Once again—integrating birds

KirbyH

Songster
Jan 22, 2019
83
98
106
Rougemont, NC
I have a group of four adolescent guineas that I want to free range and to get along with a peripatetic flock of 10 guineas that roost at a neighbor’s but spend a lot of time at our place. some of these birds were raised by me, some by the neighbor so their history is complicated. We seem to be the choice spot for nests and if I don’t find the nest the keets appear. So the adolescents are from the adult flock which seems now not to want to accept them. Over several weeks the adults have met the adolescents at the young birds’ coop. I have been slowly releasing the younger birds for a couple of hours a day. Yesterday I released three of them, 2 males and 1 female when the adult birds were around. (This is not a confined space they were in.) The adults went ballistic and attacked the youngsters, less so the female than the two males. The males took to the roof. The female ran around kind of confused and then headed home. Will this aggressiveness abate once a pecking order is established? Is it likely some bird will get injured. Despite aggressive pecking nobody was hurt this time around but it was pretty wild.

There is a fifth adolescent, a female, who I separated from the other four because she was being persecuted. She is in a little coop by herself and it was around this coop that the brouhaha took place. Interestingly I have released her when the adults have been around and they pay her absolutely no mind. She is super timid and slinks around doing a little exploring then returns to her house.

This is all a bit like a soap opera. Anybody got advice?
 

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,399
2,937
266
Indiana
Unless you separate them into areas where they can see and adjust to each other w/o making physical contact, this will continue, just as we wld if someone dropped a group of strangers in our house.
I know, it sounds strange bc you say they belong to them, but they didn't hatch them,& males will attack ones that were hatched w/i the flock if Mama isn't there to shield them.
I have 2 3 month olds that I hatched that do not belong to the original crew. When I was ready to move them to the coop, I moved their brooder into the coop under the drop board. That way they cld be seen (lg clear tote box) but not reached. When I decided it was time to integrate, I cut a hole in the side of the box big enough for the keets to move through, but not the elders, and began letting them forage during the daytime w/them. As time went on they stopped going to the brooder and I removed it. The most that happened to them was a peck on the head if they got underfoot (literally-Mouse wld go between the dominant male's feet to eat). They still get thunked once in awhile, they are content to wander close to the elders, and the elders now kind of keep an eye on them to make sure they're following along or returning to the coop w/them. Your young males will probably cont to be marked in the spring when mating season begins, but by then your female will be being courted.
 

KirbyH

Songster
Jan 22, 2019
83
98
106
Rougemont, NC
Wow, brilliant. Do you have pictures?

How old were your keets when you put them in their brooder into the coop? We’re you having to keep them warm?

Rereading this I see that I left out that the older birds have been in some contact with the younger (five and a half months old) birds over the last three months since the youngsters have been in an outside coop. So they are not total strangers. That’s why I was kinda taken aback by the intensity of the encounter.

How likely is it the males will be seriously injured? They have lots of space to get away from the adults.
 
Last edited:

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,399
2,937
266
Indiana
Wow, brilliant. Do you have pictures?
Of the tote? It's just a big clear plastic tote -stearlite, I think. With locking latches on each end of lid. The first one I made I put wire on top. 20190805_130140.jpg
The second time, I just put this on top- it was an extra section of a baby gate ( the kiddie pool is where they go while I clean the brooder). 20201125_235749.jpg
I don't have a pic of the box, sorry. I think it's 116 qt. but not swearing on it. When it came time to put the doorway on the side for the keets, I used a soldering iron to melt/cut it. Much easier & no sharp edges. My drop boards are less than 2' from the ground and it slid under perfectly so they got air but no drafts and didn't get pooed on.
Here's the original crew inside of theirs - there were 6 of them and they had plenty of room, and they stayed inside until they were 8 wks old, until we finished the coop.
1606367492670.png
 
Last edited:

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,399
2,937
266
Indiana
Wow, brilliant. Do you have pictures?

How old were your keets when you put them in their brooder into the coop? We’re you having to keep them warm?

Rereading this I see that I left out that the older birds have been in some contact with the younger (five and a half months old) birds over the last three months since the youngsters have been in an outside coop. So they are not total strangers. That’s why I was kinda taken aback by the intensity of the encounter.

How likely is it the males will be seriously injured? They have lots of space to get away from the adults.

Wow, brilliant. Do you have pictures?

How old were your keets when you put them in their brooder into the coop? We’re you having to keep them warm?

Rereading this I see that I left out that the older birds have been in some contact with the younger (five and a half months old) birds over the last three months since the youngsters have been in an outside coop. So they are not total strangers. That’s why I was kinda taken aback by the intensity of the encounter.

How likely is it the males will be seriously injured? They have lots of space to get away from the adults.
They went out at 4 wks
Wow, brilliant. Do you have pictures?

How old were your keets when you put them in their brooder into the coop? We’re you having to keep them warm?

Rereading this I see that I left out that the older birds have been in some contact with the younger (five and a half months old) birds over the last three months since the youngsters have been in an outside coop. So they are not total strangers. That’s why I was kinda taken aback by the intensity of the encounter.

How likely is it the males will be seriously injured? They have lots of space to get away from the adults.
I had to go back and recount, I was thinking these 2 went out sooner, but last yr's crew went out at 8 wks, these 2 went out at 10 weeks, in October.
We built the coop as a truck w/an attached run. It's insulated between the wallboards and the metal siding.I do deep bedding, & we enclose the run part w/ clear poly panels in the winter. We don't provide any additional heat, & I'm quite comfy in there. You said 5 mo. -they shld be fully feathered and fine given time to adapt, & for now your weather is similar to my own.
If I understand the set up, the elders are free all of the time, the keets have been kept penned. -New kids on the block, disrupting the hierarchy. I'm going to hand off to @R2elk on this, bc my birds, though far from domesticated, were raised inside, hand held/fed - I don't want to say they're "trained", but we have some "understandings". Yes, it can get pretty rough. But I can walk over and pick up the aggressor and walk away w/him, and I don't think that's going to work for you, & I haven't experienced the "how bad." If they're able to get away & smart enough to do so (key point)- but I have a male so docile that he let his mate peck at his toe so much that I finally had to amputate it. He neither defended himself or tried to get away, or fought me when I removed it.:idunno
 

KirbyH

Songster
Jan 22, 2019
83
98
106
Rougemont, NC
I have some more younger babies living in my house now. (Our place is their choice for maternity ward). I had hoped to rehome them but now I‘m thinking the coop guys in the picture might need some backup. Maybe these can be part of the coop group and still get along with the wanderers. It is complicated because we feed all the birds and the wanderers hang out on our patio with Dolly, the persecuted one. The multiple layers of interaction are well, complicated. Chickens are not this difficult.
BE52511B-B147-444B-979A-6A1AB4C68C9D.jpeg
5F1EC36E-A71C-4820-94A1-D86BFA0E3D6A.jpeg
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom