Old hen hates the new coop and everyone in it

driver

Songster
11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
104
171
171
A different type of integration question...
I have a 6 year old (non-laying) hen who has been living alone in a very small original Eglu since last fall when her companion died. This spring, I got 5 new chicks, and built a coop and run big enough for all of them. I put the chicks out there about 10 days ago, at 5 weeks old. Over the last week, I've brought the old hen in for supervised visits, but I don't think they're accomplishing much. The babies all huddle in the corner or run into the coop and avoid her. The hen gorges on chick food, then stands by the door and loudly asks to be let out. Occasionally, she'll throw a mean look towards the chicks, but seems pretty uninterested in them. Should I just move the old hen in permanently or is it too soon? Should I put her in the coop at night? It seems a bit different than most integration questions, since there are 5 chicks and the new coop is their turf, so only one adult hen needs to fit in. So far she has shown no inclination to be violent with them, just a few threatening gestures. Mostly, she just wants to leave. Thoughts?
 

driver

Songster
11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
104
171
171
You're right - I guess she's an old lady set in her ways. Here, I was feeling sorry for her thinking she was lonely. I will move her Eglu closer and keep at it.
 

NotSoChickenLove

Chirping
Jun 1, 2017
113
76
76
NZ
You're right - I guess she's an old lady set in her ways. Here, I was feeling sorry for her thinking she was lonely. I will move her Eglu closer and keep at it.
Like old ladies, she'll probably appreciate company on her own terms. She might enjoy watching the youngsters, as long as they keep their silliness in their side of the fence! She might come to enjoy being matriarch one day.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
82,038
93,398
1,677
SW Michigan
My Coop
If no blood has been drawn, I might just let them work it out.
Multiple feed/water stations can help a great deal.

Or put her eglu close to the new run and give it time.
Do you free range at all?
That's can be a great place for them to start to interact.

How big is the new coop and run , in feet by feet?
 

driver

Songster
11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
104
171
171
I do free range the old hen in the about 1/2 acre fenced backyard, but I'm not sure the chicks are ready for that yet (I'm not sure I can get them all back in, that is). Maybe I can put up a temporary fence for a more controlled area that's a little larger than the run. The coop is in the corner of the already fenced yard.

The new run is 8'x8', with a 4x4 raised coop with two levels of 4' roosts, and no nest boxes yet. All of the chickens are breeds that are generally considered friendly and tolerate confinement (old=California Grey, new= Black Australorp, Cuckoo Marans, Easter Egger, Golden Comet & Golden Laced Wyandote).
 

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