Integration......How Long?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by steny03, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I need some advice. I have four 23-25 week oldish black australorp hens that I have had for almost 2 months. On Thursday I added two additional 15-20 week old new hens, another black australorp and a silver laced wyandotte. For the first day I had the new girls locked in the run, with the established girls free ranging. Everybody seemed ok with everybody else. There was a lot of interest, but no seemingly aggression. That evening I let them all free range together.

    However, when it was time to go back into the run/coop, everybody was picking on the wyandotte. I mean feather pulling, etc, but no blood. But it was hard to watch them all pick on one of the new girls. I went to check again after the sun went down, and all the girls were in the coop, so I thought that was a good sighn. Yesterday I let them all free range again together, figuring the more space the better. Last night when it was time to be locked up again for the evening, there was still some squabbling, but not as bad. I am not sure if it is because they are working out the pecking order, or if my plan to distract the other hens with lots of treats worked.The poor wyandotte girl is still afraid of the established hens, but i did see her peck back at one of the others. Still no blood.

    Now, as a noob...I understand I did the introduction all wrong. I will make sure i have the sufficient space to keep them seperated for a while next time...But what I would like to know from others who might have done the "let them loose and let them sort it out" method.....how long does it take for all the hens to become one big happy flock again?

    steny
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    That depends on your flock and their personalities. Some flocks are close-knit and will not accept new members for awhile and some are more relaxed and accepting. It sounds like your flock is doing very well, actually, except for the poor Wyandotte. I'd keep an eye on her for awhile and make sure she's o.k. and getting enough food and gets to the coop at night. But I think they will be settled and sorted very soon.

    In future, if you decide to add more hens, I'd suggest you quarantine them for a few weeks first. Just in case they carry something, some pest or disease, even if they appear healthy and you know where they are coming from and know they've been looked after well, you just never know. We once made the mistake of adding some seemingly healthy birds to my flock without quarantining them first. Yep, you guessed it: they had lice and worms. And no obvious signs of either. Lesson learned.
     
  3. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sumi - yes I absolutely agree with the quarantine period. I admit, I just wasn't thinking about it. I am kicking myself for not doing it, but the damage is already done for now.

    I am keeping an eye on the wyandotte, as I'm concerned for her. It means extra trips outside with treats. The new australorp seems to be having a better go of it so far, because she blends in color wise with my established ones.
     
  4. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This afternoon there seems to be less squabbling. However, both groups remain seperate, with the two new ones hardly venturing out of the run. I know they will eventually work it out, but it's hard to watch. Maybe I'm being too emotional about it, but I'm anxious for one big happy flock again. [​IMG]
     
  5. 2jsbabyfarm

    2jsbabyfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did your flocks ever blend? I am going throug the same thing right now and am wondering how long they segregate :S
     
  6. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a couple of rough days where the original girls would squawk and chase the two new ones. Nothing but a few feathers lost, but it wasn't fun to watch. After that there seemed to be a couple days where they didn't mind seeing each other, but weren't really acting like one flock. They tolerated each other, but wouldn't free range close to each other.

    But now, after just about two weeks, everybody free ranges together happily. The two new girls are definately at the bottom of the flock and seem to be buddies, but there is no more chasing or harrassing. Everybody eats together, free ranges together, and chills out with each other like they have always been one big happy flock. Settling in for the night seems to be a bit louder as everybody tries to grab the best spot, but that will soon be settled as we build a new coop.

    Hope yours goes as smoothly as mine did!
     
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  7. Naturegirl44

    Naturegirl44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We added 2 new pullets to our flock of 8 hens and it was touch and go for awhile. We kept them in the chicken tractor for a week near the coop. When we let them integrate, no major scraps but nipping and some pecking when food and scratch were handed out. They free ranged on their own and stayed close to the house and coop. Interestingly as soon as the pullets started laying, the rooster took interest in them and started covering them and bingo!! all the ladies excepted them. They all flock together and are happy now :)
     

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