More integration

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by veganurbanfarm, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. veganurbanfarm

    veganurbanfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ferndale MI
    We started last spring with the 3 hens that our city ordinance allows. This spring we lost one in spite of our best efforts. We chose to get two new birds in an attempt to keep our flock from getting too small. I'm wondering if that was the best idea now!!

    We couldn't get guaranteed pullets, and of course now one of our straight run has begun to crow. We have been slowly introducing the two pairs to each other in the yard. Our Australorp is head lady in the coop and she does not like these new faces. She charges them any chance she gets and will not stop.

    Last night we started the full integration process with a baby monitor in the coop and all 4 birds on the roost after dark. I didn't sleep at all. We had torrential rain and I was worried about what might happen inside the coop, listening carefully for any noise that might indicate a fight was going to break out.

    Nothing happened during the night, of course. This morning I woke up before the sun and came out to make sure they didn't get going without me being there to end it. Now I'm sitting inside the run with all 4 birds just playing rooster. The Australorp has made a couple of attempts, but is mostly minding her own business.

    I know that they need to establish the pecking order, but these new birds are definitely not challenging anyone. Will this pass? Or do I need to make some arrangements to remove the Australorp for a few days so that she loses her place in the order? Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  2. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Middle of Nowhere
    So you want your new birds to challenge the BA?
    If there are no fights or squabbles happening I wouldn't do anything different.
    As the younger birds get older they will challenge the older birds. But for now they respect the dominance. When you aren't home though I wouldn't have them together just in case
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are they, young ones and older ones? It sounds like there is a difference in maturity levels so this behavior is pretty typical, especially if space it tight. So that’s another question, how much room do you have in the coop and in the run?

    More mature birds outrank less mature chickens in the pecking order. If the less mature invade the personal space of the older, they are likely to get pecked. Until they reach adult maturity younger chicks often form a sub-flock, avoiding the older. With my pullets, that’s usually about the time they start to lay. Until then, they younger do not fight back, they run away if they can.

    It’s possible you can get an adult that goes out of her way to attack younger chickens, you are dealing with living animals so anything can happen. But normally, especially if you have enough room, these things go pretty well. There are a few tricks to improve your odds. Give them as much space as possible. If you can, house them side-by-side across a fence so they can see each other but not attack each other for a t least a week so they get used to each other. Provide separate feeding and eating stations so they can eat without challenging the older ones. As long as no blood is drawn, many of us just let these thigs play out.

    Good luck!
     
  4. veganurbanfarm

    veganurbanfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ferndale MI
    The older girls are about a year and a half. The younger are 15-16 weeks. I don't care who challenges who, as long as I don't have to worry about coming out to dead birds. The cockerel will eventually be top roo anyway (if we don't have to give him up).

    Maybe our run is too small to put them in together right away. I built it 5' x 7' and we've never seen any issues with space when we had 3 birds. This BA seems to be out for blood. The young birds avoid her at all costs and she goes after them anyway.

    I may just build an addition next to the run for the young ones to share space between a fence. Thanks for the help!!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas

    :thumbsup
     
  6. veganurbanfarm

    veganurbanfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ferndale MI
    We ended up with a roo in the new birds, so after he went to his new home, I tried the method of putting them together at night. It was unsuccessful. The Lorp just kept going after the new Olive. I ended up using the extension coop and run to exclude the Lorp. She wasn't happy about it, but it worked. After about 4 days of being excluded from the rest of the flock, she got her act together and now they are all happy sisters again!!
     

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