Pecking Order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Larissa_xoxo3, May 20, 2019.

  1. Larissa_xoxo3

    Larissa_xoxo3 In the Brooder

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    Hi all, I recently bought 8 new laying hens that are all 19 weeks old now (they have been quarantined for 30 days) and I have been trying to add them to my existing flock. My old hens will peck at them and chase them around which I know is normal so they can establish their pecking order. However my question is how long does this behaviour last? I feel terrible because every time I go into the coop my new hens are always huddled together in the corner and they seem too scared to explore. I have been separating them for a few hours everyday so I can make sure the new hens are getting enough to eat and drink ( I do have multiple feeding and watering dishes set up) They are completely fine at night once the old hens get their spots on the roost but still don’t want the new hens roosting beside them at all.
     
    Ribh likes this.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    All that sound perfectly normal, including the roosting part.. My definition of a successful integration is that nobody gets hurt. It sounds like you have achieved that. :thumbsup

    I typically see that behavior until the pullets start laying. I have a lot of room and my adults pretty much spend all day every day outside. The pullets may spend a lot of time inside the coop to avoid the adults but I've got enough room that they can get outside and still avoid them. I have food and water in the coop plus two more foods and two more waterers outside, spaced far apart. I think you will see a big change withing a few weeks of the pullets starting to lay.
     
  3. Ribh

    Ribh Free Ranging

    It will take a few weeks for everything to settle down. By the end of a month the new pecking order will be established & everything will return to normal. For the time being separating everyone to give everyone a break is a great idea. This is a stressful time for everyone but it will resolve itself. I have just finished integrating new birds myself & am jolly glad we are over the worst of it & my flock has settled down again.:hugs
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    What does your run look like? Can a bird eat at one station out of sight of another bird at a second feed station? I often see big open rectangles for the run. Where as any bird in the run cannot get out of sight of any other bird at any time.

    If this is your run, add junk. Cardboard boxes, ladders, old chairs, pallets, mini walls, hideouts, extra roosts. Make it look cluttered, and set it up so as a bird in one spot, can be totally out of sight of a bird or birds in another.

    Mrs K
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Do you have a separate roost for the newbies?
    Set a bit lower than the main roosts, it can really help.

    Indeed.
    I had 3 age groups one year and spent some time sitting in the coop for a couple evenings to watch the RoostTimeRumble. Oldest group came in filled their crops and went up to roosts, then the middle group did the same, and finally the youngest group. If anyone tried to go 'out of order', they promptly got chased out of coop. I found it fascinating.
     
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  6. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Crowing

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    Aside from maybe adding some things to hide behind (super smart idea!) it sounds like you're doing everything right! I know it's tough but they'll be over the worst of it soon! You're being a great chicken momma! :love
     
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  7. littlebarngirl

    littlebarngirl Songster

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    Thank you for asking this question, I've been wondering the exact same thing. :pop
     
  8. littlebarngirl

    littlebarngirl Songster

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    Thank you so much! I just ran outback and added an old patio chair to the mix of the run. I set it on its side and the mesh seat backs added just the amount of privacy the chicks needed to feel comfortable walking around and getting to a food station. It worked great!
     
  9. Larissa_xoxo3

    Larissa_xoxo3 In the Brooder

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    May 8, 2019
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    Thank you everyone for your input! I was totally feeling like I wasn't doing enough to help my new pullets out but you all reassured me of that! :loveIt has been raining here non stop for the past few days so they have all been forced to be around each other all day and I think it is helping a little bit! I did watch a few of my new hens eating with my old hens which is the first time since getting them that this has happened! As far as my run I will totally add some little hides for them as soon as the weather turns nice and they actually want to do more then step out and run back inside again! :lau
     
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  10. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Thekuntryklucker.blog

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    Yea, that sounds like normal pecking order establishment to me. It can take several weeks for everyone to know where they stand in the hierarchy. As long as no one gets hurt that is the big thing. Multiple feeders and water stations is a good idea.

    Sounds like you have done your part, now they just need to to do theirs. Pecking order rituals can be frightening for a new or first time merging two flocks chicken owner.

    I have done it so many times now that it no longer phases me. I really only intervene if there is aggressive pecking or if someone gets hurt. For the most part after the first few weeks everyone settles down and comes to an understanding.
     
    littlebarngirl likes this.

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