Integrating Juvenile pullets

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by barrettdrka, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. barrettdrka

    barrettdrka Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 26, 2011

    So I am having a bit of a problem. I have my hens and roosters together that were raised from day old chicks last February. I have some juvenile pullets that I am attempting to introduce to the flock, and each time I introduce one it is killed. I sat and watched them for a while, the rooster was being somewhat protective of the pullets, while the hens went to their 'pecking'. When I walked away to do something else, I heard a lot of commotion only to see several hens ganging up on the pullet and she is gone before I can get in to retrieve her. The flock has never been this way with any other animal- ducks, goats, our dogs even. But, I need to find someway to get them to get along- any suggestions?

    The current flock consists of red rangers, a buff, an Ameraucana, and a few sex links.
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Have you tried the "play pen" method yet?

    When I introduce need birds I use a large dog crate (any pen will work or you could temporarily divide your coop) so that the old flock and the new birds are "together" in the yard and can see each other and be in the same space but can not actually get to each other. I do this for a full week and then let the new birds out for a first supervised real meeting.

    There is still pecking but it seems to be noticeable reduced.

    I would also put out more than one food and water container a ways apart as food is always a big contention.

    If you notice there is one bully that is egging everyone one it may be best to remove that bird until everyone is acclimated and then reintroduce the bully later on.

    If blood is drawn, remove the injured bird and do not try again until she is fully healed.
  3. barrettdrka

    barrettdrka Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 26, 2011
    I have not tried that. My wife and I discussed adding a "grow out pen" alongside the pen where the current flock is kept so they can get used to one another, but not have direct interaction. Thanks for the idea!
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Didn't say how old the new pullets were, but the closer they are to fully mature the better when introducing them. Also when you do remove the barrier, putting them all in at one time spreads put the pecking.
  5. skyblu

    skyblu Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Devon, UK
    how awful to have that happen! I do as the others here have suggested: I set up a coop and run within the free range area that my main flock use and put the newbies in there. They stay there for about 2 weeks whilst the others get used to the sight of them and eating along side them etc, then one day I leave the gate to their run open and they can wander out to join the flock. I've just done so with 5 new POL pullets and aside from the odd pulled tail feather, there have been no attacks on the newbies. The new girls still go back to their own coop at night but in time, I imagine they will do as other newbies before them have done, and choose to sleep in the larger coop with the main flock. I also have multiple feed and water stations set up. The other point, as has already been made, is don't ever introduce just one new hen at a time into a flock - I introduce a minimum of 3 - more if possible. Safety in numbers and all that!

    good luck with the integration, I hope you don't have any more casualties!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I agree, how old are the young ones? I've had fatalaties when I tried to introduce birds under 4 months, after that age it there was commotion but no deaths.
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens don't take well to newcomers. Period. Do the grow out pen. It's well worth it.

    You said each time you introduce "one".... so are you putting just one new bird in with the older ones? That is pretty much a guaranty it will be attacked. It's best to add several new birds at a time. But only after they've had some time alongside the older birds but fenced off from them and not until the younger ones are just about the same size.

    I would not put any more new birds in with your older flock for a while, not after they've been so aggressive lately. Let them settle down, put new birds in a grow out pen alongside them for several weeks. When you do finally let them together, do it when they are free ranging, don't put the newbies in the older birds coop.

    Integration of new birds works best and has the least stress and injuries when you take it very slow and give everybody plenty of time to get used to each other.

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