Oh no another integration post

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ruralhideaway, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    I know I know. These questions never end. I'm sorry.

    4 pullets going on 15 weeks. 15 various chicks about 8 weeks.

    I've asked and read all suggestions. Weeks of see don't touch. Lots of hiding places added to run, shelves, half walls, plywood overlapping in little mazes chicks can fit through but not pullets so chicks can get back into the coop away from the pullets. Upside down buckets breaking up the chase path. Coop and covered enclosed(for winter) run combo is about 12x20. Multiple feed and water in both coop and run.

    They had a few good half days together, only one pullet really being mean. But it seems things are getting worse not better. I had the pop door lowered to just barely allow the chicks to squeeze through but now the pullets are determinedly forcing their big bodies through there to corner them in the brooder. No blood yet but one little Cochin won't even come out anymore.

    If I kick 2 or 3 pullets outside(including Satan the devil pullet) and force all the babies into the run they do ok. Then Satan comes in and it gets out of hand again.

    Should I just keep them apart until they are bigger? At what age would it be better?
     
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  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    I would keep them separated til the littles are older and same size as the pullets.

    If it were only the one bully, you could separate her, but likely someone else will show out too.
     
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  3. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    Thank you! Yes I feel like maybe they are just a bit too old for early integration to succeed. I've never attempted cooped integration before, used to free range where interaction was really optional so I'm not very savvy at this. I can ignore some pecking and chasing but there seems to be some real nastiness going on.
     
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  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    You have on your hands the single most difficult issue to solve when integrating chicks - very young, barely grown individuals that look at baby chicks as Great Sport and Supreme Entertainment.

    Your objective is to be smarter than a four-month old chicken. Easier said than done.

    When trying to change the behavior or habits of chickens, it helps to find something that will make that behavior unpleasant for them so they will quit it. One thing you have going in your favor is their inexperience. They're still learning, so whatever you do, it's going to have a significant effect.

    Over the years, I've found that having a long handled object at hand to thrust between the bully and the victim helps. More recently, I've had success using a fly swatter to pop the bully on the butt just as she is taking off after a victim. This works also as a deterrent when I pick up the swatter and show it to the bully.

    It may sound like you're required to stand guard over the chicks, weapon at the ready, but in reality, chickens are pretty fast learners when it comes to this sort of conditioning. Spending a half hour a day with this exercise can have pretty satisfying results.
     
  5. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    Thanks @azygous I definitely have a couple half hours a day to put this in effect. I have a nice dressage whip, in fact I have lots of crops and stuff in my horse barn. Something that would work anyway for a distracting pop on the butt.

    I didn't really know chickens could learn that kind of thing. Their intelligence is different than mammals and I'm still learning behaviours.

    I have room to keep them separate but the littles are not so little anymore, they don't really want to go in their brooder much anymore. And then when I kick the pullets out in the run they get the coop but that's not huge.

    Tomorrow I will stand guard and teach!
     
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  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Also a splash from a spray bottle works wonders.

    If you are remote from the location, shaking a can of marbles stops everyone in their tracks.

    Let us know how things go.
     
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  7. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    Water bottle! Great idea. I sit in there and visit every day so I'll be close enough for contact. The can of marbles combined with a spray or a swat though, might condition them to really respect the marbles alone for later when I'm starting to step away more.

    These are brilliant ideas. Thank you so much! I need to learn chicken training anyway as my Faverolles cockerel saw me petting baby cochin girls and stormed over and literally bit me the little snot. Ill be reading up on keeping roos in hand asap.
     
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  8. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Disciplining a cockerel is much different than interrupting bad behavior in a pullet. But with either, you don't want to inflict pain. You want to teach.

    I had a biter once, and it's one of the hardest behaviors to stop. It requires immediate immobilization, pushing his head to the ground, and keeping him there until he quits struggling and submits. Also, with biters, very often it's because they're high strung and your fast, abrupt movements startle. Monitor your own behavior as you discipline your little guy, and you should see results in half the time.
     
  9. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

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    He's interesting. I was sitting calmly slowly petting girls on their backs. These cochins are funny, you touch their backs and down they go, at 8 weeks. He didn't like that one bit. He's had the least handling of the bunch as he feathered so slowly and has been spiky for weeks. He really doesn't like me a bit. Which is fine, I wouldn't even blame him if he bit me for picking him up. He came at me across the coop to bite me which seems unusual, not that I'm that wise about rooster behaviors.
     
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  10. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    How old is he?
     

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