Integration..advice?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JayDe, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. JayDe

    JayDe Songster

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    Aug 5, 2009
    Lithia, FL
    Our 3 older EE pullets (6 mos old) have been outside in a coop since they were about 9 weeks. We have our 14-16 week olds on the porch. The younger group consists of two Buff Orpingtons (1 male, 1 female) and three silkies of unknown sex. A month ago, the 5 outgrew the hutch they were in and my DH built a bigger one (since so many people said we should wait til they are the same size to try to integrate). Now, the Orpingtons are really getting too large for the hutch on the porch-it's probably only giving them 2 sq ft per bird.

    Two weeks ago our Orpington Roo started mounting everyone.....and I mean everyone....In the middle of the night he caused such a ruckus that I thought we had to move the Orps for the safety of the silkies. They are taller than the EEs, just not as beefy yet. The next evening, we put the Orpingtons out in the coop with the EEs. My daughter checked on them at 7 when she left for school and they were all still inside without incident. My husband got up, checked on them, and opened up the coop. Once it was open and the Orps tried to come out into the run after the EEs, the EEs ganged up on the female, cornered her and were beating her up...meanwhile my goofy rooster was trying to get out and ripped part of his beak off on the wire. My husband took them both back in with their buddies on the porch after cleaning up their wounds. There was nothing major on the pullet, I couldn't find anything wrong with her at all. They seem to be perfectly happy in their hutch, but I know it's not enough room and the Orpingtons just keep growing and growing...

    My question is.. Do we just have to stick them together and let that happen so they can create a new hierarchy? Should we wait until the Orps are FULL size? My husband thinks we'll never be able to put the silkies out there because the EEs will peck their heads and damage their brains.. When they decide to attack them while freeranging together, they seem to grab their heads and jump on their backs like a rooster would... but I've also seen them peck at the heads. When around the EEs the Orpingtons just run around like chickens with their heads cut off *giggle*...the silkies just sit there..since the roo runs so much, the EEs love to chase him. Will he ever stand his ground??

    I'm afraid we built the big coop for all of them and since we got them at different times, we wasted a bunch of space and will have to build another coop/run..

    What advice can y'all pass along on integrating these guys? Has anyone ever successfully integrated calmer breeds with an established group of more aggressive EEs? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    I always move mine out to the coop after dark, when everybody's on the roost already. They have to go on a lower rung than everyone else, or they get pecked in the head until they move down. When they come out the next morning, the flock accepts them as one of their own. There may be a few "pecking order" scuffles, but nothing serious. I've never had any of my birds killed or attacked when using this method.

    A couple of people I know, on the other hand, introduced their new birds at sunup. By the time they got home from work, the new birds had been pecked to death.

    Kathy, Bellville TX
    www.ChickenTrackin.com
     
  3. JayDe

    JayDe Songster

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    Aug 5, 2009
    Lithia, FL
    See, that's what I have read works and was what we tried. Between the three big girls cornering the little lady and ganging up on her and the rooster being so scared he tried to break through the hardware cloth, it didn't seem super successful. We put them in after dark as well. Thanks for the advice, though [​IMG] Maybe if my husband hadn't intervened it wouldn't have lasted? The girl didn't have injuries that I could find...just the silly roo who ripped the tip of his beak off.
     
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I think the "adding at night" method works well for those with larger flocks. I have always had to use the "separate but visible" method to do integration. I keep them in a pen that is next door for three weeks, so they can see, but not get at each other. Then I have "supervised visits", then complete integration. If you can free-range them together that helps a lot (I can't). I didn't read the whole post, as I have a headache, but later i'll read and see if I missed anything....
     

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