New hen introduction HELP! Sorry, long =)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kimberlycarol, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. kimberlycarol

    kimberlycarol New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2008
    san diego, CA
    Hi, guys, I know there has been plenty of discussion on this topic but through my searches I can't seem to find the answer I am looking for.
    I had 4 hens, just about 5 months (just started laying a couple of weeks ago) two are barred rocks and two are sexlinks/mixed breed. I decided to pick up two more same age hens, these are ameracaunas. I bought them from a guy who just had too many and it looks as if these ladies have been picked on quite a bit, they are scraggly little girls and not used to being handled at all. I've been trying to spend a lot of time out there with all of them together, and then I let the 4 that I've had since chickie-hood out to free range and just give the new girls the run of the coop/cage to eat and drink and chill for a while. Then I put them in a seperate chick tractor right next to the coop and let all of the old hens back into the coop/cage area for a couple of hours. I'm afraid to let them all free range together because of the more wild nature of the new girls - I don't have a big yard, I'm in the middle of the city and am afraid the new girls won't know their boundaries and I'll never be able to put them back into the coop at the end of it.
    For the next couple of hours I've been putting the two most dominant of my flock into the tractor and putting the two new ameracaunas back into the coop/cage with the two least dominant of my flock so they all have to mingle. For the last part of the day I put them all together and open up the sheltered area so that they can hide out if they need to.
    This has been going on since SATURDAY. It is now FRIDAY and they are still being harrassed to no end, mostly when I put them all together. There has been no blood, but the poor little girls just hide out in the sheltered part of the coop and won't come out. If they do, they get pecked and scared back in. Will my flock ever accept them?? How long does this normally take? I am getting really tired of playing rooster! When they are all together I will go out there for a while and "manage" them to try to get them to be nice, but honestly it hasn't changed too much since Saturday.
    What is the normal length of time this should take? Should I do something differently? Should I just stop seperating them and let them duke it out for a few days, as long as there's no blood? Or do I keep doing it this way and hope that they'll eventually get used to each other. Right now I have the two in the tractor with one of the dominant girls so that they have to eat next to each other. There's been a little pecking, but they seem to be ok (until they get too close)
    Sorry so long! I just want to know if this is normal, and if I am doing the right stuff. They all roost together, I've gone in and peeked at them. They are also all laying, even the ameraucanas (about every other day, though, not to full potential).
    Thank you!!
    ~kim
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  2. preppy*hippie*chick

    preppy*hippie*chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Centerburg, Ohio
    I think I would let the new girls have the coop for a couple days and then reintroduce one hen. If that goes well another in a couple more days and so on. The pecking order needs to be dismantled and reset. As an aside, I love a quality spray bottle with a good jet stream as a disciplinary tool for dogs on down to chickens. You're not required to be in the pen and if you see aggression you can nail them in the act.

    I'm no expert, but I read a lot.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  3. Ms Ellen

    Ms Ellen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Virginia
    I have one pullet that I have been trying to integrate into the laying flock for three weeks and she STILL hides in the corner. [​IMG] Even though she is the biggest hen in there! We raised her with the silkies and she thinks she IS a silkie even though she is a Marans hen. She is just too big for the silkie coop, barely fits through the door. Still she spends all her time either hiding from the hens or standing by the wire on the side that the silkie pen buts up too, looking longingly over to her friends. I can wait until dark and put her on the roost with them and she will stay (huddled on the opposite end of everyone else) until morning. Sometimes I can't even find her when she hides. It is getting frustrating for me and I also wonder if this is going to delay her laying since I think she is about ready, which is another reason I put her in with the mature hens. So if anyone has any answers, I am interested too!
     

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