New Friend to the Coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hockeymom23, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Hockeymom23

    Hockeymom23 New Egg

    Feb 2, 2016
    I have 4 bonded girls, and added 2 more to my flock. One got so bullied, she had a gaping wound on her neck, and I've had to isolate her. The other new one is still being bullied, and it's been almost 4 weeks. She hides in the nesting box all day. I'm seeing no signs of any improvement.
    3 of the other 4 were laying (1 is 18mos and the other 3 are 7months). Now, no one has laid in just over a week.
    I'm so confused. Is it because of the new girl? They were laying for 2-3 weeks at first.....
    And if it's been this long....will they ever accept the others? (They are 22 weeks old).
    Such drama over 2 new girls!!
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    It could depend on how you introduced the newbies to the established flock, your coop / run set up and/if you free range. If you could post a little more detail, it would likely improve the helpfulness of responses.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Have you tried the "Look but, don't touch method." You can put that in the search box and it will come up. It's a kinder, gentler way of integrating birds.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  5. IluvChickys1001

    IluvChickys1001 New Egg

    Nov 15, 2016
    New chickens can stress out the flock, because all chickens have a pecking order on who the highest and lowest chicken is, and one or more new hens can be stressful because they have to change the order now, which can stop egg laying. You can buy something like a chicken saddle, (its like a jacket) to protect your newer hens from getting pecked. You can keep them away from the hens, but its better to put them together so they get used to each other. [​IMG] I don't know what else you could do though. [​IMG]
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Well there are a couple of things you can do. Space and hideouts, multiple feed and water stations, some out of sight. If she is hiding in the nest, I am thinking that you might not have hideouts in the run.

    With a pecking order, birds need to get out of sight of a higher bird. The higher bird, pecks the lower bird, or makes like she is going to peck, and the lower bird gives way. She leaves the feed bowl, acknowledging the pecking order. Think of it as curtseying to the Queen. Now I have seen them make a circle out of sight, come right back and eat right next to the Queen.

    The problem in a lot of runs, is that they are just a 2 dimensional open rectangle. There is no place to get out of sight of the other birds, so there is no way to acknowledge their lower position. What can happen is the higher bird takes this as challenge, and continues to attack the lower birds. It can get ugly. You want lots of hideouts, but not traps, each hideout needs two exits. A pallet up of cement blocks, can give smaller birds a place to eat, without bigger birds. The larger birds can get under there, but it is tight, and uncomfortable, and generally they will soon leave. A pallet leaned up against the wall, can allow a bird to rest without being chased, behind. Roosts in the corner of the run, can allow birds to use the 3rd dimension of the run, height. Currently I have a pallet set up on saw horses, so that birds can get under and on top. I lean a pallet up against this, and gives some shade in the late afternoon in summer. A piece of plywood, set up like a small wall, with a food station behind it, so that birds at the main feed station cannot see this bowl.

    These are things in the run, that allow birds to survive integration and make more use of your available space. Birds do get tired of each other if kept in too tight of confinement.

    Also, I am pretty sure that the longer you keep the injured bird separated from the flock, the worse her integration is going to be. Adding a single bird is very tough. Get some blue Kote and get her back in there ASAP. Or more than likely, you are going to have a very drawn out affair.

    Mrs K

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