Intergration help

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by denco5, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. denco5

    denco5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2010
    Ocoee Florida
    I have intergrated two 11 week old buffs into my 20 week mixed flock. They have been side by side in seperate pens for about 6 weeks so they are familiar with each other. as expected the chase in on and the pecking has started. There is no blood but there seems to be some painful pecks by the sounds from the young hens.

    My Question is, will the chasing stop and will the young ones get a chance to rest?

    How long will this go on for?

    Is it possible they will never get along?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It would have been safer to wait til they were all the same size. You can try to wait it out if there is no blood, or not. But there will be a "discussion" about who is top chicken at any age or size.
  3. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    You want them close in size so the younger chicks have a better chance of holding their own. It will eventually settle out when they establish order. The more room they have to get away from each other and plenty of room on the roost at night will help keep the damage down. Pull 'em out if you see they've drawn blood so they don't get killed.
  4. SunnyCalifornia

    SunnyCalifornia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2010
    Escondido CA
    I have the same problem! 3 of mine are 11 months, and 3 of them are 5 months, they are almost the same size, and they free range okay, but I'm scared to coop them up together. I'll be checking back for more replies!
  5. vtsarahb

    vtsarahb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Bradford, VT
    Definitely wait until they are the same size. I lost a cochin pullet last spring because I integrated her too early. All was fine for about a week, and then BAM- the older ones pecked her to death. I don't mean to scare you, but you should keep a close watch.

    Even once they are the same size, they will still need to figure out their pecking order- which you can't do much about. I have a few 8 month old pullets that still get picked on by my older banty hen, even though they outweigh her by 3 lbs!

    At this point, most of my older hens have accepted them into the flock, but there is still a pecking order and "discussions" from time to time.
    I think there will always be some level of dominance issues, but it will get better with time.

    Good luck with your birds [​IMG]
  6. denco5

    denco5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2010
    Ocoee Florida
    at what age will the older ones stop growing and let the younger ones catch up? It seems they will always be bigger no matter how long I wait.

    Why can't it be easy? I want more chickens but this fighting seems to make it not be worth it.
  7. Susan Mc

    Susan Mc Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 12, 2011
    Adding new chickens to an existing flock, begin as you have done, with the sidebyside pens, and never add single birds to an existing flock.
    When you are ready to put them together, do it in the evening, when the chickens are roosting, put the new ones right inside the coop on a roost.
    Next morning, make sure there is an extra feeding/drinking station, use the ones from the newbies' old pen that they are familiar with. Also put in a couple of visual barriers that the newbies can hide behind to get out of sight if needed, a straw bale would do. Let them out, give them all something to do, a distraction, string up a head of cabbage for them to pick at, throw down some mixed grains for them to scratch at, you get the idea.
    They will sort it out amongst themselves eventually, but if you find one is particularly hard on the newbies and the others are accepting them, consider removing the bully (maybe with a friend for company) for a short while. This will give the newbies a chance to grow a bit, and give the bully a chance to cool off for a while. Bully may be mean again when she returns, but at least the younger ones will be a bit bigger, and should grow better without the bully stressing them out.
  8. denco5

    denco5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2010
    Ocoee Florida
    Well I had enough of that, I put the younger ones back into the other pen. I got these chickens as pets and I couldn't stand the pecking and fighting. Maybe I will try it when they get older.

    They were real happy to get back into their own surrounding and back with their other chicken friends (two 10 week cochins and two 10 week sultans) I am building a seperate coop and run for the cochins and sultans as well as two silkies when I can find some that are about the same age as mine, I guess these buffs will grow up in the new pen.

    Thanks for all the help and advice.

    I love this site and I laughed when I first read that chickens are addicting, I am now a firm believer, the are addicting.
  9. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I do not merge babies into a larger group until they are at least 16 weeks old and have seen each other through a fence or cage for at least two weeks before the merging begins.

    Why 16 weeks?

    In part, because they will be the same size as the older hens, and they will be more "street wise" by then.

    In part, because they will be old enough to eat the same feed as the older hens. Younger birds should not eat layer feed -- it has too much calcium for their little kidneys to handle.

    When I finally do begin the merging process, if there is one or two birds that are particularly harsh bullies, I'll remove THEM from the group for a day or two while the little ones are merging. Then after things have settled with the others, I reintroduce the bullies.

    It works out better that way.
  10. SunnyCalifornia

    SunnyCalifornia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2010
    Escondido CA
    Sooooo..... If I segregate my bully, then add my 3 younger ones to the two older ones....Hmmm, that might work! Thanks for all the great info!

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