Introducing different aged pullets + single cock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Druantai, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Druantai

    Druantai Out Of The Brooder

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    Howdy again, I've got a flock of 6 chickens. 1 Speckled Sussex, 1 Leghorn/Buff Roo, 2 buff opingtons(1 wk), 1 Barred rock (1 wk), 1 red rhode island (6 wk)

    Jackie, the SS is quite stand-offish. She isn't scared but isn't friendly. George, is terrified of human contact, and when handled insist on hiding inside my jacket or under clothing. Then he seems more friendly, I guess.

    My questions are, is one, Jackie was bought when she was apperantly a laying hen, but she doesn't seem sexually mature, and she doesn't have as much "fluff" as I normally see. So why isn't she laying eggs?

    Secondly, how long should I wait to introduce ruby, the RIR to jackie? I tried once but Jackie got really puffed up and tried snapping at her and got some feathers. I've read that older females might get jealous of hand raised females..but I'd like some other opinions.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What Is your current arrangements? Are the week olds by themselves or with the rest? It would might easier to introduce her first to the week olds. But neither introductions can happen overnight without some strife. If you can pen them next to who ever you decide to put her with for a week or so it should go better.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Shouldn't your week olds be in a brooder? They shouldn't be with the rest of the flock right now.

    Also, how old is Jackie? We'd need that information in order to give you any advice about whether or not she should be laying yet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are lots of reasons hens don't lay. This time of year the main one is that they are molting. That may explain why she doesn't have as much fluff as you expect.

    Introducing a lone 6 week old to a single mature hen might get tricky. I don't know what your set-up is or how much space they have. A whole lot is going to depend on their individual personality which can vary a whole lot chicken to chicken.

    In a flock, a mature hen will peck at an immature chick if it invades her personal space. A mature hen by herself may follow those instincts or she may want the company. I don't know. The single six week old will probably want the company of the older hen so she may not stay out of the way like a normal six week old would.

    A broody hen will often wean her chicks by the time they are six weeks old and those chicks are integrated with the flock. But becaue of the age difference, the mature hens will still peck at them and maybe even attack them if they invade their personal space. That's what the young ones seem to form their own flock until they are old enough to make their way in the pecking order.

    I don't have any great advice for you that I can guarantee will work. So much depends on the individuals and your set-up. If you can, I suggest housing them side by side for at least a week where they can see each other but not be able to get together. They are social animals. They will probably act like they want to get together but be patient. Then let them together and see what happens. Have different eating and watering stations so the young one can eat without challenging the mature one. Give them as much space as possible. Give the young one places to hide from the other one, maybe a perch to get above or things to hide behind or under.

    As long as the young one can get away from the older, you have a pretty good chance of this working. But there is always a risk in integration. Many of us integrate young chicks like this all the time and really don't have issues, but I believe we have lots of space. I'm not sure you do. And we introduce several chicks to a flock, not a single chicken.

    You can also try integrating your six week old with the younger ones first, but you probably don't have a lot of room in the brooder and you have the same issues with the six week old being so much bigger than the 1 week olds. It might work out or it might be a disaster.

    Or you can house the older ones side by side until they are a lot older. You don't have to do anything. What you do is your choice.

    Good luck.

    Editted to add: I just noticed you did not give the age of the rooster. I'm guessing he is older. His presence does not really change much of what I said. He may actually help. A good rooster takes care of all members of his flock. Not all roosters are good, but his presence is more likely to help than hurt. But with living animals, you just never know what will happen
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  5. Druantai

    Druantai Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry guys, but I thought I'd given all the information. Thanks for the responses though.

    I purchased jackie at "laying age" but the breeder said roughly 6 months old. I have two coops placed by each other, the chickens can actually see each other. I have a large fenced in back yard, which george and jackie range around. I keep their wings clipped, I learned in vet school how to safely inspect them and clip their wings.

    The little babies are in a brooder with Ruby, who is at the age where she is rather too big for the brooder, but she has attached to my peeps. Whenever I let her in the secondary coop I use for the babies, the peeps cry and cry. So I placed the babies in the secondary coop with ruby, and then they all form their own little flock.

    The main coop is roughly the same size as the secondary coop. Jackie and George, (While roaming the yard) seem very interested in the babies, they'll stare for a few minutes then sit outside the of the coop, near the babies.

    When I introduced Jackie the first time to Ruby, Ruby was very excited and ran up to Jackie. Ruby got pecked and lost a few feathers but nothing more. Jackie seems jealous slightly, because I focus a lot on ruby. Ruby is my hand raised darling, saw her hatch and she imprinted on me. She acts as the momma hen when I'm not around, and the peeps adore her too.

    I'm in Florida, and we're in a cold snap atm. I have heat lamps and space heaters set up in both coops and they're free to leave in the day time. They naturally go to sleep in or near the coop.

    Edit, my rooster is actually almost 5 months old. He doesn't have spurs, but one is coming in like a little nub. He's not violent, just scares VERY easily.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Having two coops is a plus. Having an area to free range is good. If you leave the chicks and Ruby in the second coop and they can talk through the wire for a week or so. When you can let the older ones free range together while you are there to watch. There may be some strife as they decide who is boss, leave them work it out. After that is settled you can let the chicks out to range supervised. They will be only four or five weeks at that point, but they can handle it supervised. With the room to roam the chicks should be able to stay out of the older chickens way if needed. The disclaimer is that they are individuals and can act other than expected.

    One thing about heating chicken coops. The adult chickens don't need it. I don't heat mine and there are many chicken coops further north then me unheated.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I think both Ridgerunner and Den in Penn have good advice for you. And Den is right--you only need heat in the brooder, especially since a "cold snap" in Florida is only around 32 degrees! Any chicken that's fully feathered can handle whatever Florida can throw at them without supplementary heat. Here in Ohio, it can get -20 or so. When it's that cold I hang one heat bulb over the waterer to prevent it freezing, but that's it. And the hens still run around outside. Oh, sometimes I'll slather the larger combs with petroleum jelly to prevent frostbite. But chickens are very good at keeping warm, especially if they have a way to keep out of the wind and wet.
     

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