Pinless Peepers not working to prevent bullying

howdysarah

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
6
0
20
I'm out of ideas to incorporate a flock of 9 month old pullets (4 of them) with some 3 year old chickens (4 of them). The bigs bully/attack the littles.

I tried letting them co-exist with a hardware cloth separating them for a week. I tried putting them in at night. By the time I got to them in the morning, one of the littles was almost dead. I separated them for several months again and just put on pinless peepers on the 4 bigs and they are still attacking and pecking the littles. Everyone said pinless peepers would do the trick.

I am out of ideas but this two separate coop thing is a lot of work and I really desire to put them together.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
It takes two to tango. Put the blinders on all of your birds. Not only is it important that your big chickens not give the stink eye to your little chickens but it is equally important that your little chickens don't give the stink eye to your big chickens.

Chickens have a social order that recognizes refusals to back down in fellow birds as a direct challenge to the most powerful chicken in the flock. This is why it is important to isolate any bird that you think is being bullied because the bulling will never stop until the chicken being bullied is prepared to submit to its overlord. In tiny flocks this may be somewhat different because removing one chicken in a flock of 10 is not the same thing as removing one chicken in a flock of 100.

Also in a larger flock the top or alpha hens are unable to visit as much grief on subservient hens as is possible in small flocks.
 

howdysarah

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
6
0
20
A photo of your set up, both run and coop, would also help with troubleshooting. Measurements of both as well, if possible.
The coop is approximately 3 feet by 11 feet. They roam in daylight hours in the fenced forest behind the coop (I open a hatch-you can see handle on far right white part) that is probably 40 feet by 20 feet, plus have access to the coop itself. I close it at dusk.
 

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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,147
126,064
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Need more space, blinders won't overcome crowding.
...and here's some tips about.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

This used to be a better search, new format has reduced it's efficacy, but still:
Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading, BUT some info is outdated IMO:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,200
29,049
1,002
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Aart's covered pretty much all the points on integration.

I can tell you tried expanding the coop but the way it's built my guess is all 8 birds are trying to shove into that tiny enclosed section and it's simply not large enough. So even though according to floor space it's technically enough room in that overall area, the sleeping space is too tight.

Is the second coop you're using similar? Maybe what you should aim for right now is to have both coops in use, but both flocks sharing the run space in the back. You will still need to integrate them into sharing the run but if they can start getting along outside, you stand a better chance of getting them to get along overnight. You will still need to find a way to give them more sleeping space (aka a new coop), or if that's really out of the time/money budget, keep going with separate coops for the time being.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,805
78,354
1,452
Wisconsin
There's definitely not enough room for all those birds. Those coops are a nightmare for owners and chickens.

It takes more than a week to integrate when there's plenty of room. With an even smaller area you have to give it more time. Generally it takes me a month or two before I feel comfortable leaving everyone together. Definitely don't lock them together yet at night. You shouldn't try to rush integration.
 

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