Integrating a pullet into mature flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by simplifylife, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. simplifylife

    simplifylife Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2012
    South Eastern Mass
    Over the winter I had a cochin hen that refused to stop being broody. I finally caved in as it was an especially heavy snow winter, and allowed her to set on a couple of fertilized eggs I had purchased. In the end the other hens bullied a few eggs away from her.. never sat on them and only one chick hatched out.

    Two months later I now have a beautiful Ameracuana pullet whose mother is a ditz and doesn't bother with her any more, and of course since she is lower in the pecking order (mom)... the top hen is picking on the pullet. I do not have an isolation area for this pullet... We have a small backyard coop. She stays inside the coop all day while the big girls head out to the run and on good days have the roam of my backyard.

    What to do? I have the ability to get another pullet the exact same age and breed as our Clara is. Do you think there is strength in numbers? As in will they be picked on less if there are the two of them to buddy up together?

    In the past I've never encountered this issue.. I wasn't so limited on space, and of course I had my own roos to do the deed and hens were always hatching out chicks... we lived in the country. Now I second guess every decision I make as I am limited in what I can do in suburbia.

    Thanks so much!
    Nancie
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Nancie, if the chick is not being picked on a lot, it should be OK. There is a difference in an aggressive hen on a seek-and-destroy mission and a hen pecking when a young chick invades her personal space. One is a real danger, the other is a pecking order issue where if the young one can run away, things will be OK.

    Exactly the same thing is going on that went on with your chickens in the country. The hen has weaned it and left it on its own. The difference is that you don’t have a lot of space, otherwise you would probably not have even noticed. It would have just hung out by itself and avoided the adults. You probably saw that a lot, just that there were more than one chick hanging out away from the flock. Just provide separate eating and drinking places so it doesn’t have to confront the older chickens to eat.

    I’m assuming the hen raised it with the flock?

    I would not get a new chick. The one you have is integrated into the flock which the new one would not be. By that I mean the others recognize it has a right to live in the flock area, just not in their personal space. But it still has a lot of growing to do before it can handle its pecking order issues. As long as it can stay away from the adults it should be OK.

    That’s the problem with not having a lot of room though. These things are more risky. If it gets cornered by an aggressive hen and can’t run away, it could get bad.

    I think she’ll be OK and really do wish you good luck!
     
  3. simplifylife

    simplifylife Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    May 9, 2012
    South Eastern Mass
    Well I had seperated out the broody hen after noticing the egg sabotaging going on, and put a divider between the brooding area and the remainder of the coop. Coop is not large, but large enough for the hens we have. I do agree it's a matter of pecking order and eldest hen/boss...putting the pullet chick in her place. I could seperate out a small area again that would be visible to the older girls..but how long before she can be let out with them?

    Thanks..
    Nancie
    missing the country.. space issues are tough.
     

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