How long does it take to integrate new chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thealpha, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. thealpha

    thealpha In the Brooder

    Dec 21, 2014
    I have 4 pullets that have been raised together and are now 3 months old and I am trying to integrate 2 new pullets that are 2 months old that were raised separately. I had the run divided for a week so they could see each other and interact but now I'm having some issues with the bigger ones bullying the 2 smaller ones in the run and in the coop! During the day they are all out in the run together and the 2 smaller ones are able to get away from the bullies. I put them in to the roost by hand at night when its dark so they can all sleep together and see each other when they wake up in the morning. The morning is when all the trouble starts from the minute I open the roosting box the bigger ones start picking on the little ones and I have to move them to the run so they have somewhere to escape. It bothers me to see the 2 smaller ones terrorized and ostracized by the 1 month older hens. How long will it take before they all get along and start hanging out together?
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  2. TheEggCollecter

    TheEggCollecter Songster

    Feb 16, 2014
    You are doing all the right things by separating and letting them run together, its frustrating i get it! It won't take long. The longest i have ever had fights go on is a month and half but the shortest was two days! It all depends on the breeds, coop size, age difference, and a million other things! [​IMG] Keep me updated!
  3. dragon30276

    dragon30276 Chirping

    Dec 30, 2014
    Senoia, GA
    One thing that has worked for me, despite what you are already doing, is to move them all to new digs at night. The change causes them to rethink the pecking order. Its worked well for me.
  4. mamajewls

    mamajewls In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2015
    I, too, have the same question. Except my first and second batch of chicks are 2 weeks old (they are all together and doing great!) And yesterday I received 8 one day old chicks. I'm not really sure how and when to introduce them together. I plan on putting the older ones in the coop here in the next 2-3 weeks.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    1 person likes this.
  6. thealpha

    thealpha In the Brooder

    Dec 21, 2014
    Thanks for all the help and advice! I guess patience and time are the answer. I specifically choose breeds that were supposed to be docile but they are not living up to their reputation! My biggest bully is my Silver Laced Wyandotte which are supposed to be really sweet birds? Next in line for bullying is my Easter Egger but that doesn't really surprise me since I got that bird by mistake, it was supposed to be an Ameracauna.
  7. thealpha

    thealpha In the Brooder

    Dec 21, 2014
    I'm happy to report that things are getting better. There are fewer fights and yesterday I saw the 2 younger birds lying down close to the older birds on the same side of their run. They still keep their distance from the older birds but they seem less scared and intimidated. Thanks for all the good advice!
    1 person likes this.

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