introduce 8 week olds to meek/weak chicken first?

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
279
219
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Hi All - I got 3 babies (they were 4 weeks when I got them) and isolated them for 4 weeks. Now they are 8 weeks old. The primary reason I got them is because my flock of 4 all of a sudden had a social dynamic after my weakest one returned from an injury (not by other hens). Since then they don't let her eat or drink without my intervention and they no longer allow her to perch on the high roost with them, she is low on another perch. Now my 8 week olds are in a coop/run (small) that is inside the existing run of my other gals. One of the newbies is an 8 week old rooster and the other two are hens. Today I observed the chickens together and the tree mean girls (lol) were pacing back and forth checking out the newbies - very interested and curious. meanwhile my meek/weak Nellie (I put the other three out in another run so she could check them out on her own) and she basically didn't even care/notice them. She was more worried about the other chickens who are always mean to her. so....here is my question. Considering Nellie is so soft/meek/timid/scared.......and my three 8 weeks olds are not tiny anymore (tho not her size yet) do you think it would be a good idea for me to introduce them to Nelly (without the barrier) first? See how they do? And then maybe keep her with them and the rest separate while the Roo grows? Then maybe the roo and new girls would protect nelly from the mean girls? Also maybe the new group would perch with Nellie on the other roost? Help!
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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Basically you would be integrating Nellie into the new flock. That is much harder on a lonely chicken.
You will need to integrate using the side by side method with the whole flock for more than one day before introducing any new chickens. If you keep them side by side for at least a week, you can see how they interact after that. But, remember there is going to be a pecking order. Your timid one might be forgotten during the integration period, but it might get worse for her.
I am wondering what type of hens do you currently have? What breed are the new ones?
What is your set up like? How much room? How big is the coop?
This is a good write up of how a run should be and works well for integration:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Also, make sure there are multiple feed and water areas and that no hen or cockerel can get cornered with no way out.
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
279
219
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Basically you would be integrating Nellie into the new flock. That is much harder on a lonely chicken.
You will need to integrate using the side by side method with the whole flock for more than one day before introducing any new chickens. If you keep them side by side for at least a week, you can see how they interact after that. But, remember there is going to be a pecking order. Your timid one might be forgotten during the integration period, but it might get worse for her.
I am wondering what type of hens do you currently have? What breed are the new ones?
What is your set up like? How much room? How big is the coop?
This is a good write up of how a run should be and works well for integration:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Also, make sure there are multiple feed and water areas and that no hen or cockerel can get cornered with no way out.
Thank you so much for the thoughtful response! We have a coop that is advertised as fitting up to 12 chickens. This is our CURRENT run (10x16) but we have an additional 10x12 run going up Dec 1 that will have an opening between them for them to be able to access both. Right now we have a mini-coop and run inside our current run. We just put the babies in there last night for their first overnight after the garage. The downside is that the little mini coop/run was where Nelly enjoyed some hiding and I would place a tray of food in there for her each morning and water so I built a little pen in the run for that for the time being. (an octagonal dog pen about 4' across) The third photo is the little run inside our run. If you zoom up on the first pic of the run you can see it too
 

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Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
279
219
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Basically you would be integrating Nellie into the new flock. That is much harder on a lonely chicken.
You will need to integrate using the side by side method with the whole flock for more than one day before introducing any new chickens. If you keep them side by side for at least a week, you can see how they interact after that. But, remember there is going to be a pecking order. Your timid one might be forgotten during the integration period, but it might get worse for her.
I am wondering what type of hens do you currently have? What breed are the new ones?
What is your set up like? How much room? How big is the coop?
This is a good write up of how a run should be and works well for integration:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Also, make sure there are multiple feed and water areas and that no hen or cockerel can get cornered with no way out.
Oh shoot I forgot to answer your question about the hens. The two biggest (current hens) bullies are two buffs. At the top of the pecking order is a nice leghorn but she also doesn't really care for Nelly anymore either (Nelly is a leghorn too).
The newbies are an easter egger roo, an easter egger lady and a plymouth rock lady. - they are 8.5 weeks and the other gals are a year and 8 months
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
279
219
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Basically you would be integrating Nellie into the new flock. That is much harder on a lonely chicken.
You will need to integrate using the side by side method with the whole flock for more than one day before introducing any new chickens. If you keep them side by side for at least a week, you can see how they interact after that. But, remember there is going to be a pecking order. Your timid one might be forgotten during the integration period, but it might get worse for her.
I am wondering what type of hens do you currently have? What breed are the new ones?
What is your set up like? How much room? How big is the coop?
This is a good write up of how a run should be and works well for integration:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Also, make sure there are multiple feed and water areas and that no hen or cockerel can get cornered with no way out.
sorry one more piece of info. I have a chain link run that I use as extra running space right now. It is 24 feet long and 4 feet wide. It's a hassle because it is so low that if I need to go into it past a few feet I have to crouch down the whole way LOL. but I also free range them most nights right now before bedtime. (the adults that is) obviously I don't have time to do that every night (I have to "lifeguard" because we live in a predator heavy area - lots of hawks, foxes etc) so there is an area behind the coop run and I let them range around there most nights with me watching.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
2,975
5,254
411
It sounds like plenty of space. I think if you would add more obstacles that would definitely help with integration.
Stumps, tree branches, places they can get up and away from others is good too.
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
279
219
108
Bergen County New Jersey
It sounds like plenty of space. I think if you would add more obstacles that would definitely help with integration.
Stumps, tree branches, places they can get up and away from others is good too.
okay great. I think eventually I might get rid of the octagonal pen because it takes up a lot of space and a chicken could get trapped/cornered if someone is chasing her. Just now i put the three meanies out into the chain link run. The babies are still in the small coop/run within our run and i put Nelly in the regular run. she can see/hear the newbies and if anything she seems nervous about them even tho they are half her size! She doesn't seem terrified but she is avoiding the waterer that is nearest them (the main/big water feeder) and she was happy to be in the octagonal pen to eat. I just left - leaving the three meanies out in the extra run, Nellie in the main run/coop and the youngin's in the coop/run. I think tonight when I free range I might let the littles have the run of the run for a bit. I feel sorry for them in that small space - it is smaller than the garage space - but those buggers are fast and really hard to wrangle! Thanks for all your kind advice Maizie - i will take as much as you will give me
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
2,975
5,254
411
I do that when integrating - let the new ones have the run while the older flock gets to free range.
Sometimes it's just trial and error to find what works.
 

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