Introduction of younger chicken to the flock


12 Years
Jul 4, 2011
Rocklin, CA
I should begin with the stats and facts: currently 5 chickens, 4 from the original 6 and a younger one we've had for several months. They have a 4X4 raised coop with 3 egg boxes and 2 perches in the rafters. Their run is 40'x20' and they free range on a 1/2 acre when we're outside and can keep them out of the garden.
Three years ago I started with 6 chickens, one became egg bound and died when she was about a year old and another one died
last year but I didn't take her in to find out why. Last year we got 3 chicks and a predator burrowed under the coop, killed 2 and stole one. Earlier this year we got 2 that were 10 weeks old but I found one dead with a golf ball size hole in her side. I assumed it was a bird of prey but now I'm not sure. The second of those 2 we call Peeps and she gets picked on tirelessly. She used to run away from the aggressive behaviors of the older girls. Lately she just lays down and takes the abuse. It seems like she has given up and accepted the low man on the totem pole status but that doesn't satisfy the older girls. She keeps to herself but does sleep on the same perch. She doesn't eat with them, stays as close as possible while steering clear of them at the same time. It is so sad. The big girls sort of ramped up their menacing behaviors recently and seem to take turns putting her in her place. They will jump on her back and peck at her. Now she has a tear on her comb. Last night she slept in an egg box and this morning is listless, not eating much, and the others still want to pick on and peck at her. I set up a hospital run and she is separated with food and water and is in a box of hay. The other girls can see her but can't get to her. I used a wash with diluted Betadine put a salve on it.
I understand they establish a pecking order
and are not fond of new comers but Peeps has been here for months and seemed pretty well integrated. She started laying a couple weeks ago.
I really don't like witnessing this and am on the edge of throwing in the towel. I love these birds and am not willing to watch them kill each other. I read through several posts and the experts always ask are they crowded? Are they bored? Well, no, they're not crowded and they have plenty to do, lots room to move, shade and sun, fresh greens, meal worms, organic scratch, black oiled sunflower seeds, sunflower sprouts, a ventilated coop, hay to scratch through, grass to eat and run around chasing bugs, humans that cater to them, keep their area clean, their water fresh, their feeder full ~ What the heck am I supposed to do?

Peeps died today, the same day as the original post. The only mark on her was the tiny tear on her comb. She was in the 'hospital' run so no one would pick on her but she wouldn't eat or drink, not even her favorite watermelon. I am devastated.
Nature sucks
Id cull the others and start Over with twice the amount of chicks you intend to keep as chickens and let them grow into a well behaved flock.
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