Trouble Integrating New Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by swmalone, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    We have two ~18 week old hens that we are trying to integrate into our existing flock of 4 chickens. The 18 week old RIR ended up getting picked on, but we tried not to interfere with the pecking order. I went out last night and noticed that there was a gash that was about 1 inch by a 1/4 inch on the back of her neck. It was put there by our Silver Laced Wyandotte, which is 2 years old and was on the bottom of the pecking order in the group of 4, and seems to have it out for our little RIR.

    We rinsed the cut with saline solution, iodine and put some antibiotic ointment in there. The wyandotte has been put into the chicken tractor that we were using for the 2 smaller ones. The rest of the chickens now seem to get along for the most part. One of the older ones occasionally goes in for a peck on the RIR, but it is much calmer. I wish that the RIR would actually run away instead of squatting and shaking in terror when they come after her.

    Anyways I'm not sure how long to keep the wyandotte separated and what do we do if we put her back in with everyone and she tried to kill our RIR again.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Ideally we would prefer not to have to re-home anyone since they are our backyard pets and my wife would be devastated since we already had to re-home one of the new chickens this year when she turned out to be a he. Agent K as he is affectionally called now live at her parents a few hundred miles away.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. hulk247

    hulk247 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2014
    We have been going through the same thing. We have 4 in our original flock, and introduced 2 New ones. I separated the 2 new ones. I built a temporary little run and coop right next to the big original coop/run. I left them separated for about 2 weeks and slowly started introducing them back together. This seemed to help a lot. They still pick a little but not super aggressive like before. I hope this might be an option for you as well. It is hard to sit there and do nothing, while your new little ones get beat up. Good luck
     
  3. olijo123

    olijo123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2013
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    Whenever I introduce new chickens to the established flock there is always someone who thinks they have to constantly pick on them. In my experience I find that putting the new chickens in a cage for a few days helps because all the other chickens see them and get used to them being there. But, when you go to let them out they will still get picked on but its not as bad. Usually you have to supervise them for awhile and see how things go. But either way she will get picked on because she has to get established into the pecking order. Hope that helps!
     
  4. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    Thank you for the responses. I guess I should put a little more info. We raised the new ones in a small chicken tractor that was separate from the area we keep the other chickens. A little over a week ago we moved the tractor into the fenced in yard part with the older chickens and left the new ones in their tractor for that entire time. It seemed that for the most part all but that wyandotte got used to them. She just gets this look of pure evil and takes off after the RIR. The RIR squats submissively and the Wyandotte jumps on her back and starts plucking, scratching, and pecking.

    Since I have separated out the Wyandotte it seems a lot calmer. We have an Americauna that goes after the younger ones a bit, but no where near as aggressively as that Wyandotte. I think we will keep the Wyandotte separated for another day or two and then reintroduce her and see how it goes.

    I want to be very patient but we have a trip coming up in a few weeks and I don't want to come home to one of our chickens dead at the beak of one of the others.

    Thanks again for the responses.
     
  5. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    Well a new update. We had a scalping occur last night when they were trying to position for roosting space. Our RIR is now living in a pet carrier in our office. she ended up losing about a 1.5 x 1.5 inch section of skin and feathers. We cleaned it out and treated with iodine and it looks like it is starting to scab up. I have no idea how long we will have to keep her away from other chickens, that is the largest wound we have ever had to deal with. I think we may have to start the integration from scratch and we will be sure to be very patient and very alert. I appreciate all the help and I may head to the injuries section to see what people say about that size and type of injury and how long we should keep her isolated.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. olijo123

    olijo123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2013
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    Sorry she got injured! Maybe you could try waiting until she is a little bigger....? Usually when I introduce new chickens they get picked on but they never get big cuts or gashes from it. Also they usually stop picking on it. This is a tough one! Hope she gets better. Good Luck
     
  7. hulk247

    hulk247 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2014
    Yea maybe waiting until she is a little bigger is a good idea. I've never had ours get big cuts or gashes either. I have used water to separate the aggressor. She did not like that at all. Also if I'm reading your comment correctly, you are separating the older one / aggressor.. Don't know if it would make a difference, but maybe you could keep the new ones separate. I don't think the older one would like being separated from her flock, and knight make her more aggressive. Sorry about the little one. I hate setting them getting picked on.
     
  8. swmalone

    swmalone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Northern Utah
    I had the little ones separated in a small chicken tractor at first. Right now the little RIR is in the house recuperating and when we place her back out we will put her in a chicken tractor in the yard so all the others can see her but can't get at her. I want to keep her like that until she is well heeled. The other young one we have is integrating with the 4 older ones. They pick on her, but she runs away so eventually they give up. The RIR would just lay down in the grass and become completely still, this allowed the older ones to just jump on her and be super aggressive. It is a strange combination of her behavior and the aggressive behavior of the older chickens.

    I think I might have to build her some neck and head armor or something. It was just a joke, but after seeing what she looked like after getting scalped it is something I'm seriously considering. I am worried that even after the large section heals that will feathers ever grow back in that area?

    I appreciate all of the suggestions and concern. I think my wife is enjoying having a house chicken.
     
  9. olijo123

    olijo123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2013
    WV
    Feathers should grow back in the injured area. Good Luck and keep us updated!
     

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