Integrating a young rooster to an established flock of hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crazychick26201, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. crazychick26201

    crazychick26201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello. I have a twelve week Buff Orpington Roo and two pullets . I am trying to integrate them into a flock of four older Buffs who just turned three in April. These girls have a definite pecking order and a strong lead hen. I have been trying the playpen method. I have the young ones in a grow out coop next to the older girls coop. They have been able to see each other for about a month. Fiiendly interest and pecking. No problems. Tonight I put them out to range in the paddock next to the big girls. Only plastic poultry fence in between. The older forks came to investigate and immediately got into a battle with the Roo. Bloodied combs on all sides. I separated them again and wonder what to do next. Wait longer? Just gave two separate flocks? Rehome the Roo? Any advice is aporeciated. I will NOT consider killing the Roo.
     
  2. Chickensfan

    Chickensfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi!
    wow, that sounds tough. are they all ok? Make sure you clean the wound out so it doesn't get infected. But, I would suggest 3 things. One, is don't run around your chickens! It may make them become more aggressive, especially that little roo.
    Two, realize that by introducing new chickens, you just rocked their world. Every hen knew exactly where she was in the pecking order. And you just made it possible for the ones lowest in the pecking order to get higher up.
    three, is, Put the new chickens in a crate or somewhere like that where no others can peck on them. Put the crate in the coop and then give them access to their own food and water. They will then start to understand to go into the coop at night. It will also help the 2 groups of chickens to get used to each other. And my last tip, make sure you hold them gently a lot. The more you hold a chicken, the tamer it will become. If you are having trouble keeping them still to do so, gently massage either side of their breast bones. Works like a charm.
    hope this helps!
    ~Chickensfan
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    You started out well with the smaller coop/run next to the big one....good job!
    But you still have a ways to go, obvs.

    What do you mean by 'plastic poultry fence'? The flexible, portable kind with big 4-6" mesh?
    Might need a sturdier fence to divide the paddock for another few weeks.
    How big is the paddock?
    Can you put a section of 14ga 2x4 x6' welded wire up to enclose a space for the newbies?
    Feed scratch treats along the fence line a couple times a day to get them used to eating near one another.
    Put some roosts hiding places in the youngers paddock space,
    so once you take the fence down they will have places to get away from the older birds.

    The cockerel is nearing sexual maturity and the hens will put him in his place, and not nicely.
     
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  4. crazychick26201

    crazychick26201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the good advice. The poultry fence is plastic netting with about 1 inch holes. It did indeed prove too flimsy. We will need a stronger barrier for sure, and will erect one. Good idea for putting hiding places in there too. The paddock is maybe 25 feet in diameter. The part we sectioned off for the little ones is about 3x10 ft. I only put them out in the evening. The better part of the day the main flock resides in a 6 x 12 ft. Coop with an attached 8 x 8 ft. run. Should be enough square feet for 7chickens. You said to keep them separated for a while yet. How old should the new ones be in your experience? The pullets are still small but the Roo is larger. Almost as large as my smallest Buff hen. Will the Roo kill or severely injure my grown hens? I thought this breed was docile but they fight viciously. Another mistake I made last night was to put Blu-Côte on my lead hen's comb. Then the other girls went for her. If they get bloody should I just use neosporin?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It's not so much age, as time spent in adjacent pens.
    Would be best for birds to live 24/7 separated only by wire.
    Is the paddock attached to the coops and runs?
    Pics might help, showing the whole setup.

    Blukote can be as attractive as blood...I've never treated the few cut combs I have had.
     
  6. crazychick26201

    crazychick26201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Me and the Roo. Used to be Goldie. Now possibly Galahad. He's a real snuggle bunny. [​IMG]
     
  7. Chickensfan

    Chickensfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so cute!
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Ah that's not bad at all. And those older hens are actually doing you a huge favor by beating up on him. He needs to be taught to be respectful, and that's not going to happen unless you let those ladies thump him good. It will make him a better rooster in the long run.
     
  9. crazychick26201

    crazychick26201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is the set up. They have been in the "grow out coop " for at least three weeks. As you can see it is connected to the big girl coop. Hardware cloth separates the two areas. [​IMG]
     
  10. crazychick26201

    crazychick26201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I feed them in the morning the Littles get all excited until they get their bowl of food. They watch each other like chicken tv. The lowest in pecking order of my big girls spends a lot of time watching the Littles .
     

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