newbie adopts 3 pullets- bad mix?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zoeart, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. zoeart

    zoeart Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2008
    So, I adopted three pullets as a total newbie...

    Two are stuck together at the wing- same breed, probably sex-link ISA brown or something. They are supposedly 4 or 5 months old.
    The third is a Sicilian Buttercup, and may be much younger, as young as 2 or 3 months. They were all raised/living together somewhat free range with three other pullets in their previous home.

    Now, the two older ones are frequently ganging up on the little buttercup- chasing and pecking. the buttercup is starting to sleep in the nest box to keep away from the others.

    so- is this just a big no-no, having pullets of different ages together? I am thinking I might need to find a new home for the buttercup anyways- she is so flighty, and I have a small backyard coop set-up. She is not at all docile, and while the other two are getting more and more used to me and eating from my hand, etc, I haven't been able to get near her. It's a real feat getting her back in the coop, let me tell you.

    If I gave her away, what would be the best way to replace her? With a pullet of the same age or older than the two I already have? Would having the same breed help?

    Any insight into all of this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    ( see for pics)
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Just sounds like the out-hen-out is the lowest in the pecking order. She'll probably be a tagalong chicken, which is OK. My neighbor have 6 chickens, one of whom is clearly the loner. She doesn't seem unhappy. Of my 4 girls, my banty cochin is the hanger-on. She seems content.

    Keep an eye on her though, that the peckign doesn't result in injuries. If it does, you'll need to separate them immediately.
  3. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I had an issue like that when I added two younger birds in with my three older ones (only a few weeks apart). I eventually built a separate coop for the younger ones because they were getting picked on so much. When one of them was killed, the one left was trying to ingratiate herself with the other three to no avail. I got two more younger chicks to keep her company and luckily they get along very well. So now I have two groups of three and it seems to work just fine.

    George and her two "babies":
  4. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    OMGosh! Heather (PotterWatch) George is soooo cute w/ her two babies! [​IMG] Thanks for sharing that pic!

    I'm adding a few new chicks to the family (hopefully this week) and trying to figure out how to make it work best. If I end up having to keep them seperate, that' fine b/c I have a perfect place to make a seperate coop for them. But I'd still like them all to get along!

    From Heather (homeschooling mom too)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  5. Ellie_NY_chick

    Ellie_NY_chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Finger Lakes, NY
    I added three adorable little ones that are about half the age of my existing (very rowdy) flock.

    We built them a separate outdoor pen, and we cut a separate entrance to the chicken house. At that entrance, we put a dog kennel (the biggest they sell) with hay and a small waterer and feeder. There is also a feeder and waterer outside, another large kennel with the door open, and two "lean-tos" for shade.

    I started two weeks ago by adding my two mellowest hens during the day only. No problems.

    Today I have all the hens in the baby pen, and everyone is getting along just fine. I tried to add my Silkie roo, who is very calm, but he actually started picking on one of the older hens really badly, so out he went.

    The 4 boys I have are ranging in and out of the coop freely. They spend a lot of time walking around the girls pen though, especially the Silkie. He looks a little sad that he can't be with his girls, but I can't stand out there all day in case something happens.

    I think gradual change is the key. It seems to take everyone a week to get used to something when I change it. I always watch very carefully for problems and jump in if there's trouble.

    I know that chickens have a very complex hierarchy and society, and it might be controversial to interfere, but I am still the HBIC (Head Bird In Charge), so it's my job to keep the peace in the coop!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    From looking at your pictures I'm thinking that, at least, part of the problem is the size of the coop/run. It looks awfully small for three chickens, but that may just be the picture not showing the true size. When chickens are too crowded they tend to feather peck and pick on the lower chickens of the flock.

    If it's not the size of the coop then you may have to rehome the Buttercup as it sounds like the others are being pretty mean and she doesn't really have anywhere to get away from them. Since she's so flighty it sounds like you might be happier with not having her also. If she's raising your stress level to a constant high; then I think you should find her a new home. Chickens reduce stress (most of the time [​IMG]) for their owners.

    My SSHamburg went through the same type of issue.. the others always picked on her and she started sleeping in the nest boxes to get away from them at night. During the day we had no problems as I have a large run and they free range. Once we more than doubled the inside of our coop, she started sleeping on the roosts and the others stopped picking on her.
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I wanted to add, the only time mine are separate is when they are shut up in their coops. I don't currently have a run so they are allowed to free range around the yard for several hours every day and they do just fine. George and the babies know to stay out of the way of the bigger girls and there is plenty of room for them to spread out. The bigger girls are much more tolerant now than they first were. If I put out watermelon or something, they now let the younger ones eat with them most of the time. If they are in the same coop together though, the little ones still get picked on a lot.

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