Integration went well, but. . .


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 7, 2010
I did it. I have two mini flocks - seven bantam ee's age 3 months and five mixed large size girls, age 5 months. Each little flock has her own coop. For two months they have been separated in the big chicken yard by chicken wire, so they were well acquainted thought the mesh.

Finally the big day arrived. I spread lots of alfalfa hay all over both sides of the yard to make it all look and feel new, and I scattered their favorite treats everywhere to make it a party. Then in late afternoon I took down the barrier dividing the two halves of the chicken yard.

All went very well. The big girls and little girls already seemed to understand the pecking order they had observed from their side of the fence and they were more interested in their treats than in each other. There was no bloodshed, and not even any pecking, not even the loss of one feather! The higher-ups used the stinkeye and lunges to establish their superior status. When it got dark, each little flock went into her own coop. The next morning they came out into the now shared yard and all was well.

That, as I understood from this forum, is about as good an outcome as I could have hoped for. And yet, now, weeks later, the little girls and the big girls are clearly two separate flocks sharing one big run. The big girls are the top hens and they chase the little girls away whenever they want to. The little ones respect this and there is plenty of food and water for all. But my question is will they ever be one big flock, mingling together in their yard? I expect they will always go to their own coops to sleep, but will they ever develop friendships with members of the other flock? Or should I just be happy about this toleration of one another?
Congrats on the first step!

Now the harder part. You have to close off one of the "coops" and make them all sleep together. This isn't as difficult as getting them to tolerate each other during the day. Put them in together on the roost at night. Be prepared to check on them for about a week, mine seem to have difficulty sometimes getting roosting space without being pecked at by some of the older ones. I've had several that I've had to pick up and place on the roosts for a while.
They will mingle more and more over time, but they still tend to stick to their own groups. I have standards I mixed this year. I originally had my old birds in my front yard, but built a new coop and run in the backyard. The new birds never go into the front yard, but the old ladies still free-range in the front and rarely spend any time in the back unless they are caged. Inside the run, they freely mix, but outside they break up into their own groups.

Good luck.
That is great that it went that well!!! Mine dont play that nice! Im not sure of an answer, but i would be thrilled if mine could tolorate each other that well!!!
I free ranged my barred rock and my RIR's for a long time just recently I put them in the same coop. I have a seperste roost for the rocks and it works very well. First few night the rocks wanted in their old coop and had to be carried to the new coop but now they all go to one coop. The rock just wait til all the reds are in and up before they go in. As far as being one flock they seperate into each group. but thats ok so long as there is no pecking.
Im curious too.
I integrated my birds in the begining of September (after a few weeks of "separate but together") and the bigger ones are still picking on the little ones (well not so little anymore, theyre about 17-18 weeks old)

the two old girls continue to pull out feathers and chase the younger ones around. they try to force them off the roost and hog all the treats. the only consolation is that my pullets are way faster runners than my hens. So in a sense, they are still 2 separate flocks in one run and one coop. I just hope
they will all get over it eventualy and be friends.
I integrated mine about a month ago, and they're still two distinct groups, though they do co-mingle from time to time around the waterer and when they're trying to get the best view of my dog. I think it'll probably always be this way, to an extent. I never had any nastiness from either group toward each other. I have two feeders, one waterer, and one coop. The older group roosts all together in the center of the roost, and the younger ones take the sides. They're a month apart in age.
I am reading with great interest as I am bringing four girls home tonight. They will be quarantined for 30 days but I am bringing home four BR hens to go with my BR rooster who is already in a pen on his own. The plan is to put the girls in the chicken tractor in the garden where there is lots to interest them in their new home plus I can move it around as needed to give them fresh ground. question is: Should I put the single rooster back into the tractor and let the girls have the new run or should I do as planned and put the girls in the tractor? I have it in my mind that with the girls in the tractor and the coop in the new run being temp til my husband gets home and builds the bigger coop that it would be better for everyone this way. Because there is another change on the way with the new coop.....

My plan also is when the 30 days are up I can start with letting the rooster out into the garden to free range a little each day where he can see the girls. Then at some point let the girls out also to free range in the garden leaving the door open to the big run where they could wander in and out also. Letting the rooster get to know the new girls and letting the girls venture into what is going to be their new home.

That way everyone gets to see the new digs and meet each other....ok, I am over thinking it. I have to mention that all are around the same age also. Within a few weeks of each other around 25 weeks.

I am sorry...don't mean to highjack here but hated to start a new thread on basically the same thing. I would love it if my intergration went as smoothing as the OP....
Oh, I've integrated several small groups of chickens into the main flock and while they still hang out in their own small "gangs," I don't think that's too terrible. It makes it easier for me to find who I'm looking for and to do the head count to make sure I've still got 'em all.

Over a period of time, one or another will either break free from her own "gang of four" (or six, or however many were integrated as a new unit) and I'll see them mingling with the main flock. I have one BR that totally jumped right into being able to eat from my hands at the same time as 3 of the highest ranking hens! She's deferential to them, but still able to get right in there, right next to them. Should any other pullets try that, the high ranking girls will shoulder the interloper out with a quick peck, maybe even a GAWK!! and a short dash to push her away. Not this BR. She's One Of Them!

Senior ladies in the above photo are the BO, the partridge colored EE, the Cuckoo Marans, and a Black Sex-Link; the BR is the one on the left side closest to my wrist.

And then there are the Cayuga ducks.....

So, it just takes time.

Not all of my flock are in the same coop - I do have smaller coops in which newer chickens roost. But I think one of the reasons the BR gets to get so close to the Senior Gals is because she IS one of the younger set I was able to move into the same coop with them at night.
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