Nerve wracking integration

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Stephine, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    So today is the day - the two little ones (one pullet, one cockerel, SFHs) are 15 1/2 weeks old, it is not supposed to get super hot today and I am tired of carrying chickens around every day - they have had 9 weeks in their own little pens, one inside the coop and another in the run.
    I closed the pop door when there were only two of the hens in the nest boxes and let the little ones explore the coop.
    After maybe half an hour I opened the pop door.
    In came three hens and the RIR immediately started to wrestle with the cockerel. They pulled feathers, bit wattles, held each other down with their wings. Would not let up. At one point the cockerel had the hen down and held her there for a good 20 seconds, and when he let go she came at him again. Yikes!
    I told them to knock it off! and tossed the hen out the pop door.
    The little pullet is submissive and just got chased here and there or pecked, but with the cockerel and some of the hens it is beaks full of feathers and full out fights.
    Yikes!
    I guess I will watch them until they are all sound asleep today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  2. Engine823

    Engine823 Songster

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    I introduced two hens to my flock of three yesterday. I didnt have the ability to allow them to be in a cage inside my small tractor. I just put them in the coop after dark and let them wake up together. Its been rough. The new chickens are submissive and have just been pecked and chased so far. Hopefully soon they will chill out. Its obvious the new chickens have no interest in taking over the flock. Wish they would let them alone. This is my first time ever doing this. Worried about them. They are like pets.
    Didnt realize that it would be so mean. How long should I expect this to continue??
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Set up some walls, some hide outs, some perches, high and low areas, places where birds can get away, places where birds can eat out of sight of the others. It really helps.
     
  4. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    I put up an old IKEA wood shelve in one corner of the run - I think I will close it on one side, as a visual barrier. There isn't all that much room.... They are free ranging all day today, I hope they'll sort this out quickly!
     
  5. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Chickens can be quite brutal to each other. That said, they generally will work things out without killing one another (except for cockerels). I've had some cockerels that got along with everyone and some that did not. I find I can keep no more then two at the same time with the small amount of land and coop I have. And the two need to be a good fit where one is less aggressive then the other. I've had two brothers fight so badly that one died of bleeding to death overnight. It was horrible.

    Usually the pullets will stay in line and let the older hens have a wide berth. In order to help the process I let all the bigs out to free range on the day I move the littles into the coop and I close off the gate so they can't get back in. Then I let the littles play around in the coop for a bit to get a feel for the place. I keep them in a separate pen inside the coop so that the bigs and little are hearing each other and getting used to their noises. That goes on for a week or so until I get sick of messing with moving them. Bigs go out, littles play, littles go in pen, bigs come inside.

    Then after I've had enough of that I let them merge into one flock by opening the pens and making sure everyone gets back into the coop at night. I usually let them all free range that day and just keep an eye on how they get along. There will be squabbles, there will be flying up pecks, but nothing too bad.
     
  6. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    That's pretty much what I did. Only I kept them separate (see but not touch) for a longer period. I don't have a rooster, just that little cockerel, but quite a few of the hens have been fence fighting with him all along and now the fence is gone....
     
  7. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Cockerels and pullets will definitely get into it and it can get bloody sometimes. The cocks are trying to show the girls who is boss and make them mate with him. The girls are trying to tell him off. Usually that "rooster dance" ends the same way - first it's cockerel gets beat up by pullet, then eventually when he has perfected his moves it's rooster gets hen's back all beat up. I wouldn't worry about them. They will work it out. He has to try to assert himself over the older girls who will refuse (peck) him for a time. But he will over power and rule them eventually.
     
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  8. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    yeah, I figured it's something like that. He doesn't look like he is trying to mate yet (he is only 15 weeks, and just started crowing a couple of weeks ago) - it's more the "you want a piece of me?!" attitude that I see. A bit too full of himself, but I also understand that he is driven to rule the roost, since he is the only male in a flock of 14. It was just scary to see him get into a fight where they were locking onto each others faces and not letting go multiple times - both have marks all over their combs and wattles now. Interestingly, after I broke up that fight and kicked the hen out (I am partial to the "babies") the two of them did not start up again for the rest of the day.
     
  9. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    Everyone calmed down at the end of the day (my girls go to roost beautifully, they are always very calm and harmonious) and the little ones eyed the roost but couldn't quite figure it out, so I picked up the pullet (who was very easy to pick up) and set her on the roost, at the far end, away from the clump of older hens. The cockerel made it up there, too, eventually, and sat next to "his" girl but funnily, under the roost on the poop board. Oh well, he'll figure it out. Now I have to get up super early to let them out in the morning... gosh I hope they will not fight more tomorrow!
    Three of the more aggressive hens earned themselves a pair of pinless peepers this afternoon (there is some feather pecking going on and they were the main suspects, so this seemed a good time to start wearing the peepers). keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow is easier (and that no one attacks my Buttercup - the SFH pullet, she is just the sweetest thing).
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Stephanie - beware of creating a trap. Every hide out needs two escapes.
     
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