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integrating pullets

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by leetfreq925, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Ipswich, MA
    I am having a heck of a time getting my 2 pullets in with the rest of my hens. I have (4) 1.5 year old hens and I have been trying to get my now 16 week pullets in with them full time. Since the middle of May, the two pullets have been in a tractor that abuts the main run. The girls could all talk and get to know each other. The past month and some they have been free ranging together for hours a day. The two pullets always stay away from the other 4 girls and the girls tend to buzz them every so often, but for the most part everyone is happy. About a month ago, the pullets went into an enclosure in the run so they could be part of the group. Every so often, i would leave them out there and try to get them to go to bed with the big girls, but no luck until a few nights ago. They have all been going to bed together, but come 5:40 am, there is mad hysteria in the coop and the big girls attack the little ones pretty badly. One of the pullets is now missing her tail... Any suggestions on how to get them together for good? I am in a quiet neighborhood and away at work during the day, so I can't leave them together and make horrible noises during the day. How can I get them to play nice???? The pullets should be laying soon for crying out loud. help!
     
  2. Chickadee-23

    Chickadee-23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, I had that same problem, I waited till my pullets were 6 months old, and I have gams hens thy are cocky lol, I had to put them in the coop were the older hens roost, I did about 12am, and I would check on the at the break of dawn see if they are ok, the older ones would still torment them so I seperate them again for another few weeks, I took about 2 more times for they except them lol, I told was not to introduce them until there about 6 to 8 months old mine were 7 months when i did it, they will still pick its called a pecking order to let the young ones know that there the boss, but not as bad they would eventually get along. I hope this can help, maybe someone else has a better ideas, u hve to put the on the roost next to the adult birds.
    Chickadee-23
     
  3. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Chickadee-23! That at least makes me feel better that it does take longer to make this happen. I guess first time may not be a charm and maybe they are still too young... they are just on the cusp of not cheeping anymore, which is something I was told to wait for, too. I do put them up on the roost at night and the big girls quiet down and seem to be ok with it. Until the morning... but I guess I'll keep separating them until they get used to each other one of these mornings, as it may take more time than i'm giving them. I'm fine with some pecking, but they pin the chicks and go to town on them, which is a little more than putting them in their place. Thanks for your input.
     
  4. Chickadee-23

    Chickadee-23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your welcome!! I hope soon your able to put them in with older girls, just keep trying eventually they will give up, what breed are your hens? Good luck!!
     
  5. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I won't give up! Might get a little annoyed in the meantime, but they have to give in sooner or later. They went in again last night and everyone slept soundly until all hell broke lose in the morning. one of these mornings i'm hoping it will just click and i won't be awaken by horrible noises from the coop.
    my big girls are an ameraucana (light brown/grey one), a speckled sussex, a light brahma, and a golden comet - a nice little rainbow that runs across my yard. my little ladies are a cuckoo maran and an egyptian fayoumis. the little ones are completely inseparable and so incredibly sweet. wish the big girls could see that :)
    what do you have in your coop and how long have you been raising chickens?
    thanks again for the encouragement, it really helps right now.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    May I ask how big your coop is and how high the roosts are? At 16 weeks yours are too big to be able to build a safe haven for them where they can get through an opening into a safe place in the coop but the bigger ones can’t follow.

    What you are describing is not all that unusual. One way chickens have learned to live together is that the weaker runs away from the stronger when there is a conflict or just avoids them to start with. During the day yours seem to have plenty of room to run away or avoid. That’s why the two seem to hang by themselves. They are avoiding. It sounds like they can’t run away or avoid in your coop. That’s why I asked about the height of the roosts. Are they high enough that the older ones can’t reach the younger if they get up there to try to avoid?

    When I integrate chickens it’s pretty common for the younger to be up on the roosts in the morning, avoiding the adults on the coop floor. Or they hide in a tight spot under my nests.

