Introducing new chicks and feather eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hellbell80, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. hellbell80

    hellbell80 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi guys i could do with some help :fl i have 4 chicks at 11 weeks (arucana ) and some maran mixes at 8 weeks. I already had some ginger hybrids that are almost a year old and have been laying excellently. Well i introduced the younger ones together first. Took a couple of days to settle but all good. The maran xs took to pecking the araucana, and they just hide alot even though they are a little bigger and older. Now they all perch together. I introduced them into the established flock in their own pen. So they could all see each other but couldnt touch. The gingers were like houdinis always finding ways to get in with them and bullied them alot. After 2 weeks i added an escape hatch so they could go into the main run when they wanted and had some where to escape when needed. Its been several weeks and the gingers are eating their feathers especially the poor araucana who are terrified of them. They never leave their coop. They continually pluck the younger birds. Im at my wits end with them. They are getting to big for the small escape area. As for the feather eating they get plenty of mealworms and sunflower seeds and cracked corn. For the gingers they are having a high protein layers pellets. So im not sure what other protein i can give to see if it stops. Or it may just be that they are bullies :he
    Has anyone got any other help how to get them all to get along??? Im running out of ideas! :fl
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How many gingers do you have?

    How big is the coop(meters by meters)?
    How big is the run(meters by meters)?
     
  3. hellbell80

    hellbell80 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 gingers. The young ones only have a large dog crate rhat was supposed to be a tempory thing untill they got used to each other. That measures 1mtr x2 mtr. The main coop which they can access is 6ftx4ft and the run is a 10.5ft by 8.5ft
     
  4. hellbell80

    hellbell80 Out Of The Brooder

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    Went into them this morning and the arucanas have had their rumps attacked down to the flesh. So ive had to build a completely separate area for them. Hopefully the arucanas will survive the attack. :fl
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like you may need more space..... and more places to 'hide'.
    3 adult gingers, 4 eleven weeks olds....... and how many eight weeks olds?
    The 3x6 crate, 6x4 coop and 8x10 run is pretty tight quarters for integration.


    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  6. hellbell80

    hellbell80 Out Of The Brooder

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    Its two 8 week olds and two 11 week old. They are getting on well. Ive pretty much done as suggested. The younger 4 are all together. The crate has room for the to roost together. And move around the floor with out crowding. They had acces to alot of hiding places. Also i made tge door to the crate small enough only for the younger ones to escape into. So it was a safe place. I also created other areas tgey could only get into. The gingers were just waiting for them to leave. I did segregate them all for several weeks seperated by chicken wire so they could see each other. When i did integrate them i had four feeding staions and fiver water stations. But unfortunately the gingers were continually stalking them and eating their feathers. After today they now will be seperated permanently. The gingers are just too aggresive with them
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ah, I see. 4 chicks total.
    Integration can be hard with aggressive birds.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  8. hellbell80

    hellbell80 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yup the gingers are lovely with us and sit on me and snuggle up, but when it comes to other birds its a no lol.
     

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