hen integration problem- what to do??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by birdsandbees, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. birdsandbees

    birdsandbees New Egg

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Hi folks,
    I have 3 hens (about 18 wks old) I've just merged with 3 that are about 26 wks old. They're all different heirloom breeds. We kept the new hens seperate in another smaller coop for about 6 weeks after getting them as pullets. They could see the other chickens, but were seperated by about 4 feet of grass. Well, last weekend, we merged the flocks and put them together by first adding the oldies to the newbies over a bunch of fresh grass and dirt to distract them. Then, we put all 6 into the big coop that night where they have remained together. The problem is that the newbies seem to just hang out on top of the nesting boxes, and not come down onto the ground with the other hens. Everytime one of them ventures down, she gets chased and pecked until she retreats.
    I'm concerned that they 1.aren't getting much exercise by just hanging on the nest box 2. aren't eating enough since they are up high away from the food and 3. aren't really integrating with the other chickens this way. Any suggestions on how we should work on bringing the flock together. This has been going on for about a week now. Thanks!
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Let them free-range together on neutral territory. Set up multiple feeding and watering stations to prevent fighting over resources. Set up places to hide on the ground so the newbies can get away from the harassment.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. birdsandbees

    birdsandbees New Egg

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Thanks for the tips. We do have double feed and water stations, but they don't seem to come down for that - I've been actually giving them some rations up top to make sure they're eating something. I will add a pet box into the floor of the coop so that they have another hiding place. Also, will try the free range plan when the 7 feral cats aren't around. What I'm wondering is if this is temporary, or if we don't help them out, will they keep themselves permanently separated from the older 3 hens.
     
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    It's probably just temporary. They will likely integrate to a certain extent. They may tend to stick closer to their original coop-mates, but the active pecking and picking will decrease over time. Hopefully.

    Good luck.
     
  5. PeepMePosted

    PeepMePosted Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2008
    Altadena, CA
    I hope your situation is temporary but ours seems (so far) to be permanent. Our 3 older girls are more than happy to free-range with the 2 younger ones with only minor squabbling during the day...but when it comes time to go to bed, the nastiness begins. We have to separate them with chicken wire dividing the coop. Otherwise the older ones will pick on one in particular and sometimes both. They are all full grown at this point and we thought this behavior would stop over time. We've experimented with leaving them all together just to see what happens but we hear the screeching fights first thing in the morning. Let me know how your integration goes. Good luck!
     

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