In the Brooder
- Jul 8, 2021
So I have read that trying to integrate new birds into an established flock is easier when the established flock is younger. The established flock consists of 1 light brahma cockerel, 2 light brahma pullets, 3 olive egger pullets, and 2 midnight majesty marans pullets, all of which are about 18 weeks old. Then I have 2 pearl star leghorn pullets, about 12 weeks old. The pearl stars were in a brooder up until a few weeks ago and I've moved them into a temporary homemade coop in my garage. For the past 2 weeks, I've been bringing out the 2 new ladies and keeping them in a pack and play turned upside down so that they rest of the flock (free ranging) can see them, get close enough to smell and somewhat interact with them but not completely get to them. I thought all seemed well and decided to let the 2 pearl stars out today. Immediately all of the established flock came over to check them out, and after a few minutes of hanging out around them they all seemed bored and moved on, with the exception of one of the Oliver egger hens. Now this hen is a top dog if you will. She roosts on the top, and even my sweet brahma boy gets chased off by her sometimes. This OE girl literally circled the 2 new pullets over and over and kept giving them HARD pecks on the back. The little 2 were doing everything they could to stay out of her way, but she kept following them anywhere they went bullying them. It's been about 3/4 hours now and she goes in spurts where she will peck and harass them for 20 or 30 minutes then move on a while, then come back to bully them some more. So far no blood has been shed but I'm still a little concerned and nervous about putting the 2 new ladies in the coop with them tonight. Once they are locked in, they'll have little place to run and hide from her. I guess I could put the 2 new pullets back into the temporary garage coop, but doesn't that just delay the inevitable? Should I put bully hen in there by herself for a few days to help re-establish the pecking order while she's gone? Or am I simply overthinking this since no one has been seriously hurt or injured?