Introducing 2 pullets to 3 hens

mg070461

Hatching
Jun 9, 2020
9
7
8
Hi all,

I've been having issues introducing two pullets (now 17 weeks old) to my existing flock of 3 mature hens. they have been in a separate run right next to my existing pen for over 10 weeks. my idea was to get them all familiar with each other. at 15 weeks i tried to introduce them into the flock and the hens (2 of 3) really pick on them and are very aggressive. to the point in which i pull them out of there. some serious pecking on their heads. they either just submit, or fly to the top of the coop because they are better fliers than my big birds. I have tried numerous times to slowly introduce them but as soon as i set them down the hens really attack. i have tried a couple times to put them on the roost at night when they are all calm. it works for the night but in the morning the chaos ensues. I would of thought at this point (17 weeks) that everything would be fine. Should i just let them go and let nature take its course or are there some times where you just cant introduce certain chickens with others? I am out of ideas. any advice would be great! thank you.
 

mg070461

Hatching
Jun 9, 2020
9
7
8
Wow you're incredibly patient!

Any photos of your set up, both coop and run, and measurements if you have them?

I do have a small coop and I think that could be the problem when inside. I am in the process of finishing a much larger coop so hopefully that helps. Their fenced in run is about 20 feet by 20 feet so a lot of space for them to run around. Unfortunately If they are out together the younger birds will fly to the top of the coop and sit their until I bring them back inside the coop. They won’t eat or drink the whole day
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Their fenced in run is about 20 feet by 20 feet so a lot of space for them to run around. Unfortunately If they are out together the younger birds will fly to the top of the coop and sit their until I bring them back inside the coop. They won’t eat or drink the whole day

The run space is very good. What's in it? Any clutter to give the birds hiding spots? Give this a read: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/

How many feed/water sources are available? Spreading food or water out with clutter to break line of sight is the best way to give lower ranked birds more opportunity to eat.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
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You might try reversing the odds. If you still have the area set up, put the older birds where you have the younger birds, and the younger birds in the bigger set up, where the older girls were, switch places so to speak. Then after two or three days, then add ONE of the older birds. That bird will not be able to chase both of them. Leave this in place for a good week, then add a one of the remaining pair, see how that goes for a couple of days, then add the last one.

Do have clutter throughout your run, hideouts, roosts, mini walls, pallets, ladders, platforms anything that birds can get under, on top of or behind. This allows them to get out of sight. Many runs that I see on here, are just a wide open rectangle, whereas a bird can see each and every other bird at any moment.

Mrs K
 

mg070461

Hatching
Jun 9, 2020
9
7
8
The run space is very good. What's in it? Any clutter to give the birds hiding spots? Give this a read: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/

How many feed/water sources are available? Spreading food or water out with clutter to break line of sight is the best way to give lower ranked birds more opportunity to eat.

Thank you! my coop is raised off of the ground so there's area to hide under there. What they end up doing is flying to the top of the coop to get away from the hens. I think the issue is that they will not come down from the top until i go get them. so they'll actually go all day without eating or drinking if i dont retrieve them from the roof.
 

mg070461

Hatching
Jun 9, 2020
9
7
8
You might try reversing the odds. If you still have the area set up, put the older birds where you have the younger birds, and the younger birds in the bigger set up, where the older girls were, switch places so to speak. Then after two or three days, then add ONE of the older birds. That bird will not be able to chase both of them. Leave this in place for a good week, then add a one of the remaining pair, see how that goes for a couple of days, then add the last one.

Do have clutter throughout your run, hideouts, roosts, mini walls, pallets, ladders, platforms anything that birds can get under, on top of or behind. This allows them to get out of sight. Many runs that I see on here, are just a wide open rectangle, whereas a bird can see each and every other bird at any moment.

Mrs K
Yes, that sounds like good advice! I have noticed when I isolate them with just 1 of the bigger hens they are ok. I will try and add some more distractions as well. Is there a point in which the pecking is too extreme or dangerous. one of my thoughts was to just let it go and it will stop, but they really get after the younger birds and they just end up taking the abuse. I havent noticed a decrease, but i usually do jump in and separate.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Is there a point in which the pecking is too extreme or dangerous.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

my coop is raised off of the ground so there's area to hide under there. What they end up doing is flying to the top of the coop to get away from the hens. I think the issue is that they will not come down from the top until i go get them.
Then under the coop is not good enough to 'hide'.
If they aren't eating and drinking without your interference, that's a problem.

I have noticed when I isolate them with just 1 of the bigger hens they are ok.
Keep doing this....mix and match. :D
 

MANNA-PRO

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