new hens not mixing in

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by billymcdonaldnp, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. billymcdonaldnp

    billymcdonaldnp Out Of The Brooder

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    I introduced two new chickens to my group of 9. The new are Favorolles. They are 5.5 months. It has been 10 days. I have taken gradual steps to mix them in, including separate pen in the big coop (14x14 feet). I'veput them in after dark to the hen house roost and now they go in with everyone else and find their low corners and are left alone at night.
    In the daytime they stay up on perches. One of them will occasionally go into a corner and be trapped and get pecked on the back of the neck repeatedly. No sores yet or featherless areas. Loose in the yard they don't mix but do explore and seem to have some fun. I don't know if I should give them away or give it more time. Suggestions please.
    Billy
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Sounds like a pretty normal introduction. There will always be some bullying when when new birds are introduced and they will often stay indoors because of it. You might want to place a feeder and waterer inside the coop so they can eat and drink, and apply Pick-No-More if they develop bald areas or feather loss, but otherwise they should be OK. As long as no serious injury is occurring they will adapt.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Sounds perfectly normal. Mature hens outrank immature pullets and can be brutal to them when the pullets invade their personal space. Immature chickens soon learn to avoid the bullies as much as they can. That’s what they are doing on the perches, getting where the older hens can’t hurt them. Occasionally you have an older hen that will go out of her way to be a bully but most of the time you don’t. Still each flock is unique.

    The way most chicken conflicts are settled is that the loser runs away from the winner. There may be some chasing involved but as long as the weaker can get away it normally ends peacefully. Space to get away is important. Space to avoid is important.

    When will the younger ones mature enough to force their way into the pecking order and stop all this nonsense? With mine, it’s normally about the time they start laying.

    When are they getting trapped and pecked? Is that before the pop door is open in the morning so they can avoid the adults?

    Sometimes when a chicken is trapped in a corner or against the wall it doesn’t try to get away. It hunkers down and tries to protect its head. Since it is not running away the attacker doesn’t know it has won and keeps attacking. That is dangerous but as long as no blood is drawn it’s part of the process.

    You have a nice sized coop. That should make integration a lot easier than if you had them shoe-horned into a tiny space. But monitor that situation. If there is one specific hen being a brute you may need to isolate the bully a week or so to disrupt her place in the pecking order. When you put her back she will have other issues than picking on young chickens.

    Good luck. The main thing I advise is patience.
     
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  4. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Total agreement with ridgerunner. I would take the hen that is doing the bullying and seperate her for a week. I let my flock see new hens or chicks for at least 2 weeks before integrating them. We built a pen which is really a dog kennel, with a gate inside of the chicken run and this has worked perfectly. Make sure the new hens have a place to hide or get away as well as access to food and water. Its not easy to watch this process i know but it will get better. My advantage is broody hens, even if the chicks are 2/3 months old when i add them with the flock if there is bullying, mama chicken solves that problem quickly. Good luck Billy and great choices on breeds of chickens, some of my favorites.
     
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  5. pigcoon

    pigcoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am joining thread and do not want to distract, but I have two new hens that are within their first24 hours of introduction to a small older flock of 4. The new ones are already laying but this is their first winter. The older girls are 3 years. There is no rooster in this flock.

    One of them already has a bit of bare skin on her head from being picked on this morning. Should I put peck-no-more on it right away?

    I did put the new ones in at night and all went well until morning.
     
  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Yes, apply Pick-No-More as soon as you can - chickens have a tendency to see one tiny bald spot and decide they would like to make it a whole lot bigger.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    My advice is, don't give up! Two weeks ago I introduced a rescued hen into my flock of twenty. Edith, a Buff Orpington, is doing very well adjusting. She's one of the most docile breeds, as are Favorelles, so she runs away when challenged rather than fighting. That in itself decreases the amount of time required for a new hen to be accepted into the flock since it reduces the number of chickens challenging each other for new ranks in the pecking order.

    Several dynamics are operational when you introduce a strange chicken into a flock. The big one is that chickens are very suspicious of a stranger among them. Over time, they get used to having her around. A newcomer automatically disrupts the social structure, provoking many in the flock to feel insecure. This manifests in squabbles, even among the regulars. As the flock becomes used to the presence of a new chicken, this insecurity is mitigated. On the other hand, the newcomer is becoming more settled and that inspires self confidence in her. This goes a long way toward everyone accepting her as one of them.

    Making certain your newcomer has access to food and can eat without being chased away is very important. A chicken that isn't getting enough to eat will take much longer to assimilate because she won't feel well or strong enough to meet the challenges she faces. I feed Edith twice a day inside a safe pen in the run so she gets adequate nourishment.

    So, patience. Don't give up. Time is in your favor. Don't expect the newcomer to be accepted with warm inclusiveness. These are chickens. They are cliquish. Don't expect anything more than a tentative truce. It's not going to be singing Cumbaya around a campfire where everyone is BFFs. You will be able to claim success when the newcomer isn't ambushed and thrashed every time she strolls through the run.
     
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  8. billymcdonaldnp

    billymcdonaldnp Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the good advice. This helps. I'll make sure about the food and water.
     
  9. pigcoon

    pigcoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did apply, but it is still not going so well. :(

    One of the new ones keeps going right in harms way, and then going all submissive, so then they keep pecking at her. Even with the Pick-No-More on.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Very good advice ^^^ My own pullets raised in this flock, are a sub flock at this time. Until they begin laying. As yours are laying that will help. Some real good cold weather will help too, at 20 below, one is not so picky who they stand by!

    Only thing to add, is look at your run. Sometimes people have large open runs. Lean up a pallet, add an outdoor roost, set up a small wall in the middle so that birds can get out of sight and away from each other. Tuck a feed bowl around the back side of the wall, so that some can eat out of sight of others. But do make sure that each obstacle has two exits so that you don't create a trap.

    Patience and this will be fine.

    Mrs K
     
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