Integrating the flock...no one told me about all the screaming!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by orchidchick, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. orchidchick

    orchidchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    south florida
    To preface this, everyone is fine. And there was actually no blood shed. And I did spend an awful lot of time on the search engine trying to find out as much as I could prior to "the actual event".

    I have three red sex links who are almost a year old that have been laying regularly since July-August. I picked up 4 chicks in early December that I moved out to the big girls coop in early January in their own coop and run inside the big run. Big girls hated them on sight.
    About two weeks later, one day I came home from work and two of the chicks had dug out and were in with the big girls and to my surprise, no one was injured. That week-end, I tried supervised visitation, and quickly realized the big girls were out for blood. Dang, those chicks can scream! I tried several more times pretty much with the same result.

    I had switched everyone over to flockraiser with some gamebird starter thrown in, in the meantime, there was a flock block in the big run, all kinds of greens, but those girls wanted some fresh young, chicks. Then we had a cold front coming in, and I was not moving the now very big teenage chicks back into the garage. So that afternoon, they were turned loose, and the big girls really just kept chasing them, mostly the lowest hen, probably because she could! no pecking....just lots.....of....Chasing...and...screaming!!!!!! That night I put them to bed in the big coop on the roosts. Following the advice that I could find, for a week I let them have at it without interfering, again hoping the pecking order would work it's way out.
    But that one bully hen just wouldn't let up. I tried just locking her up for a while, locking two of them....this wasn't going away.

    So I took matters into my own hands. Most of the time the teenagers were hiding in the communal nest box, so they didn't witness the violence. But I have this very scary blue grabber stick after my last back surgery, and I chased those hens around the run until they were clucking and bouncing off the walls, kind of like they were doing to the youngsters, as I am saying "How do you like it????" and I put them in the corner for a "time-out". And the youngsters popped their heads out, and had a dustbath for the first time in probably a week, and the big girls stayed in the corner,
    .....and then there was peace.

    I still hear an occasional yelp from out there, but I believe order has been restored. And Mr. Stick leans up against the wall of the run in case those bully hens forget how to "play nice"!
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    Orchidchick aka the chicken whupper

    edited to add pics
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
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  3. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
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  4. chickenbuddy

    chickenbuddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2008
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  5. line-rat

    line-rat Out Of The Brooder

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    west central ohio
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  6. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Ha ha! Orchidchick, that was a great story! [​IMG] "Mr. Stick" cracks me up.

    Once they get the pecking order straightened out, they'll likely calm down. Just watch out for signs of any picking-related injuries.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    My pullets are laying in the nest boxes in the big girls coop but haven't spent the night in there yet. They have access to each others runs and coops. Tonight I tried to put them into the big girls coop. I have an electric fence clean around the coops and runs. Tonight I left the pop doors open in case there were squabbles. I went out to check on them and the big girls (2 yrs old) were on their roosts in the big girls coop and the little girls (20 weeks) in their, the little girls coop, on their roosts. We are going to build a new barn with attached coop. I tried to put the little girls in the big girls coop again. When I went out again to check on them the pullets were back in the little girls coop. I am hesitant about locking them in the big girls coop as I have a hen that is pretty aggressive and won't hesitate to jump on the pullets and really peck at them.
     
  8. orchidchick

    orchidchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    Quote:Towards the end of the afternoon I would close off the small coop so the youngsters wouldn't go in to roost for the night but did end up in the communal nest box in the large coop.

    It took me three nights of putting the youngters up on their roost (same height as the big girls, but different placement) before they went up on their own and stopped wanting to go back to "their coop". But in the morning, the big girls are so busy with their laying schedule the chasing thing is not much of an issue. I also waited until after the big girls had put themselves to bed so there wasn't any squabbles.

    I was fortunate in that there wasn't ever any blood actually drawn. That presents a set of very different problems.

    It's been two weeks now, and I think the flock dynamics have worked themselves out.

    By the way, your new set up sounds like it will be great!

    Orchidchick
     
  9. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    Those pics certainly help set the scene.... but what we REALLY need is an ACTION shot!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] The mere idea of you chasing them like that cracks me up! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. mrandmrschicken

    mrandmrschicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Several weeks ago I introed a new cockerel and his girl, to our existing cockerel and flock. The new girl has a sister in my flock they had not been together since last fall. I thought the girls would get along... [​IMG] or [​IMG] It turned out otherwise... [​IMG] The one with her tail spread like a turkey is my old girl, just before taking a bite out of her sister! [​IMG] I should mention the new folks had been in a separate cage within the coop for a week prior, so everyone could get used to each other. The two cockerels had a couple of dust ups but nothing major. It is cold here so there is always a red heat lamp on in the coop. On a warmer day, I turned off the lights and it was dark. When I turned it back on a couple of hours later, everyone was great! The two cockerels have formed their own boys club.... [​IMG] sometimes it worries me. [​IMG]. They even pick the snowflakes off each others beaks...? The girls get along ok but still not the best of friends...[​IMG] Turning the lights off does, sometimes, make them think they had been around each other forever... [​IMG]
     

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