Integration fiasco

emalin

Songster
7 Years
Jan 12, 2014
99
32
121
Sierra Nevada Foothills, California
I’ve integrated new chickens several times without issue. What is going on with this batch?! This was a small hatch of just two—one BC Marans rooster & one hopefully olive egger hen (maransXamerucana). They are about 2 months old & I delayed putting them in the coop because of extreme heat advisories.

My coop is large and can hold 3xs the amount of birds I have in there. It is partitioned and the new birds have been in their own section but visible for nearly two weeks. The favorite roosting pole goes through both pens so they even sleep very closely together. They free range during the day but stay separate. Big chickens, especially Marans, will not tolerate them anywhere near the coop. They attack & chase them off the property.

I tried to leave the partition door open tonight & had to rescue the littles who were being attacked. Do I just keep them partitioned for as long as it takes? Never seen this go on for so long before. Thanks.
 

BigBlueHen53

❤️ Love one another ❤️
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
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SE Missouri, USA
1. Is there a run they share, or do they just free range during the day?

2. Are there places for the littles to hide and get away from the older flock in the free-range area? Are there multiple feeders and waterers out of visual range from each other?

3. Yes, you may need to continue the "see-but-don't-touch" systdm a while longer. Can you make a pen for the littles where they can be visible to the older flock during the day but safe from them? Perhaps with small openings the littles can get in and out of but the big birds cannot? With feed, water, grit and shade, of course.
 

Ribh

Weirder, stranger, quirkier, lovelier
Premium Feather Member
Dec 18, 2018
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Island, Australia
My Coop
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A couple of things I've found with integration:
  • the larger the incoming group the easier it is on the newcomers
  • It is easier to co mingle Less dominant breeds than dominant breeds
  • I don't even try to run new birds with old ones until the older girls are pretty much ignoring the newcomers
  • I do long slow integrations ~ which may not suit your circumstances
  • it goes more smoothly if both lots of birds are similar in colour, breed &/or temperament
  • Multiple feed & water stations, some @ least out of the older girls direct line of vision.
  • Some jockeying for position is to be expected but if your older girls are particularly dominant types thye are likely to be quite aggressive for longer.
  • Good luck.
 

emalin

Songster
7 Years
Jan 12, 2014
99
32
121
Sierra Nevada Foothills, California
Thank you. Are Marans a dominant breed? This is my first time raising them. They are definitely dominant in my flock.

As for set up, birds free run on acreage so many hiding options. Older flock stays up by the house. New chickens stay close to the coop maybe 1/2 acre away. Coop is essentially one giant covered run with roosting poles and nesting boxes. It is spacious but not many hiding places. A chain link fence with door separates it into two pens when door is closed.

So new chickens have been totally visible for weeks & they do not fuss at all when in the coop together but partitioned. But if I leave that partition door open or if the girls come down to the coop during the day, it’s mayhem. My big rooster is mean to them too, not just the hens. I try to tell them that these are their children, but they don’t listen…
 

emalin

Songster
7 Years
Jan 12, 2014
99
32
121
Sierra Nevada Foothills, California
I will add that I’m in a bit of a rush because I miraculously found a local Marans breeder who wants my baby rooster. Happy to have him rehomed where he won’t be eaten. But I can’t leave his sister alone to face the mean big birds…ugh.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
10,868
17,738
726
western South Dakota
This is going to sound crazy, but I have had good luck with it. It is a little fiddlefarting around, but ...

Put the chicks where you have the big girls, and the girls, where you have the littles. This can break the territorial thing. The old girls see the babies in the coop and the sky does not fall. The babies can explore this new space without being chased, even if they have been able to see it, it is not the same as being in it.

I am a big believer in clutter, multiple hidden feed bowls, where a bird eating at one, is out of sight of a bird eating at another.

The last idea I have, is divide and conquer. Often times, it is just one or two mean birds and a group of followers, willing to join in the fight. If you can pull the one or two out, the rest can settle, after several days, then add back the mean birds slowly.

Or you can also try, just adding one adult bird to the chicks - a bit of bluster, but, the chicks outnumber her, and it is exhausting being the only one chasing. Let that settle, add another old girl, wait several day, and then add this foursome back to the flock. Adding more is better.

Mrs K
 

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