Introducing one month olds to 2 month olds

Ryan James

In the Brooder
May 19, 2017
28
8
29
Anchorage, Ak
I am trying to introduce 3 approximately 2 month old chicks to our 6 approximately 3 month old birds but I have three of the older birds that are really picking on all the young birds. Is this short lived? What is the best thing to do?
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Swap places. Put the aggressive birds into the coop you have the youngsters in, and put the youngsters in with the 3 not aggressive birds. Are you able to free range? That is the best way to introduce. How big is your coop and run? (exact dimensions?) Do you have your run set up with multiple feeding stations, plenty of out of sight and multiple height areas? Plenty for them to do? Deep litter compost in the run keeps them busy.
 

Ryan James

In the Brooder
May 19, 2017
28
8
29
Anchorage, Ak
They do spend most of the day free ranging. My run is 12 feet by 5 with. 5x5 house. The run has 3 height changes The house had lots but they all seem to want to use the highest. Last night I was able to get them all to roost together on the same pole but and added a second feeder and waterer. I added pictures of the coop. Should I separate the three aggressive ones and if I do should I keep them together or separate them. How long. I do have a fair amount of dog kennels. I am using a deep litter in both
 

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lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Your current set up is big enough for about 5 - 6 birds. This may be feeding into the problems you are seeing with aggression. The recommendation for a back yard flock is 4 s.f. of space in the coop, and 10 s.f. in the run per bird. IMO, integration may require even more space. With a smaller coop/run, the birds don't have enough space to comply with chicken social protocol. When a dominant bird gives an underling the stink eye or a cursory peck, what she is saying is this: "Get out of my space, or I'm gonna rip your face off." She considers "her space" to be as much as a 10' radius. If the underling can't retreat to get out of that space, she's gonna get a whipping.
 

Ryan James

In the Brooder
May 19, 2017
28
8
29
Anchorage, Ak
Thanks, thst would explain the problem in the run even though I have had the same number of chickens with no problems but the chickens were younger. I don't understand why in our large back yard those same three will cover 10 or 15 yards just to fight then run back to the rest of the flock. My intentions are for eggs but if the best option is to eat the aggressors I am. It opposed to it. I have the room to expand the run too but would prefer not to unless it is needed. I am going to add a few roosting poles to the run soon which should help with usable space
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,551
130,190
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
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.

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

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 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.

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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

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