Help - Integration not going well after five weeks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PlentywoodFarm, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. PlentywoodFarm

    PlentywoodFarm In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2013
    Gainesville, Missouri
    My husband and I are new chicken keepers this year. We bought six chicks in March. Four ended up being roosters (all labeled pullets - ugh). We killed and processed the three most dominate roosters and kept the two hens and one docile rooster (all Wyandottes). We wanted a few more hens and introduced two Rhode Island Red hens of the same age about five weeks ago. They were all about 5 months old at that time. The docile rooster has grown to be very dominant, as expected.
    When we brought the new hens home, our Wyandottes were free-ranging, and my husband let the new girls loose in the yard. The rooster immediately ran over, put his foot on the one RIR hen and continued to bite and rip at the skin on her neck for three or four minutes (I was trying to let the pecking order work itself out- but if I would have let him continue, I think he would have killed her. The "little reds" are completely terrified now. They spend all their time in the wooded area behind the house, and are sooo easily spooked. We rarely see them, except maybe a little glimpse of a feathered head between the tall brush every once in awhile.
    At first, we had to hand catch the RIRs every night and put them up on the roost. Now, they make their way up there on their own and roost on a different part of the coop. I guess that is progress, but I'd really like to have backyard hens, not chickens who live in the woods.
    Any ideas on how to make them integrate better? The rooster still seems hell-bent on killing the RIRs.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If they were mine, I would be tempted to get rid of the rooster, allow the hens to integrate, and if I really felt that a rooster was needed - get a calmer rooster.

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