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how to integrate these ladies? (complex chicken math)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by perl, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. perl

    perl In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    Corvallis, OR
    Calling all integration experts! Here's what we have:

    2 established ladies (a little over a year old)
    2 newish young ones (approx. 15 weeks old)
    1 VERY (as in we just picked her up) new older hen that was being bullied at my friend's house.

    Right now we have 2 established ladies in their big run/coop, 2 newish/young ones in the tractor, and victim of domestic hen violence in a dog crate. How on earth are we going to merge these birds?

    I'm thinking that brand new beat-up lady should go into the tractor with the young ones for a bit so she can chill out? I don't want to leave her in the dog crate for long. Then maybe add these 3 to the existing 2? But then again I really have no idea? Any suggestions on how to make this work?
  2. krobin04

    krobin04 In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2010
    Lincoln County
    We have an assortment of hens we are trying to figure out the same. So far, we put the "strangers" in with the others for a little while everyday, and see whom picks on whom. That way we can see who is going to be head honcho, but I can't stand to see them pick on eachother, so as of yet, just visitation.
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I've done this lots. There are generally 2 techniques you can use - no matter they will need to re-establish a pecking order so there will be some picking & chasing no matter what you do. But once they establish this they will settle down & you wont have any issue.

    Technique 1: Set up a parallel run right next to the existing one & let the birds live next to each other for a couple of weeks. That way - they see & interact but can't be picked on.

    Technique 2 (& the one I use): Chickens can't count. If they wake up in the morning & there are more hens than when they went to bed they assume they have been there the entire time. Slip all of the new hens young and old onto the perch after dark (I do it around 10pm because they have been asleep a while). That's it!

    Again - they need to establish a pecking order so there will be some thumping on the head no matter what you do - but it shouldn't be anything serious. Also - make sure they have plenty of room to run away if the big hens get too mean. Once the new hens understand who is the boss they will run when the 'head hen' comes running.

    I've used this technique several times & it works pretty well.

    Good luck.
  4. perl

    perl In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    Corvallis, OR
    Thanks M_F (am I allowed to call you that? It doesn't sound very nice - heh)!

    I went ahead and got the one hen out of the dog crate and let her run around the chicken yard by herself and she was *thrilled*. I figured, what the heck - everyone is so confused that I'll just put the young birds in there and see how they do. It went better than I expected! The big hen even showed the little ladies how to go up the stairs and into the coop to bed. Nobody wanted to sit next to her, though, because she was pecking and being kind of mean but it only lasted a few minutes. She's back on top, baby!

    Everyone is tucked in for the night. New ladies are in the coop and our resident birds are on the patio table on the deck(which they would choose over the coop any day - whatever). I'll deal with the grand introductions of all five later. This is quite enough for today!

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