How to Integrate

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by new2chickens2011, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. new2chickens2011

    new2chickens2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    350
    1
    103
    Jun 11, 2011
    Hi all,
    A bit of a problem. I have four hens who are a year old, and one new one who is six months old. I was planning to integrate them slowly, first putting Poppy (the new one) first with the friendliest older hen, and then the next, until they are all together. However, all of them chase the new one and are mean to her! Any ideas on how to help them get along? Right now I just have Poppy's pen next to the older girls' coop, so they can see each other. But that's about it. Any ideas will be appreciated!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    After the obligatory quarantine period, I'd put the new one with the most docile in the main coop and let them become friends alone and then add the others one at a time, maybe a week apart then the meaner ones will be the new girls.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,879
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My prefferred system is very similar to that suggested by ChickenCanoe. Difference is use two pens. Place new bird in empty pen and allow her to stay alone a day or two. Then on successive days add a hen from other pen working down the pecking order. Hen will likely be aggressive but new environment will suppress that inclination. A couple days separation of hen from balance of flock will make so balance of introductions will involve top bird with new pullet suppressing aggression by subsequent introduced hens as first hen will be forced to maintain her place in pecking order. I use this with juveniles when merging flocks several times a year. A good mature rooster with new / younger birds can also suppress aggression by older / larger birds. I do not like having individuals singled out and brutalized as that is a sign of poor management on my part.
     
  4. new2chickens2011

    new2chickens2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    350
    1
    103
    Jun 11, 2011
    Sorry, this has taken me a while to get back to. I have been trying to slowly add each hen to the new bird (Poppy)'s cage. I only have four other hens, but even the one that is lowest on the pecking order (Maybelle) pecks and chases Poppy when I put her in Poppy's cage. So, I haven't gotten very far and just keep trying to add Maybelle. As a newbie, I'm not sure and get a little nervous--how much of that do I allow? I suppose if I never get started and let them work it out then Poppy will be alone for a looong time, haha, but is it really normal? THey just will not get along. [​IMG] And I'm just not sure what to do-don't want Poppy to get hurt! They are all mean to her. [​IMG]
    Thanks for any more input!
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,879
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Put highest ranking bird in and keep her there. No real damage should occur. After a couple days make subsequent introduction. The dominant bird should direct aggression at newly introduced bird.
     
  6. chickenladylaur

    chickenladylaur Out Of The Brooder

    The way that usually works for me is that I will put the new hen inside of a cage within the coop for about a week. That way the older hens will get used to being around her and she will get used to them and they won't be able to hurt each other. By the time the week is up, they all generally get along. I hope it all works out! Good luck!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by