Intergrating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by matthewschickens, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. We have 2 Dominiques and 2 Blue Andulusians.
    How can we get them intergrated with the other hens?
    We have tried putting them in a cage next to our flock but is has not worked and we cannot leave them out any more because it is too cold.
    We also have tried letting them free range together and the young ones always get beat up.
    We are trying to introduce them to 3 other hens (a BO, a RIR and a BR) but the 3 hens are aggressive.

    Thanks!

    Matthew
     
  2. JestersEye

    JestersEye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sectioned off a couple areas in our large shed-type coop, so that I can keep new birds separated for a bit, while they and the rest of the flock get used to each other. So far, it seems to have worked for the introduction of new pullets. Gradually, I let them spend some time outside the pen, with the door open, in case they need someplace to hide. Eventually, I found them up on the big roost, snuggled up against the smaller rooster (the blue andalusian, as it turned out).

    I think it helps to introduce new chickens by letting them sleep in the same location as the rest of the flock, in a way that allows close proximity without allowing any fighting to occur. Sleeping seems to be a bonding experience for chickens, whereas they might not be very tolerant of newcomers during free-ranging or feeding, since they may be too competitive to share their resources with relative strangers. That's just my opinion, for whatever it's worth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    I would think that if they are at least 16 weeks old, it should only take two or three days for them to integrate.

    I had a hen that I rescued and it took her about a week to become a part of the gang.
     
  4. I am putting them on the roosting bar of the coop every night and they seem to do fine every night (except that they do not sleep together but on the opposite side of the bar)
    But we have snow so they cannot go out at all. When we leave them in the coop together the original hens drive them into the back and don't let them out. They do not bother them much in the back but it is dark and they do not have access to food. My dad said I need to have them in by the new year.
    Also, There is no roo in the coop if that makes a difference.

    Here is my coop:
    [​IMG]
    All these hens are not in the coop any more so there is plenty of room for the new chicks.

    Any help will be greatly appricated!

    Matthew
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  5. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how old are the dominiques, andalusians and the other hens?

    how many square feet in your coop and run?

    I have found it can take longer than 3 days for integration, it depends on their age/size, temperament and how much space there is.
     
  6. There is 3 1 3\\4 year old hens and the young one are 20 weeks old.
    The older ones are very mean to most everything except us.
    Here is a link to where we got the coop: http://www.henspa.com/Henspa%20Features.htm
    I
    am not sure how many SF are in the coop?

    Matthew
     
  7. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the 20 wk olds might be too young to be with the other chickens yet. I think you need to find a separate temporary coop for them, preferably within sight of the other coop. Is there any way to partition your existing coop and run for them?

    I also would check the square footage of your coop, as it might be too crowded - it really depends on the temperament of the birds.

    I housed my new young chickens near the older girls until they were near equal size as, and let them free range together when supervised so that they could get used to each other.

    New introductions can be frustrating-it can take days, weeks or months depending on your individual birds and set up.

    I hope this helps.
    Colleen
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with Mahonri. At 20 weeks old, you should be able to manage it.

    I would do more than just house them side by side. I'd throw scratch or some type of food they like on the ground right next to them where the two groups eat side by side but cannot get to each other. After a couple of days of this, I would put them together. There will be some pecking and maybe fighting. It is necessary for them to determine a pecking order. They are social animals and they have to determine who gets the prime territory, who gets to eat first, such as that. You can expect some chasing, pecking, and possibly a little fighting, but your older girls will quickly dominate the younger ones. It helps a whole lot if the younger ones have some room to run away from the aggressive ones. I'd also provide a couple of different places for them to eat and drink. The dominant hens will sometimes get territorial about the food and water. Giving the less dominant ones a separate place to eat and drink can reduce the confrontation.

    I would not worry about a little fighting. You will have to use your own judgment since you will be there watching, but the general rule is that if no blood is drawn, let them work it out. If you see one hen that is being over aggressive, remove her for a couple of days. Leave her isolated away from the flock. She will drop some in the pecking order and be much less likely to cause trouble when you put her back in.

    If possible, integrate them on the young chicken's territory or in a neutral area and not the established older hens territory.

    Now, with all this said, in your specific circumstances, I'd give a lot of consideration to separate feeding and watering areas and then let them work it out. From your posts, it does not sound like it is really all that violent.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  9. We can't put the chicks next to the coop because the coop is portable so we would have to move them every time we moved the coop and we also have predators so we can't leave them out all the time. We have had 10 hens in the coop and they have done fine so with 3 hens + 4 hens we are fine spacewise.

    Matthew
     
  10. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner has good advice. The only thing I'd add is to switch the birds out for a few days if that is possible. Put the big girls in the youngsters current housing and the youngsters in the coop. If you're able to do that it will give the younger group time to get used to their new digs without having to deal with the older girls messing with them. Good luck!
     

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