Trouble introducing 3 yr old hen to 9 week old pullets

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenlady1150, May 6, 2016.

  1. chickenlady1150

    chickenlady1150 Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a flock of chickens that had to be relocated last year due to a tree that had to be cut down. Their coop and run had to be torn down to get the tree out so my cousin adopted the flock. I went to visit a few weeks ago and when I saw my favorite bird, Betty Boop, it made me cry. She is a Whiting Wellsummer Hybrid and is so beautiful. I picked her up and it was as if we had never been separated. My cousin decided that when we got the coop and run put back together she would send Betty Boop home with me.

    Well in the mean time we got a new flock of chicks that are now 9 weeks old. We went and got Betty Boop and upon introducing her to the new flock she has become quite aggressive. She was keeping the babies from the food and water so we set up another waterer and feeder on the opposite end of the run with a blind in front of it so that Betty can't see them unless she goes over there. She is also chasing them out if the coop after they have roosted for bed at night. The coop is not big enough to separate them and I don't have another coop to put Betty in.

    I am at a loss and I'm hoping that this is a short lived situation that will calm down but I'm not so sure what to do in the mean time. I hate the thought of taking her back to my cousin but I can't have her being a bully either. Can anyone tell me if this is normal and if it will work itself out in time? My research says it's normal and will settle down in a week or two but watching it is really difficult and painful. When we had the old flock she was the boss for sure and is quite dominant in nature.

    The new 9 week old flock is made up of 2 Barred Rocks, 2 RIR's, 2 Austrolorps. and 1 ISA Brown. We also have 3 more Whiting Wellsummer Hybrids inside that are only 3 weeks old. I am nervous about introducing them and this starting all over again.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. Fuzzyrules

    Fuzzyrules Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
    Try keeping them very busy. Maybe hang lettuce heads from the run high enough that she has to work to get them and that ought to help.
     
  3. Fuzzyrules

    Fuzzyrules Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
    Also try letting them out in the yard together.
     
  4. chickenlady1150

    chickenlady1150 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate it very much. I'll let you know how things go...
     
  5. Fuzzyrules

    Fuzzyrules Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok. Good luck.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC @chickenlady1150 !

    Do you have a wire dog crate?
    Excellent tool for a chicken keeper, I strongly suggest you get one...or two.

    It's really best to set up separate but adjacent pens for integrating birds.
    How big(feet by feet) is your coop and run?
    Pics would really help us to come up with a solution.

    Your avatar is super cool!....is that a borrowed pic or something you made?......I love miniature models!

    What is this Whiting Wellsummer Hybrid?
    Never heard of them but love my Wellies.
     
  7. chickenlady1150

    chickenlady1150 Out Of The Brooder

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    The avatar is a miniature of my coop that my Mom made. It was my Christmas present the year I got my first flock. She made it without seeing the coop, not even pictures, and nailed it. My husband gave her the dimensions and colors and she made it from there. I will try and post pictures of the coop and run. The coop is 6x8 feet and sits 4 feet off the ground with a ladder. There are 3 nest boxes and 3 roost bars with play sand and sweet PDZ on the floor for easy clean up. The food and water is underneath so it's protected from the weather. The run is 20x30 feet and has an 8 ft fence around it with poultry netting over the top. We have a few Red Tail Hawks that love to hunt chickens. We also have coons and foxes so letting them free range the yard is a bad idea. We almost lost a few from my last flock to the hawks.

    I should have checked here before I brought her home but didn't. If I had I would have known I needed to keep her separated at first. Now I know for the next batch. The other thing that concerns me now is that I have 3 more Welly hybrids in the house that are only 3 weeks old so it will start all over again when they go out... Obviously I have to figure something out for them.

    First thing in the morning she's quite nasty and chases them around the run but then things seem to calm down. I do have a small round fence that is 6 feet across I could put in the run to separate them during the day. I would have to build a cover for it though so she wouldn't get wet, it's monsoon season here and rains every day. My husband and I will talk about that today.

