RE: Introducing an Older Chicken to a 16-Week Old Flock

Pstemarie

Hatching
Aug 30, 2019
8
7
9
I have a 16-week old Easter-Egger flock of 5 pullets and a cockerel living in the coop and run and one remaining Comet that is 2-1/2 years old living in my barn (her sister was killed the other day). The comet free-ranges during the day, spending most of her time hanging out by the pen - so all the chickens are very accustomed to each other. The cockerel is bigger and the pullets are almost the same size. Will I be able to integrate the comet into this flock of Easter Eggers?

I tried introducing her into the coop the other night and everything went fine until sunrise when all hell broke loose. The Comet beat the snot out the others, including the cockerel (although he mainly watched from the roost), until I managed to get her into the run and get her outside. She then spent the rest of the day trying to terrorize the Easter Eggers from outside the run.

P.S. The comet was the "boss hen" of her flock.

At this point I have four options:

1) keep her by herself and hope she doesn't freeze over the winter
2) try to reintroduce her again to the new flock
3) re-home her if someone will take her
4) have her for supper

Any ideas what's the best thing to do?
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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Were there any injuries, or only screeching and drama? She wanted all these young whippersnappers to realize that she's the QUEEN!
With plenty of space, out of sight shelters, and extra feeders and waterers, It may work out fine. I'd have them out together when free ranging, and watch the evening interactions longer. Maybe have her in a crate out there overnight?
It may all work out, or not.
No chicken should be alone, so another flock of adults, where she's at the bottom of society, or dinner, are other options.
Was she a jerk before, or just the top hen? That should tell you a lot about her potential behavior with this group.
Mary
 

Pstemarie

Hatching
Aug 30, 2019
8
7
9
Mary, there were no injuries and its most likely that I intervened too early - I'm new at this. I saw an article that suggested putting the hen in the run in a crate during the day for a day or two and to use lots of treats - so I'll give that a try.

I'm a little afraid to free range the younger flock, as I'm trying to avoid what happened with the comets - I had five in April, was down to 2 by July, and now just have the one. I tried to keep the comets penned, but they were very unhappy and got stressed as they had been used to free ranging so much.

As for the last Comet, she was a pretty calm boss hen with the others, but the pecking order was well established and no one really challenged her. The only time she got a little bitchy was when I first fill the feed trough - she had to start eating first.
 
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feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Feb 5, 2018
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Could be she's actually intimidated by the others, 16 weeks is full size and she's the minority now. It'll also be her job to keep the cockerel in line and teach him some manners as he matures.

But just throwing unfamiliar birds together usually doesn't go well in confined spaces. It would be best to do See But Don’t Touch so everyone can get used to living in the same space without hurting each other.

What about supervised free range time together? In the evenings an hour or 2 before they all head to bed. That way there's plenty of space for anyone to run away if necessary.

Also a good idea to put multiple feed and water stations out when integrating. Here's some helpful articles with more ideas:
Adding to Your Flock
Introducing A Single Hen to an Existing Flock
 

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