Help with introducing new chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nova022, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Put them in the pen and walk away

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Remove the bully/bullies and return them in a few days when the others are getting along.

    10 vote(s)
    66.7%
  3. Remove the picked on ones and try again later

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Just give up and keep two flocks

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have five 7 1/2 month old chickens (all girls) and four 5 1/2 month old chickens (all girls)that I have been trying to combine for over a month. They have lived side by side in seperate runs and roost in seperate coops with a shared fence for two months. I have tried to let them range together in a large fenced in area but the older ones corner a younger one and attack it. It is not a certain one. They attack all the younger ones, who run sqawking to the nearest cover. I have not seen blood shed, but they have pulled quite a few feathers. The are all about the same size except the Andalusian who is the smallest of both groups. She will stand up for herself one on one but will run if ganged up on. The #1 and #2 girls from the older group are usually the instigators of the attacks. Does anyone have suggestions on how to get these two groups to live together in relative peace?

    Neither group fights among themselves and all are people friendly.
     
  2. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To add to the dilemma my husband wants to add a 2 month old roo that his friend is giving him. After the 30 day quarantine it will be 3 months old. Should I wait until he is older to add?
     
  3. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any other thoughts on this? One of my 5 1/2 month olds layed her first egg yesterday and the others are showing signs. Will they get along better once they are all laying?
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do you mean by attack? Are they drawing blood? It is extremely brutal? Pecking and bullying to re-establish pecking order is normal behavior and is going to happen. It sound like they have already gone several weeks where they can see each other?

    I would make sure you have at least two feeders and two waters to give everyone a fair chance. Put these feeders as far away from one another as possible. Try to put something in your run so they younger ones can hide if they need to.

    I would let them all together in the evening when you can sit out there and break it up if it gets too bad but if there is no blood then just let them work it out. Keep an eye on everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  5. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When the first group established their pecking order it was pretty peaceful. Their was the occasional peck, but they pretty much fell in place until the underdog decided she had enough and stood up to #2 which instatnly elevated her to #3 after which they all got along fine. Trying to add these four has been a trial, I think the sqawking is probably worse than the actual pecking, though they did pull all the tail feathers off my Andausian and one of the EEs.

    Is it normal for all the first group to attack the same new chicken at once? That is what worries me the most. I think one on one they could work it out without anyone getting hurt too bad.
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If it appears that a couple of the older hens are instigating these attacks then I'd try pulling them out for a while, like a week, and see how it goes with the rest of the flock. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't and they go right back to their old behavior. I generally don't have any trouble integrating new youngster's who've been raised in a growout pen alongside the older birds, it usually goes really well. There are shoulder pecks and the occasional raised hackles but I also have a very good, mature rooster who gently but firmly breaks up squabbles before they progress to anything more.

    I don't know what to tell you about adding the rooster being given to you. All you can do is try it. He's very young so it will be a while before he starts asserting any dominance on those boss hens.
     
  7. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply. I never evisioned it taking this long to combine the flocks. I thought they would be one big happy family. Well, they do get along like me and my sister lol. Poor little roo. Should he have a companion in the pen with him while he waits to get introduced?
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Well and usually they do pretty well on integration after raising them like you have in the growout pen right alongside. But if there's no roo sometimes you can get a bossy hen that just doesn't want any newcomers! And if she starts something her flockmates usually join right in. That's where a good, older roo does come in handy.

    Yeah it wouldn't hurt to raise the little roo with a few his age, that certainly will help when it's time for his own intro into the flock! Might not get his butt kicked quite as much as if he's the only new one!

    Good luck! It may be a rocky road but eventually I'm sure you'll have a settled flock! [​IMG]
     
  9. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let them free range together (well, at the same time anyway) and they basically ignored each other. I think I will do this for a couple days and see if they get along better. At least there was not fighting.
     
  10. fatcatx

    fatcatx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no experience with this but two things I have seen posted elsewhere which you may have not tried:
    1) Take established hens from coop and let the newcomers become new "owners" and then reintroduce older hens.
    2) Put new hens in coop after others have bedded down for the night so they all wake up together.

    Maybe a combo of #1 and #2? Let the new girls claim the coop and sneak the trouble-makers in at night after about a week? Worth a try. I agree that no matter what you do some feathers are doomed to fly as they sort themselves out.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013

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