    I also have a small dog crate I could put her in at night that will fit inside the coop and maybe that will help with the bedtime/morning issues. The first night she was here she put them all to bed and everything was fine but that was the last night of peace we've had. At night she is always the last to go to bed so after the babies are all in and settled she goes in and chases them all back out. The last 2 nights I have shut the door after the babies have gone in and then when she's ready I set her on her roost and she leaves them alone until morning. The last 2 mornings when I opened up the coop all the babies were hiding in the nest boxes and Betty was up on the top roost. The first morning I wasn't sure if she chased them in there or if they went in due to the severe thunder and hail storms but last night was calm and quiet so it had to be when she woke up. The nest boxes are covered with curtains so they were kind of hidden from her sight.

    I am really beginning to think she would be better off at my cousins but then I think I just need to give it time and they'll sort it out.

    The hybrid comes from Whiting Farms Inc in Delta Colorado and they were developed for the rooster feathers used in fly tying for fishing flies. I will try and post some pics of her and the coop and run today. She is so beautiful and lays very large dark brown eggs with spots. When she first started growing I thought for sure we had a roo because she developed a huge comb and wattles but she turned out to be the best hen in my flock, until now that is [​IMG]. She is very loving and affectionate towards people and was the protector of the flock. She was always the first up and would check the perimeter when she got out, then she was the last to bed and would check the perimeter before going to bed. Any time there was a hawk, cat, or any other threat she would gather all the girls up and shoo them into the coop. I thought it would be good to have her teach these ones but it's not working out so well... sigh... [​IMG]

    I am feeling so conflicted and not sure what to do. The first night she was back home it was great and I actually sat at the back door and cried happy tears as I watched her put the babies to bed and settle in. But then, the honeymoon was over and poop hit the fan. I'll give it a few more days and try the small dog crate and fencing her off and if that doesn't work she'll have to go back.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think this is a good sign "....First thing in the morning she's quite nasty and chases them around the run but then things seem to calm down. ...."
    I'd just give it more time and use the dog crate for time outs for her if she draws blood and/or pins and beats a chick.

    11 birds in a 6x8 coop is going to be tight, especially come winter when they may be coop bound due to weather.
    If your run was solid covered it might help with space issues.
    How does the poultry netting over run hold up to your snow loads?
    I have some ideas but will wait until you post pics of the setup.

    The model is exquisitely crafted, kudos to your moms.
     
  9. chickenlady1150

    chickenlady1150 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2015
    Colorado
    We have installed a fence inside the run to isolate Betty Boop and it has everything she needs in it. Food, water, nest box, shade, etc. I spoke with my cousin today and she said she'd be happy to take Betty back if she doesn't chill out. We'll give her a few days and if things aren't better she'll go back. Here are the pictures of the coop and run and one of Betty Boop.

    [​IMG] Front of coop and door to run area.

    [​IMG] Back of coop, water, nest boxes.

    [​IMG] Pano of inside. Nest boxes with curtains on the left, ladder roost in center, and roost on the right.

    [​IMG] Betty's isolation box at night works really well. We'll use this for the little ones when they first go out.

    [​IMG] Back doors give lots of room to clean up. Sand in the bottom mixed with sweet PDZ.

    [​IMG] Ladder and door.

    [​IMG] Underneath the coop, PVC water pipe wrapped in heat tape and insulation with gorilla tape to keep them from eating the insulation. We installed submersible fish tank heaters to keep it from freezing in the winter months.

    [​IMG] The feeder hangs under the coop as well to protect it from rain.

    [​IMG] Larger part of the run for the babies, not done yet but all closed in with netting on top. The coop is just to the right of the picture.

    [​IMG] The isolation part of the run for Betty Boop. We will keep this set up after she goes back for the 3 week old chicks I have inside when they are ready to mingle. The run is 20' x 30' which gives them a good amount of space. We let them in the yard for a little bit in the evenings before they go to bed but can't let them out all day due to hawks.

    [​IMG] This is my pretty Betty Boop. She is the Whiting Wellsummer Hybrid and I'm so glad I have 3 more of these. They are only 3 weeks old yet. I will certainly miss her but I really feel it's best for her and the others if she goes back and is with her flock that she knows.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It could take more than a few days...more like a few weeks.


    "....she goes back and is with her flock that she knows...."
    Thing is, she's been gone long enough that they won't 'know' each other, and there could well be integration problems there too.
    But maybe they have facilities more conducive to
    integration there.

    Best of cLuck whatever you decide.
     

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