new chicken not getting along

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by holly937, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. holly937

    holly937 New Egg

    Oct 1, 2015
    I currently have one red star hen (Ginger) that's almost a year old. We used to have two sisters, but our other hen died a few days ago (she was egg bound). We just got a 5 month old Buttercup hen today (Peanut), about half the size of Ginger. We've had her for less than a day, but I'm worried she's not going to get along with the older hen. Occasionally, both girls will freeze and stare at each other. Then, Ginger usually lowers her head slightly and Peanut will approach her and peck her head a couple times before Ginger quickly turns and walks away. Ginger will stay far away from Peanut as long as she can, although tonight we have to put them in the coop together (we have a good sized coop which has a ladder going down into an outside area) and I'm worried about Ginger. She seems to miss her sister- she will suddenly start walking around and making noise, like she's calling out to her and trying to find her. This is the first time we've had chickens, so I'm not sure what to do. Should we put up chicken wire or some sort of screen to separate them?
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    As long as no blood is being drawn I would let them work it out, chickens are flock animals, so if possible I would try to add a few more members, preferably younger ones.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They are just working out their pecking order, doesn't sound too bad really.
    Like oldhen said, as long as there's no serious blood drawn.....
    ......or no one is getting pinned down/trapped and beaten without cease, they will probably be fine.
    Lots of space and multiple fee/water stations will help.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

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

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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