When can integration be considered a success?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chezpoulet, May 11, 2011.

  1. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    I have a small coop, so when we lost one chicken to a coyote, we acquired a blue wheaten Ameraucana (26 wks old). We have a flock of 4 (23 weeks old) who have been together since they were chicks.

    After a 30 day quarantine, our new pullet Muffin sat in a second tractor next to the flock for a while. Started putting them in the same run for a few days with a fence separating Muffin from the rest of the flock, but Muffin forced the integration issue when she jumped the fence to go lay her egg in the coop twice in a row, so we actually ended up putting her in the coop at night earlier than we intended. Fast forward to a week later: Muffin no longer gets sat on and attacked by all the chickens.

    I built a bigger tractor that is 8 x 8 for them to range in the yard when I am at home. Muffin still gets chased intermittently by the others, and gets pecked at but it is no longer where I fear for her safety.

    The question is this: are they eventually going to get along, or is this situation the best I can hope for for the lone Muffin? She is so traumatized by the initial attack that she would freak whenever one of the flock ventures towards her, and most of the time they were not even interested in pecking her. When they are out of the tractor foraging and turning up dirt, Muffin would stay a safe distance away, and in fact would choose to hang out with the humans. When she roosts at night, she would wait till the flock gets comfortable, then venture out of the nesting box where she hides to fly up to the roost, but she is again separated ( we have a T-shaped roost) from the flock.

    I caught her squeezing into the nesting box with Tiny, our sex link, the other day, but I still see Tiny pecking her a few times a day, so it is not as if Tiny is now all chummy with her.

    As far as the chicken world goes, would this be a success story, should I give them a little more time, or should I feel really bad about putting Muffin into a situation where she is constantly in fear of the flock that she is forced into sharing her existence with? She is laying 3-4 eggs week so far, so I imagine she is not that stressed. I just hate seeing her being ostracized. OK I am anthropomorphizing a little.

    What do you all think?
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Sounds like she's just lowest on the totem pole. Somebody has got to fill that role in the flock.
    If it were me, as long as she wasn't being outright attacked and as long as she's doing chicken things every day, albeit separated by her own will....I'd let her stay with them.

    I have 2 SF bantams that I keep separated from the main flock, because they are so meek that even though they've never been injured, when the others peck at them they literally HIDE all day long.... I guess forever if I didn't come get them. They don't go out and do chicken things separated from the rest, but spend their ENTIRE day hiding from the others - so I keep them separated. I have 2 younger pullets that don't "hang" with the rest of the standard sized flock (yet anyway) but they just chill together and do their own thing apart from the others, probably like your hen does. Since they are living their own little life, instead of hiding all day, they stay with the group.
  3. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    All but one of my girls were from Ideal. I added a Chicken Stock bought, half bantie a few years after the original 5.
    They have been all together in the coop run fro over a year now and my "queen" chook still goes at her now and then. Much less than prior.. but still.
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I added one domonique pullet to my flock of 10 RIR pullets & one RIR cock. It was a real struggle for her. But the roo took care of her & still protects her from a few of the now hens. She lays everyday & is definitely a part of the flock. Yes she & one other are on the bottom. But at least she has a home & a boyfriend. Shes always the last one to go in the coop to roost every night & usually the first out to free range everyday. I didn't mention that she was a rescued chicken that came from the city & now lives on a farm. I almost gave up on her but I've always liked her. Guess, I felt sorry for her.
  5. Wizbop

    Wizbop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2010
    Greensboro, NC
    I am in a similar situation as you. We brought a country chick into our city flock and she's whooping up on them. I don't really know how to handle it. She's layed claim on our yard, the coop, the food, etc. I feel bad for our "low on the totem pole" girl. Both of my existing birds are walking around with scabs on them and they are still getting attacked daily. I don't know how long to let this go on, either. They don't want to get in the coop with her. I might be posting about this soon. I hope you get your situation worked out.
  6. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    I guess Muffin is OK in the grand scheme of things- she is the sweetest of all the chickens- despite the fact that we actually raised the flock from chicks. It is her sweet docile nature that causes her to be picked on- she won't defend herself and just runs away. Luckily we get to let them free range for a few hours each day under supervision when I get home, so she gets to have a break from perching on a branch in the run watching the flock from up high. At least she is no longer hiding in the nesting box or coop all day long!
  7. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    You can try separating one the the "flock" along with Muffin...if you have the facilities. They become a pair and reintroduce as a pair rather than just one. On the other hand, it can take up to 6 weeks (thinking worse case scenario) before everything settles out when new one(s) are added.
  8. kano

    kano Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    I always have this issue when I return the broodies, to their coop, once they are finished their labor.....[​IMG]
    Clara , one of my latest broodies that has the problem of the reintroduction. Because she hasn't have a "strong personality", her return to the coop, has been difficult. She is peck even for the 6 hens who were below her in the social status. Another different thing happen with Henrietta, who is a little bossy and she doesn't need to be hiding in the corners.....
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  9. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    I think I will have to let Muffin tough it out- it is not feasible to try to have her go through integration twice- thanks for the suggestion though- I was thinking of adding another easter egger or Ameraucana with a similar temperament, but knowing my luck (or Muffin's) she will also dominate! So as long as MUffin is able to free range everyday for a couple hours and stays out of harm, I think they will have to co-exist. The pecking I am seeing now is more chasing and posturing .....

    Good to know that I am not the only one out there who tried to integrate just one chicken instead of a group that is often advised....
  10. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    I put 11 chicks in a fenced in area of the coop with my 8 older pullets. Most of these chicks had been hatched by one of the pullets. I eventually got them integrated and after harvesting out a few roosters ended up with the 8 original girls and 5 of the chicks. Four of the chicks are White Rocks and have nothing to do with the other girls except run when they get chased. They'll never be all cuddly and cozy with each other. The girls sit on the roost board and the White Rocks roost on the nest boxes. The only other hen from the original chicks is a cross between a White Rock and Silver Sebright. She gets picked on by the girls but tolerates it, rosts with them, and generally mingles along nicely.

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