I have four Barred Plymouth Rocks that are two yeas old. Now I put four Rode Island Reds in with them. Not fighting, but are very weary of each other. How long until they become buddies? Will they ever share the roost, nesting boxes, etc??
I don't have any experience with this, and would love to know how most chickens handle new additions to the flock. I have three hens (buff orp, gold laced wyand and barred plym rock). I raised them with an ameracauna (all were together from one day old), but found the ameracauna dead in the coop just 10 days ago. They aren't even 2 yet. No signs of illness, injury, anything. I don't know if it's smart to add another, and would appreciate any info. Thanks!
If they aren't drawing blood, it's a successful introduction. Chickens HATE having new introductions to the flock. If you read some about all the awful diseases they can get, you would understand why. After they've gone through quarantine (If you didn't raise them), they should be visible to each other, but separated by wire for at least two weeks, better one month. Then put them together and watch carefully--any sign of blood and they need to be separated to keep from killing each other. Things seem to go better with a larger run/free range situation, and if you can do things to make them a little unsure of themselves, like large toys in the run, a new run area for both, etc...
ETA--it takes a while, like weeks, but soon they will be like old flockmates!
O boy !! Forgot about the quarantine thing. Well too late for that now. They have now been through more than three full days together. The Reds seem to give the Rocks plenty of room, and they have lots of room to do that. I have not seen any evidence of fighting, "fingers crossed." They are in an old milk house that is like fourteen by sixteen, with a sixteen by twenty run. Lots of room for eight chicks. So far the Reds have been bedding down in a corner for the night, and the rocks take the ladder to the roost. I dont know if the Reds had a roost where they came from? Wonder if they will take to roosting, or will I have to put in a new roost just for them? They now are sharing the nesting boxes. Opened the door to let them free range today. The Reds would not go out for hours, but would reach out stretching their neck to get a green treat. By late afternoon they did go out, but stayed within five feet of the door. On a good note they are each giving me an egg a day.
I am feeling pretty good about the introduction process in our coop. I took the advice of this forum and kept my new little hens in a pen visible to all the older girls for 5 weeks and then let them have run of the inside coop while the older girls were out running amok in the yard. Now at 6 weeks we have started allowing the new girls run of the coop and fenced coop yard while others out in the wild. Occassionally one or two of the older girls want in to do their business or just boss the little ones around. I have seen occassional pecks but the little ones just scoot out of the line of fire and that seems to end it.
It seems to be a whole different process with all adult birds. We integrated some Buff Orpingtons into our coop of RIR and Americuanas and even though they do roost and lay in the same place, The Golden Girls have remained segregated. When they have the chance to separate themselves they do, and we are going on 1 1/2 years with them all together. Good luck with yours.