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This will be my first time integrating and I have a question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Happy Chooks, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I let my 11 month old chickens out to free range. (supervised due to hawks) They have had "see you there" contact for 5 weeks with my 10 week old babies in their separate little run. Their runs are not adjoined though, there's about 3 feet between the runs.

    Well today, my 10 week old BR cockeral decided to challenge my 11 month old BR hen.(she's molting but still pushy) He stood up real tall, both their neck feathers were flared. Lots of intimidation squawking from both of them. Then he crowed for the first time at her, which she wasn't happy with. When she started going after him through the fencing, I pushed her away. (good thing too because she cut her comb a bit trying to get to him)

    I'm not planning on integrating them for probably another month or so, but should I be worried? Will I have trouble integrating them? I suspect my BR hen is going to be knocked down a peg or 2 as he will probably be the same size as her by then. I plan to still free range them in the area of the little ones to keep them getting used to each other. Anything else I can do to lessen the fighting?
     
  2. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of space, as much as you can practically afford to build into the runs. Ditto for coop. Have seen older hens whip young roos and run them off. Funny to watch.[​IMG]
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Space, not a problem. They will roam my orchard which is about 50 ft X 100 ft. And my coop will hold 15 chickens and there's only 5 in there now.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Anyone else?
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I would raise them separatly until they are about the same size. When or if you do combine them there will be pecking as they establish their pecking order and some may be more aggressive than others. Every integration is different. The birds are all different.

    Here is some good information on integrating flocks.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=14951

    Here is what I did which is very similar to the following post.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=4942-integrating-flocks
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many youngsters do you have? It sounds like you only have 5 older ones so if you have more youngsters then adults it should be pretty easy. I know a lot of people like to put the new ones onto the roost at night, but I like to do a daytime test run when I can supervise.

    If you have the time I'd free range them together for a week or two then try an afternoon all in the same run. If that goes well (some pecking chasing is ok, just not to the point of blood) stick the youngsters in at night and call it good. It helps if you put out a treat like a hanging cabage or two in the run so they have something to do first thing in the morning.

    If the hens are being brats when you free range them all together it might be a good idea to switch coops/runs for a few days before the big integration. That way the youngsters feel comfortable in the main coop and the hens will be a little off balance. If it's only your BR hen that is being a pain you can stick her in chicken jail for a few days when you integrate the younger flock. When she gets out everybody should be pretty well settled in and she'll be more worried about where she is in the pecking order then chasing the kids.

    Good luck with it and don't stress too much. It's really not that hard if you have a bit of time and lots of space.
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    cmom.........thanks for the links. I just wasn't sure how to proceed with the little BR cockeral challenging my older hen. Afterall, he's about 1/2 her size. (but he sure made himself look tall!!!!) And I have no intention of putting them in yet, I want them to be bigger first. (not to mention dealing with 2 kinds of food, so I won't move the babies over until they can be on the same food as the adults)

    Kittymomma.........I have 5 chicks, but 1 (or 2) extra cockerals (including the one that challenged my hen) will be getting an invitation to dinner. So I'll be integrating them, then 1-2 will disappear leaving a welsummer cockeral and 2 welsummer pullets in with my 5 older hens. I'm afraid if I put them in the run together, I'd never be able to catch the babies if I needed to. (it's a really big area, and they are fast little buggers, I've had a hard time catching the welsummer cockeral in the little 4X8 foot run they are in now) I do have the option of removing the BR hen if need be, I could put her in where the babies were for a few days. I'm also having my husband add another roost to the coop, so the hens will have a roost to themselves and the babies a roost to themselves to hopefully minimize fighting there. I can also be home to keep an eye on them, except for getting the kids to and from school.
     

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