Problems with my New Flock

Vfedorovsky

Hatching
May 12, 2015
4
0
7
Hi all, this is my first post here. Excited to learn a lot!

I am hoping I can find some answers to some problems I am currently having with my flock.

I have one hen that I've had for about 2 years and I just got three new ones.

Problem 1: The older hen is extremely mean and aggressive towards the new chickens. I thought she would be like this at first but then cool off. She has been around them for over a week and she will still not stop bullying the rest of the flock. It's creating a very stressful environment. She will not sleep with the rest in the coop; she sleeps outside in the run.

Problem 2: No one is laying! The old hen was laying regularly until the new ones showed up. The new chickens may be too young but the older hen definitely is a regular layer and all of a sudden stopped laying when the new chickens showed up.

Problem 3: All the chickens but especially the old one seem to hate their run area. It's a decent size area for all of them but the old hen basically spends all day either bullying the others or very aggressively squawking and trying to get out of the pen.

As you can imagine, it's a very stressful environment! I hope I can find some good advice here on what to do. Thank you!
 

fshinggrl

Songster
10 Years
May 1, 2009
2,615
84
248
the edge of insanity
How did you introduce them? They need to 'see' the others before they are thrown all together most of the time. Make sure there are plenty of hiding places for sure. I've introduced young chicks to a little older ones and it's worked out.. but everyone is different. Good luck.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,171
123,404
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Stress is probably why the old girl stopped laying, she doesn't like those intruders.

How many new birds and their age please?
How much run and coop space(feet by feet)?

Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations can help...and time.
As long as no blood is shed, or no one is getting pinned down and pecked, let them work it out.


Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

Integration of new chickens into flock.


Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search

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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

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