    Yours is a pecking order thing. The older, more mature hens outrank the immature pullets. When the pullets invade their personal space the hens peck them to remind them of their proper place in chicken society, down on the bottom well below their superiors. There may be a bit of chasing but if the weaker runs away, things usually work out. Some hens are more aggressive about enforcing the pecking order than others. Sounds like you got a more aggressive one or two. That’s just bad luck.

    This probably won’t make you feel any better but I successfully integrate chickens much younger than that all the time. But I have a lot of space in outside and in the coop and seldom have a truly aggressive hen. We all have our unique conditions and each flock has its own personality. What works for one of us often doesn’t work for another. We just have to do the best we can with our conditions.

    They will eventually become one flock when the younger ones mature enough to make their own way in the pecking order. That will probably happen when they start to lay so you’re not that far away.

    Another thought. They are fine until they wake up. Is there any way you could totally block the light so they don’t wake up so early? That way you could at least sleep in. But there is a downside to doing that. Shortening the daylight like that would probably start a molt and they will likely stop laying until the molt is over. Probably not the solution you want.

    Good luck with it. You will get through this.
     
  7. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow! a lot of information here, ridgerunner, thank you! our coop is seen here : [​IMG]

    the actual coop up top has 2 staggered roosts and is about 4x4 plus the laying boxes. the run is 5x10 with a branched low roost area against the back and a single roost all the way across the front. There is space under the coop (the closed up coop only goes down to the laying boxes to keep it nice and small for sleeping in new england winter!) and then we added the space out back there you see unfinished that is about 4x3.5 which has another roosting area and screens around the top. so about 80 sq ft. plus the coop/laying box inside area.
    and funny you mention it, i DO have a curtain for the window you see above the boxes. I noticed they were all crowding to one side of the coop at night because there's a street light at the end of our driveway. i find this doesn't diminish the sunlight in the morning because of the screened window that is open you see above the addition. they seem to still get up at dawn!
    i free range everyone for an hour before work, then at least an hour after work, usually more like 2-3. my husband will take them out at lunch time a couple times a week, and the weekends they are out for hours. this past weekend they were out together for about 8 hours a day. i do everything i can to avoid crowding and giving them their space, but i guess maybe we need to get more creative, like adding a higher roost or platform for the chicks to retreat to during the day.
    my maran is the fattest fluffiest chick and, yes, the same size as my smallest hen almost, so she can't fit into a hiding spot. the fayoumis, however, is something else. she weighs about 3 oz. and can jump onto the top of the coop with no problem. her favorite thing is to jump onto my shoulder (from the ground) and walk around with me. so she sneaks around and evades the hens, while her bff isn't as agile and gets attacked. this is very upsetting to everyone in the coop and noise at 5:45 am when this happens is unbearable, let alone the maran missing her feathers.
    i understand there is a time when they will be picked on to put them in the pecking order and try to let it happen until the little ones are missing too many feathers or my neighbors pick up the phone to call animal control. ironically, it is my lowest hen (a speckled sussex) that does most of the picking! it's not the top hen, but the bottom. i think she's making sure she at least keeps her spot, but she is brutal.
    so i think i will add a higher roost/platform into the run for them to hang out and escape the bigger girls. and i will continue to put them together at night and separate them during the day while i'm at work. this weekend i'll keep them all together later in the day (after my neighbors are at least awake) and see how it goes when they have a little retreat space. and i'll just keep at it! one of these days it will take.
    thank you for all of the helpful information and encouragement. anything else you can add or think i should change, i would appreciate any input! thanks so much again.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That's totally normal too. It's usually the ones lowest in the pecking order that causes the problems. Probably for the reason you mentioned.
     
  9. Chickadee-23

    Chickadee-23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
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    I have question on this same thread? How do you put older hens from one pen into a coop with younger ones? They are all laying eggs, my younger ones started laying about a month ago, and my older girls have been for 6 months now. I have no rooster he was killed by dogs :(, but I was wanting to put them all together to get used to each other, Their breed is OEG golden duckwing bantams. Im wanting to sell all 6 of them, but i cant if they dont get along!! Thank you!!
     

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