integrating new chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lissalischicks, May 15, 2016.

  1. lissalischicks

    lissalischicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    I currently have four 19 weeks chickens and just got two 10 week old chickens. I have the two little ones in a separate area within their run and I occasionally see the older chickens trying to peck at them. As of right now they do not sleep in the coop with the older chickens as the younger chickens have a separate sleeping. But as I am researching some people say to place the younger chickens in the coop with the older. I am not sure if this is a good idea. The older chickens tend to stalk and walk around the fenced area where the younger chickens. They seem to wait for the younger chickens to make a mistake (like stick their head out of the fencing or get to close to the fence) and peck at them. I am not sure if this is normal or are my older chickens just really mean?!!?!? Even when they are free ranging the older ones will run to the enclosed fenced area where the younger chickens are and pace around the fence trying to peck them!

    So my questions are:
    1. Should I be putting the younger and older chickens together at night to sleep
    2. How long should this process take (when will it be safe for the younger ones to be with the older ones)
    3. Is the behavior of my older chickens normal or is this normal behavior?

    p.s. I did try to let them free range with supervision and a little apart from each other but the older ones ran to them and started to peck at them mercilessly
  2. Rock Sister

    Rock Sister Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2016
    North Florida
    Yes, very normal. I have 16 week old girls that have been going through "phasing process about 10. I place mine in separate pen where other chickens are to acclimate and allow other hens to check them out without them getting hurt. They learn to catch bugs, watch the sky and others behaviors. At night, I use a small dog kennel and put them in that, then inside coop with other girls sonthey can start learning routine and hear the conversation between the others lol. I allow them to go from that to big girls when they can defend themselves as they make that nightly trip through the group of girls, less and less noticed every night. It's all about behavior imo, when your girls allow the new ones to come and go with little pecking left and only the guarding of the food bowl left, then they have it. I have a large garbage lid I really didnt need and I give them their food on this so wveryone has room to eat. Then, once early flock will walk up to feed and they allow eating side by side, without picking, They got it. I never give smaller hens their own bowl so they can defend for themselves. It makes for a hen that will walk away to avoid the hassle, a skinny hen forced to either wait until everyone done and eats whats left or one that is now spoiled and wont eat unless u fill that bowl. Everyone here, must get along, share and be respectful. If not, off to "Iceland" they go lol. Don't need mean girls in the coop nor egg eaters because the rest of the hens hogging. I feed freely... Always have something. The egg eaters get a grace until I scramble them eggs for breakfast. If that doesnt cure the lack of protein within a week, then off to Iceland for Sunday dinner. These small traits weaken genetics in my opinion and should be culled out. So overall, in our coop, introducing 4 new hens to 7 others, at 10 weeks in cage outside, crate in coop at night takes about 5-6 weeks to get the pecking order and respect built.
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    One problem you have is that your older ones are still immature, and they are going to want to bully the younger ones, no matter what you do, for the next several months until they grow out of the phase. The younger ones are also too close in age to the older ones for them to see them as non-threatening, and that's the other problem.

    Your best bet, and the simplest, is to keep them separate, but still within sight, until the older ones mellow out, and are probably close to point of lay.

    This isn't what I usually recommend, but your situation is one of those very touchy cases where doing anything else would just be far more complicated than any success it might achieve.
  4. lissalischicks

    lissalischicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    So it's been 3 weeks and the integration process seems slow but it could be because I am anxious. One of the older chickens could care less about the younger one. Two of the older chickens occasionally remember the younger ones are new but don't seem to care as much. One is just mean. She Ives to peck at them. I heard if you seperate the main bully it might help the situation. Any suggestions or just keep on seperating the younger and older ones until everyone is happy

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