Integrating new birds to existing flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cslosberg, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. cslosberg

    cslosberg Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2010
    We are in the process of integrating 4 almost 5 month olds (2 Buff Oprs and 2 SLW) to our existing flock of 5. They spent the first month in their own coop and run with the older birds looking at them. Then they spent a couple of weeks free ranging together but sleeping separately. Now we are trying to have them sleep in the same coop.

    The first night the new birds spent huddled on the floor of the coop at the top of the ramp by the pop door which we left open that night (it's usually closed). The 2nd night the new birds were again huddled on the floor of the coop, so we physically put them up on the roost. 3rd night same thing. Tonight when we tried to put them up on the roost one of the bigger birds that was close by pecked the head of the younger bird. She didn't move away, just put her head way down. The upshot is that one new bird is on the roost away from the bully and the other 3 are huddled on the floor of the coop in a corner.

    One thought we had was to make the bully sleep in the extra coop by herself for a night or 2 and see if that makes a difference.

    Are we interfering too much? Should we continue to put them up on the roost and let them handle a little head peck? Or should we let them sleep where they want even if it is on the floor of the coop?

  2. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    I wouldn't worry about a head peck. Let them work it out themselves unless you see bloodshed. Once a pecking order is established, things should calm down. [​IMG]
  3. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    My flocks are completely integrated. They do everything together, but pecking still takes place all the time as someone is always trying to move up in the world. Especially for the primo roosting spot.

    No need to worry, enjoy all the nuances.
  4. cslosberg

    cslosberg Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2010
    Thanks for your responses. My one remaining question is should we continue to put them up on the roosts at night or just let them stay on the floor of the coop until they are ready to go up on the roosts themselves? They are perfectly capable of getting up there - they are very happy to roost on my deck handrail, just not in the coop.
  5. hondo58

    hondo58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2011
    Your post is exactly the same scenario we are experiencing this week. The first night we physically put them in the coop and they ended up in a nesting box all huddled together. The next night our little bantam went in by herself but the three EES had to be put in. The third night they all went in but were still in the nest box. Tonight all went in again and our little bantam went up on the roost on her own. She tried two nights ago but the roo came over and gave her a peck so she went back down with the other newbies. The others will probably follow tomorrow....
  6. Ksane

    Ksane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 21, 2011
    Quote:Let them sleep on the floor. They're the new ones and they know it. Being up high or level with the older ones means they're trying to be dominant, they know that. So I'd let them stay on the floor as long as they want.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  7. Gullygarden

    Gullygarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2011
    Do they really need to sleep together? I have four five month olds too, and one bossy, grumpy 8 year old. I free range them together, but sleeping separately seems a better solution since the old lady is so very pushy and aggressive.
  8. Chickenberry

    Chickenberry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ack, I hate pecking order. We've integrated four new pullets (5mo old) recently and it was world war II from the start. We had to completely separate the youngest from the roo who wanted to dive on her and attack her every chance he got. Now they are together during the day, but she spends most of her time inside the coop to stay away. I keep telling my self eventually she will get out with the others.
  9. GordieH

    GordieH Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 10, 2011
    West Texas
    I have a Buff Orpington pullet I tried once to integrate into the rest of the flock a few days ago. I don't want to leave her in with the 4 young roosters too long. The rest of the flock was inquisitive of the new bird. But she kept moving away from them. Nothing serious until I went back to the coop in about 15 minutes or so. The poor little pullet had a little dab of blood on the top of her head. I placed her back with her other mates (4 young Buff O roos). I want to get her into the rest of the flock. But I don't want them to continue attacking her either. I know that once the blood flows, it attracts other pecks. I did this during the day. Do I wait a while and then try putting her in the coop at night? I will have to do it on the weekend as I work during the week. I don't want to put her in at night and then come home from work and find her dead.

    The cage I keep the 5 birds in is right along the side of the bigger coop. The older birds were purchased locally from a feed store on June 17th. We got the younger birds on July 15th (hatched/shipped July 13th)

    Suggestions please.
  10. Haywire

    Haywire Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2011
    Same thing going on here. I've got three 6-8wk old Doms that I want to integrate. The flock consists of 5 that are young also, 6 months maybe and one BR that's maybe 10 months. I think I'm going to give it one more week and then put them in after dark and see what happens. I've let one out in the day a couple times and the BR got all ruffled in the neck and pecked. Another time it was a 6 mo RIR that got aggressive.


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