Pecking Order, Chicken Time-Out and Adding Two Pullets?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DawnKD, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. DawnKD

    DawnKD Out Of The Brooder

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    Need some advice here ...

    I have 4 hens - Buff Orp (oldest, gentle yet dominant leader), EE (2nd in command), Delaware and Welsummer (lowest on the rung). My coop is 48 sq feet and my enclosed run is 100 sq ft.

    My Delaware is incessant about lording over my Welsummer ... the poor Welsummer comes close or even looks the wrong way and my Delaware is pecking her on the head. No blood, but enough that the Welsummer doesn't dare go close to her or any of the others if there's a treat around. (If she manages to get a morsel, the poor girl runs for her life!) She's very tentative about wandering the run and is always near me if I'm in there and/or looking for a quick escape route from the Delaware. I just put the Delaware in "time out" in my dog crate in the garage so there can be some peace in the coop and run.

    On top of that chicken drama, I've got two 11-week-old pullets (Red Sexlink and Barred Rock) who are ready to join the big girls.

    I'm wondering if NOW is the time to do with already having messed with the existing flock's pecking order? Or do I wait a day or two until the three hens bond a bit?

    I'm thinking chicken time-out for the Delaware will be 3-4 days, but tell me if I'm wrong ....

    Thank you!!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Time out for the Delaware is the way to go. Let the rest become friends. One of your adults may take advantage of the separation and bully the chicks.

    Introducing like numbers and like sizes always works better so 11 weeks may be young.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

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    You need to add some things to your run for the bottom birds to go under, sit in or sit on top of, and maybe a visual barrier. Your bottom hen might become the bully to the new birds, so don't be surprised if that happens. If you already have some troubles, your hens are saying they don't have enough room, so adding more birds might make things worse.

    Every flock has a certain need for space based on the number of birds and their personalities. If you have adequate room you won't see that type of pecking order behavior repeatedly. You might want to give them more space or things to do.

    You should make a separate pen next to or inside your existing one so that everyone becomes familiar with the young ones. Keep them penned separately for a week or two before starting supervised mingling. The first few times can last minutes before it gets rough. Try again, and keep trying until they are mostly left alone and you feel comfortable leaving them together.
     
  4. DawnKD

    DawnKD Out Of The Brooder

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    You think they need more room than 100 sq ft in a run for 4 birds, plus the 48 sq ft in the coop? That's like 35 sq ft/bird with 4, and 25 sq ft w/ 6 hens. Hmmmmm ....

    I have some items to help with boredom .... two big logs - one laying on its side, the other vertically and both are strategically placed for escape routes; a ladder and two side roosts in the run. Plus, the large waterer is strategically places in the center and near a post. The Delaware will attack out of no where and hunt the Welsummer down ....

    I've had the 11-week-olds in a separate dog pen inside the run for a week now and a separate box with a lid inside the coop - there's been some ruffled feathers from my BO and a little pecking, but not much else.
     
  5. DawnKD

    DawnKD Out Of The Brooder

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    Funny you say that, I'm fully anticipating my bullied Welsummer will be a little chicken-witchy! My EE and Welsummer are nearly 6 months old, so full-sized but not nearly as savvy as my BO. Would 2 on 2 be better? Like put the EE with the Delaware for a day?

    Last time I had to do an integration, I had my one BO and she was out-numbered but the three younger ones (EE, Welsummer, Delaware). Being oldest, she immediately was the 'alpha' and those three had to figure out their pecking order around her.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Like numbers, like sizes is always better.
     
  7. DawnKD

    DawnKD Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, thank you!!!
     
  8. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also it wouldn't hurt to put in a second feeder away from the other one so one chicken can't control the feed station.
     
  9. DawnKD

    DawnKD Out Of The Brooder

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    yes, I left out that detail - thank you! I have one in the coop, one in the run, and I just set up another small one in where the pullets are confined right now. I'm planning to 'open' the confined area so only the pullets can squeeze in/out so they have some space that the hens can't reach at all.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     

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