What to do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ilovejesus, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Ilovejesus

    Ilovejesus Chirping

    Jul 3, 2017
    NE Missouri
    I have 9 chickens that were babies and now almost ready to/are laying. We have had them go into the barn since mom left them at 5 weeks. Well now we want them to go to the chicken coop with the rest of the chickens, what is the best way to make them go to sleep in there instead of the barn. The older chickens don’t mind them as they both free range together. Can we just leave them all in the chicken coop for a couple of days with food and water in there? We do have a run but we have ducks in there and the chickens would fly over.
  2. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    The older ones may tolerate the younger ones when free ranging but being confined to a "smaller" area (coop) maybe another issue. You could try see if the younger ones will follow the older ones into the coop but have read that "integrating" should be done "See but no touch". Put the younger ones in the coop in a wire cage with food & water, or separated with wire so the older ones can't injure them, or just make alot of hiding place that the younger ones can hide from the older ones if need be.

    I'm no expert at intergrating, too chicken to try :rolleyes: I'm limited to 4 - 6 so I just change them out & start all over.
  3. Ilovejesus

    Ilovejesus Chirping

    Jul 3, 2017
    NE Missouri
    We locked them together for a few hours in the morning for a couple of days, they all seemed ok when we let them out. They jump on the highest nest boxes if they want to get away also the roosts. They don’t follow then in the coop they just go to their “house.” ( the barn) I guess I’ll just try locking them in there all day and night with food and water and see what happens. I hope they will learn that is their house. There are three roosters with the 9 right now, if we culled them will the girls do better to integrate and learn better to go in the coop at night?
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    You'll need to make their 'old house' inaccessible, so they can't go back in there. Removing the males would probably make everyone happier. Hopefully you have plenty of space in the main coop/run for all other birds, integration works best with extra space....and a separate roost for the younger birds always helps.

    Some of these tips might help.....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    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.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
    ChickNanny13 and Ilovejesus like this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't know how big your coop is, how it is laid out inside (especially roosts), or how many total birds you have. The larger the coop the easier this usually is. Since they are Point Of Lay but not yet laying I'll guess they are about 4 to 5 months old. I don't know what will happen when you put them in the main coop but do not expect them to sleep on the roosts with the older birds. They might, with living animals anything can and sometimes does happen, but mine hardly ever do at that age. At that age, mine tend to find another safe place to spend the night. That might be your nests, it might not. If it is your nests get back with us and we can discuss fixes.

    It sounds like they have been ranging together during the day for a few months so they are fully integrated. I don't know how much they mingle during the day, I'd suspect they form a sub-flock and kind of stay separated from the older ones but may mingle some. But they still rank at the bottom of the pecking order. At night when they are sleeping is when you are most likely to see this separation.

    What I'd expect to happen when you lock them in there is that the young ones will sleep someplace other than on the roosts at night. The next morning when they wake up I'd expect to find the young ones on the roosts or some other place that it is difficult for the older ones to get to them and peck them. If your coop is big enough and the roosts are high enough they will find their own solution.

    I don't know what to tell you about the cockerels. Mine of that age do not cause a disruption when they sleep in the main coop with the adults but mine are in sleeping in there a lot earlier than that age. Some cockerels that age even sleep on the main roosts with the hens and older rooster. I don't know what your long term plans are for the cockerels. If they are going to stay with the flock I'd stick them in there with the pullets and see what happens. It may work out fine, it may be a disaster, I don't know which. If you are going to remove them now is probably a good time so the flock only goes through one pecking order type disruption.

    If I were in you position and it was fairly easy to pick them off the roosts in the barn after it was dark I'd wait until dark and lock them in the main coop overnight. Then be down there at the crack of dawn to see to open the pop door and see how it is going. If you can I'd lock them out of the barn, that's not always easy. They may return to the main coop to sleep the next night, they may try to go back to that barn. If they do go back there, keep locking them in the main coop after dark until they get the message. My set-up is different from yours but that's the approach I use, usually on 12 week old brooder raised chicks, not ones as old as yours.

    If it is challenging to catch them after dark and your coop is big enough I'd probably build a pen in the main coop and lock them in there for a few days, maybe as much as a week. Let your older ones continue to free range disrupt them as little as possible. When you let them out they should return to the main coop to sleep. If not, do it again.

    Since they can fly out of your run you can't lock them all (young and old) in the coop and run. If your coop is big enough you can try leaving them locked in there day and night for a few nights. That's the last thing I'd try even with a fairly large coop. The young are likely to spend all day on the roosts away from the adults and may have problems getting food and water.

    With broody-raised chicks I avoid this problem as my broody hens keep their chicks in the main coop overnight until they wean them. Then I let the chicks continue to sleep in the main coop on their own. I've had broody hens wean their chicks as young as three weeks and this worked fine. But my coop size and layout and my management techniques are likely to be different from yours. This may not work for everyone. We all have to find our own solution.
    ChickNanny13 likes this.

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