Old and new Chickens not getting along after a month - is this normal and any advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wavechickens, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Wavechickens

    Wavechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So we had 8 hens that had been raised together and we lost 5 to predators. So down the 3 chickens all about 8 months old now (one golden sex link, and two Easter Eggers) we ended up getting three lavender amarucanas (which she said were about 6 months old give or take)from a farm. We have had these six birds together for a month now. We put a wire divider in our coop (which is 6ft by 8ft and 10 feet tall) to keep them separate, and the run outside is also seperated. Each side has its own perch space, nesting box, food and water. After two weeks of seeing but no touching we aloud them to start having limited and supervised visits with each other, and they still are awful to the new ones, so it's been another two weeks allowing supervised visits (more me letting them together and standing outside the window watching for a long time) and my older three, especially the golden sex link are still not allowing the new lavenders to eat, drink, use nesting boxes, go outside, or walk freely inside the coop. They keep them scared into the corner on the perch when together. Every time the lavenders try to get down my golden sex link attacks them and jumps on their backs and pecks and try's to pull feathers out of them until they get back onto the perch. The Easter Eggers only pick them constantly until they retreat to the corner back on the perch, they do not jump on their backs or pull feathers.
    My real concern is the lavenders are not aloud to eat or drink or move pretty much from their spot while the others are in with them.
    So I guess my real concern is after a month of this separated and not getting along is it a lost cause for these old 3 and new 3 to get along. I have heard it can take two weeks before everyone can coexist but after a month and no better my hopes are not high. Anyone have any suggestions on if this is normal for this behavior to go on this long?
    Thanks
     
  2. Wavechickens

    Wavechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought that at first they were getting along okay because they don't have an issue when divided.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    A month isn't very long when talking about integrating older birds. I would expect months and probably closer to a year before they are a bit more of a cohesive flock. The group's will probably always remain separated.

    You are basically waiting for the birds that have the territory originally to forget the new ones are intruders.

    Your older hens are at the age of sexual maturity which can make them a bit more aggressive, as it's more important to them to defend their territory. They will calm down as they mature more.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    ^^^ This. Chickens don't do change well. They are also very territorial. How big is their space? That can make a huge difference when integrating new birds. I would suggest putting out multiple waterers and feeders and giving them hiding places - anything that can get the bullied out of sight of the aggressor. Plywood or pallets leaned up on the run wall. Pallets on cement blocks to get them on a different level - things like that. The new ones need room to get away when one of the others is going after her.
     
  5. Wavechickens

    Wavechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much, your advice is very helpful. I've asked around to other people I know who have intergraded their flocks with new birds and they've had much better luck after a week or two so I am glad to hear it can take much longer and that they are not a lost cause! I thought after a few weeks maybe they just couldn't make it work. I do know that sometimes old and new flockes never really 'get together in unison' but I just don't want my lavenders to be unable to eat and drink when we finally leave them all together in the long run. I don't mind having them separated for now but it's not ideal in the long term sense.
    Thanks much.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Can you post pics of the inside of your coop and how they are separated?
    How long do you allow them 'supervised visits'?

    You might want to switch things up, put the groups of birds on the 'other' side.
    Or maybe mix and match a few birds while the others are out of the coop or in another cage.
    Do have a run...or do you free range?

    6x8 is pretty good space for 6 birds....but might not be quite enough for integration.
    Free ranging or having them spend time in a large run might really help things along.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  7. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2X what was advised you already, bigger run/ coop and hiding places helps. Multiple feeders and waterers makes a big difference. I'd been integrating new chicks every spring, so far it does takes 5-6 wks before I take down the barriers and pretty successful. Hoping my 2017 integration will do the same since I will have 4-5 different generations of layers this time.
     
  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I might try to accelerate things. I'd remove the sex link and EEs if you can. Put them in a large dog crate in the garage or basement for a couple days. Take down the dividers in the coop. Let the 3 new ones get comfortable with the entire coop and run. After a couple of days add the other hens back in one at a time, one per day, and at night when they all go to roost. Save the sex link for last.
     
  9. Wavechickens

    Wavechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. We decided to test a theory and removed the 'mean girls' and put each Easter egger in with them by themselves and found that the five get along pretty well, that our sex link is kind of a bully and likes to get the Easter Eggers in on it to. So we have removed her (she's living in our mini coop we just bought) and will be slowy reintroducing her gradually
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Good plan.
     

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