Integrating 4 pullets with one mature hen

ErinLeah

Chirping
Apr 13, 2020
48
46
66
I have one hen left after a terrible attack on my flock by a neighbors dog. She survived (barely) and is traumatized. I thought bringing in pullets to start a new flock so she wasn’t solo was a good idea. They’re 11-13 weeks. I let them range together after 5 days of isolation in a coop/run in the middle of the yard. The hen pecks at the pullets and chases them. It’s going to get super cold soon and the coop I keep the big hen in is the best coop. The ones the pullets are in is one of those mobile coops that are flimsy. I was supposed to be getting older birds but when I got to the farm to pick them up the owner told me she made a mistake and they’re younger…anyhow- how do I get the chicks to use thebig coop? How do I get the hen to share the big coop- she floats her wings when I put a pullet in the coop. They all free range during the day and go to the coop to sleep. Do I swap coops between hen and pullets for the night? Help!
 

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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,197
36,929
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
You can try swapping the coops they use to shake things up - personally I wouldn't force the two groups to roost/coop together until there's less chasing/pecking in the yard.

Lots of clutter and multiple feeders will help as far as giving the younger birds hiding space and a chance to eat: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

ErinLeah

Chirping
Apr 13, 2020
48
46
66
I would really like to put the pullets in the coop because it’s going to get down below 30s this week and the portable coupe is flimsy and drafty. Do you think I should try and put them in at night when they’re sleeping? Should I set up some things in the coop that they can hide behind if the hen goes crazy? My actual coop is pretty small their yard is about 900 ft.² but the coop is about 16 ft.²
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,197
36,929
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Do you think I should try and put them in at night when they’re sleeping? Should I set up some things in the coop that they can hide behind if the hen goes crazy?
Depends... How predator safe is the run area? If it's safe to leave the pop door open to the coop (or if you have a light sensor auto door), you *could* try it, as that would allow the younger birds can high tail it out of the coop at sunrise if needed.

I just wouldn't want them to be trapped in a small space with no escape, if the hen attacks them.

If the run area is not predator proof then that's up to you if you're willing to take the risk of leaving the door open overnight. Or if you don't have an auto door you could set your alarm so you can go out at the crack of dawn and let them all out.
 

springvalley123

Crowing
6 Years
May 22, 2015
1,222
4,260
497
North of Phoenix
Is there room for a pet crate in the sturdy hen's coop? if so, either put all the pullets, or just the one hen, into the crate for the night, in the draft free winter coop. That way, at least you don't have a single bird in a drafty area during a cold night, with no one else's body heat to help her keep warm. You could possibly even put the crate onto a roost (lashed securely) but I don't know your set up. Just thinking the hen would like to be off the ground vs in a crate on the ground at roost time.
 

ErinLeah

Chirping
Apr 13, 2020
48
46
66
Thanks for your ideas. Just seeing these now but what I decided to do was to put two small milk crates on their sides angled into the nesting boxes. It would be difficult For the hen to get in there and they have a place to hide. I even put straw on top just for privacy. I did it right at dusk and they settled down pretty quickly.I do have a light sensor door so it will open at sunrise. My run is not predator proof as it is about 900-1000 square feet. Love the dog crate idea!
 

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