nesting boxes.
     

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