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integration help

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rushdoggie, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Rushdoggie

    Rushdoggie Chirping

    Jun 15, 2018
    Vancouver, WA
    So, trying to make a long story concise.

    I had 3 chickens I raised and they were an ideal little backyard flock. They jostled a little for position but all 3 got along and roosted close and seemed to be attached to each other. Then one had to go and die on me. The remaining 2 seemed off, and when one would go to lay the other seemed lost.

    I impulsively accepted an adolescent (12 week old) cochin hen and tried to integrate her slowly using exercise pens to have her range next to the older girls and by making a sectioned off area in the coop. I was surprised how aggressive one of my girls seemed to her, but I knew this could be normal.

    Well, then the cochin escaped her coop enclosure very early one morning, and when we went to let them out we found her crumpled up with her head pecked open to the skull. Very traumatic.

    So I was able to get her healed, its amazing, and I ended up with another chick because she had to be separated for several weeks while she healed. I was able to get a mini coop from a friend who was getting rid of it and the 4 girls have co existed side by side, then gradually could free range together, then are able to be in my sizable chicken yard together. Big meanie still charges at them but seems satisfied when they defer or move away.

    I got a better bigger coop, with 8' of roost space attached to a 4x8 foot run. I moved the two babies (who are adult size now) and the less aggressive of the original two into the new coop, with no issues so far. Mean girl is sleeping in the mini coop.

    I was hoping that giving them the new coop it would not be her territory to defend, and that she could be integrated so all 4 would sleep in the new coop at night.

    My husband is dead set against it, and feels the dominant hen cannot be trusted and would end up attacking the young girls at some point.

    I would really like to have 1 coop to clean and get eggs from and just keep the mini coop for a hospital coop or eventually when we end up with new babies.

    Is he right? Is it reasonable to expect that they could sleep in the same place? or should I just assume I will have to keep them separated forever?
  2. Helloworld

    Helloworld Songster

    Jul 17, 2018
    Down on the Suwannee River
    Well, it depends. If there is a wound they will try to kill so mini coup would be nice but every time you separate their is going to be pecking order. Sounds to me that dominate hen is creating a lot of damage so in order to get more you may have to trade her out. I have had hens that never accept anything else into their group. Especially if grown up together. The breed depends as well. Cochins tend to be very docile and a bully will spot that quick and attack. I would get rid of bully and buy another cochin.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    So you are now ranging all the birds together, with minor chasing from the meanie,
    but the 3 go into the new coop and the meanie goes into the small coop to sleep...all on their own?
    If so, how long have then been doing this?
    It's possible they may all eventually coop together harmoniously(enough)...
    ...or the meanie may always be mean(until she's soup).
    I think it's @Mrs. K who says... always solve for the peace of the flock.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Try the pin-less peepers on her for a month, on the bully. A lot of people have sworn by them, especially in small flocks.
  5. Rushdoggie

    Rushdoggie Chirping

    Jun 15, 2018
    Vancouver, WA
    The wound is healed now, completely (its amazing, I'm going to post another thread on that soon). It was only the one wound, but it was a doozy, her head was completely pecked open from just above her little comb to mid neck with a quarter size bit of skull exposed.

    It was dramatic and scary and exhausting (rotating birds, cleaning wounds, dealing with her being stressed from no other birds close while she healed, getting the poor Chicken I Never Wanted (what I have nicknamed poor Frances) so she could have a companion while she was in the garage, then 3 months of gradual introductions.

    I just got the new coop last week. The babies coop up early and after just a few days go to the new coop on their own. I escort the older girls into the 2 coops which are both in my chicken yard. They readily go in for a mealworm and are kind of spoiled waiting for me to shut them in at night to get their treat.

    My plan was eventually to put mean girl in the new coop just before sunrise after a few weeks and hang around listening for kerfluffle as they wake up and get going.
    aart likes this.

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