New Rooster and Hen integrating into established flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jstlitlome, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. jstlitlome

    jstlitlome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a couple of spaces in my coop so I decided to get a new rooster and hen. I got them at 1 year old since I don't really have time to raise from chicks right now. They are Black Copper Marans. Really nice pair. They were raised together. I have eight 1.5 yr old hens and these make 10.

    I have moved all of my chickens to my garden to eat the leftovers, bugs scratch, etc and used my existing coop for the new pair. I thought that after the quarantine period the garden would be good neutral ground to introduce them. I put them in the garden in the crate for a couple of days and after they settled down I let them out. They have only had a couple of squabbles and not nearly as much blood and gnashing of teeth as I expected.

    The problem is that now, four days later, and the original hens stay to one side in the tomato plants and the new roo and hen stay on the other. close to the coop, completely ignoring each other. The roo is pretty docile. It really seems like the roo isnt taking to my hens. He just ignores them, and the hen stays by his side at all times.They try to roost right outside of the garden coop so I have to pick them up to put them in with the other hens. Even in the coop, they roost on a crate and the others on the roosts. My garden is more than big enough for everyone, 50x80'.

    Everyone (except the roo) is molting and no one is laying eggs. Feathers are EVERYWHERE! Argh!

    How long for them to start acting like one big flock?

    Leslie
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    There's no way to tell, could be a week or 6 months. They're all individuals. Not trying to be smart but how long does it take you to warm up to new coworkers?
     
  3. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just integrated 2 pullets & a cockerel into my flock of 1 1/2 year old hens. I did it similar to what you did and had the same reaction. They've been fully integrated for about 2 months now and still keep together and off to themselves. The rooster does mate the hens but another hen usually shoos him off rather quickly. I think this is the way it's going to be. Everyone looks good and is healthy so I'm not concerned.
    I'm currently trying to integrate a single hen into my newly formed flock. The poor thing went into a full blown molt while in quarantine. She's recovering well but seems very timid. I took her from a guy who said she was being bullied by her former flock. I'm afraid I won't be able to integrate her before cold weather gets here. She needs to get into the big girls coop before winter.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    4 days is nothing....give them more time, just be very glad there's no major bloodshed and the roo isn't tormenting the existing hens, sounds like he's smart boy, lol!

    They'll work it out eventually, will be interesting to watch it progress.
     
  5. jstlitlome

    jstlitlome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. It has been interesting having someone elses chickens. One thing i have noticed is this rooster and hen will not eat table scraps! No lettuce, tomatoes, even quinoa and lentils! I brought up some sardines yesterday (to aid in their full blown molt) and they just looked at me like "what?" My original girls come running to me when I come to them and try to eat anything in my hand, food or not! lol Maybe it is a trust issue. Although he seems to be pretty docile, he does not trust me yet. I have been the victim of stink eye about every time to go in there! lol

    I should be very glad there is no bloodshed, you are right. I will give them some time.

    Leslie
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yeah, just spend as much time as you can in there, not trying to touch them but just moving/talking calm and slow so they will get used to your presence.
    Eventually they'll realize you're not going to hurt them...and...you bring food!
    Most chickens aren't cuddlers, they just want to eat.
     
  7. abserbean

    abserbean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will figure it out, but they may always function as two mini flocks within one flock. I rescued a hen over a year ago. After a rough attempt at integrateing, I purchased a hen to be her friend. Those two hens are broodies, so now a year and three rounds of sitting eggs later, I have three mini flocks within my larger flock. My original four girls are still top dog over everyone, Lillie has a mini flock of seven with pullets from her earlier hatches, and Paisley has a mini flock of three with her two still young chicks. They all free range together and function fine, but sleep in seperate areas and only mingle if necessary (treats being given out). While they do not fight, they definatly respect boundaries, and will not so much as dust bathe with someone from another "flock", even though they spend all day together. Hopefully since there is a rooster in your pair, he will bridge the gap and bring them all together. Don't be surprised if they keep to themselves though, chickens are funny that way.
     

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