Introducing two pullets to existing flock of 4

ash_en_em

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Mar 4, 2018
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So this is a bit long, and I apologise for that. I just want to give all the details.

I have four almost 8 month old Australorps. Two since chicks, two that I integrated when they were all 4 months and the same size. About a months ago I got a EE pullet. She got depressed being by herself so I got her another EE friend the same age. They are now about 3 months old, and even though they are half the size of my Australorps, I need to get this integration going. It's getting cold here and I can't winterize two coops.

So I started opening the EEs coop to go out to free range before my big girls. Giving them an hour or so to get acclimated before the Aussies come out. The Aussies give a bit of chase, and a few pecks each but it really have been bad. I've done this the last few days. The EEs are faster and can "hover fly" away if need be.

I'm adding hiding spots today, but am hoping for advice on integrating these little EEs with my 6-8 lb Australorps.

Do I just plop then in on a roost bar at night? Do I let the littles wander into the big coop and just let everyone have it out (within reason)? I didn't have these issues with the two Aussies I introduced before because they were the same size and I put them all in a brand new coop together (the one we currently have).

Sorry for the long post. So help and advice is welcome.
 

sourland

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I think that the gradual introduction that you are doing is good. I'd be tempted to try putting one of the least aggressive Australorps into the EE pen and allowing them to adjust to one another - then in a day or so add another, and then put them all into the winter pen. I think that gradual integration is a good idea given the size difference.
 

ash_en_em

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Mar 4, 2018
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Lancaster, OH
I think that the gradual introduction that you are doing is good. I'd be tempted to try putting one of the least aggressive Australorps into the EE pen and allowing them to adjust to one another - then in a day or so add another, and then put them all into the winter pen. I think that gradual integration is a good idea given the size difference.
Well it's good to know I'm on the right track. Once everyone is out I let them investigate each other's coops (nosy chickens) and leave the doors open. All 4 of my Aussies have been in the little EE coop/run but at that point the little ones run for cover in there coop. I don't think it's been bad yet. Seems to be general "hey we're big and we're in charge... Just so you know" kind of stuff.

How long should I keep this up for until I put the EEs in with the Aussies in the big girl coop?
 

Morrigan

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What's your roost space like in the main coop? Chickens tend to get pretty territorial when they go to roost at night, and the Aussies will most likely prevent your EEs from roosting anywhere near them.
 

townchicks

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I'd try to stick it out with the free range into a little longer, until there is no more chasing. When I introduced one hen to my two, they were all fine out in the yard, but they wouldn't let her into "their" coop for several weeks.
 

ash_en_em

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Mar 4, 2018
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Morrigan

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I'm guessing all the Aussies sleep on the top roost bar? If so, the EE's can probably sneak onto the low bar, but there might be some squawking and pecking at first. When you are ready to do the main coop integration, I would hand place the EE's on the low bar after dark the first couple of nights, and then keep a sharp eye out at first light to make sure the EE's aren't getting too beat up.

I like Sourland's idea of slowly putting the Aussies in with EE's as precursor to eventual main coop integration.
 
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ash_en_em

Songster
Mar 4, 2018
158
192
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Lancaster, OH
I'm guessing all the Aussies sleep on the top roost bar? If so, the EE's can probably sneak onto the low bar, but there might be some squawking and pecking at first. When you are ready to do the main coop integration, I would hand place the EE's on the low bar after dark the first couple of nights, and then keep a sharp eye out at first light to make sure the EE's aren't getting too beat up.

I like Sourland's idea of slowly putting the Aussies in with EE's as precursor to eventual main coop integration.
Two of them regularly sleep on the top roost bar, the other two beat to their own drum and sometimes sleep under the roost bars.
 

aart

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Might want to put the EE's in the main coop/run while the Aussies are out ranging,
let them get the lay of the land(coop) unharassed.

Got plans to keep water thawed?
 

MANNA-PRO

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