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Integration behavior...is this weird?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by salsss, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. salsss

    salsss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2016
    Adirondacks, NY
    I have 15 WO (6) and 8 WO (10) chickens...there are at least two roosters among the 10.

    After the see but no touch time (2 weeks) in the coop, i let the littles loose. A few were bullied mercilessly...by three of the original 6 pullets, and now the three are separated in a different coop. The coop is big, and the run is big.

    The 13 chickens are at peace...though the little ones don't really go out in the run, and hang out in the coop. A few go out and stay for a little bit but mostly they stay together inside

    The interesting thing: the original 6 roosted in a certain spot, in one corner of the coop. The others roosted on the same roost on the other side. Now, for the last two nights, the littles took over the older's place and are roosting there, and the three older are on the little's side. What??

    Side note, the olders are just coming into lay; the three bullies are laying now in the other coop.

    Chicken behavior is so interesting and I'm wondering if I'm overthinking this....the only thing is that I want to reintegrate the other three olders but not sure when. In a month when the littles are a bit bigger?

    BTW I used to call the littles "hellions" because they were so assertive!!!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Doesn't sound too unusual really.
    2 weeks is not that long to keep separated.
    The olders coming into lay can make them more agitated/aggressive, hormone surges.
    The remaining 3 olders may be overwhelmed by they youngers' numbers.....
    .....but roosting spots can change fairly frequently, no matter the age or seniority

    How big is 'big' .....in feet by feet?
    Pics might help.
    I'd try to put the 3 back in with the flock pretty soon and see what happens.
    Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, and places to hide/get away can really help.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. salsss

    salsss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2016
    Adirondacks, NY
    The run is 10 x 16, and the coop is 6 x 8. The big girls free range from afternoon until roosting time. I may have three cockerels in the little group...if so I'll re-home two. Henry gets to stay!! I have a small TSC run inside the big run, propped up so they can dive under--they hide behind it instead. Also some boards propped up with a space behind for hiding places.

    One of the jailed pullets is obsessed with the littles...she is not allowed in the run...she seems to hunt them! Here are some pics of the place....it's not fully finished. The nest boxes go on this weekend, and until then we have a plastic one attached inside. The three living with the littles are not laying yet though.
    [​IMG]
    The little guys are outside enjoying the run while the big girls are out foraging!
    [​IMG]
    The cage inside is gone now... it used to house the littles.
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nice space....6x8 might get a bit crowded in the middle of winter.....
    but I think your big run is roofed, so if you throw up some wind/snow breaks on the sides, that run space will work all winter.
    Most chickens don't care to walk on the snow.
    Maybe get rid of the mean girl along with the extra cockerels, get your numbers down for winter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Your coop and run are at maximum capacity for the well being of your flock, adequate but without any "wiggle room". I advise not adding any more to your flock unless you plan on expanding the facilities.

    Chicks develop self confidence over a period of weeks as they grow to size and learn to cope with the adult members. They are observing constantly and learn who to avoid and who they can relax around. This is best accomplished by letting them have as much access to the general population as possible.

    I like using the panic room method of integration, a safe refuge where the smalls can feel safe and relax with food and water they don't need to compete with the big girls for. Your chicks, by remaining in the coop instead of mingling with the flock outside in the run, are demonstrating this need for a space of their own in which to find peace and safety.

    My first panic room was a simple gerry-rigged affair in a corner of the run with poultry mesh and small openings cut into two sides.

    Now I have a partitioned run with 5 x 7 inch portals everywhere so chicks have escapes all over with one enclosure that's closed off where they go to relax and eat in peace. This accommodates them until they're nearly three months old and by that time, they are almost the size of the adults and confidently dealing with the pecking order.

    To see pics of my run, click on the link below my post on outdoor brooding.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. salsss

    salsss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6
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    Mar 26, 2016
    Adirondacks, NY
    Thanks for the replies! To be honest, I did not expect that all of my chicks this year would make it. I have a friend who just lost hers to a skunk and might offer some to her in a few months after she beefs up her coop. And I only wanted one rooster....We have practically every kind of predator here..bear, fox, weasel, mink, raccoons, fisher, coyotes that have wolf DNA.

    I bought the little run to be used as a panic room but the littles haven't quite gotten it...

    Today I notice that the littles are venturing out of the coop a bit....and have heard no skirmishes. :)

    There is a roof on the run. I plan on getting some clear tarps and hanging them with top and bottom tension to keep the snow out of the run during the winter. And hopefully modifying the pop door to cut down on drafts.

    I just wish they could all be together...the small coop is a monster to clean up with my arthritis!!
     

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