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Will they ever get along???? Help please!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by telehillco, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. telehillco

    telehillco In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2009
    Front Range, CO
    Our 2 RIR's (1 yr 5 month old; Foghorn & Leghorn) and our newbies--a BR & BO (almost 5 months; Betty & Wilma)--have been "integrated" in the coop for almost a month now, but we're still having issues. While there hasn't been any pecking that has brought blood or injury, the two RIR's chase the younger ones away from everything and try to get them off the roost at night. We free range them in the yard during most of the day and Betty & Wilma used to go into the coop early and get settled, but now one of the older ones goes in there and the younger girls seem to intimidated to even go in the coop. One night after it was dark, we found them hanging out on our deck (where they all spend too much time pooping anyway). Other times, we find the little girls end up sleeping in one of the nest boxes and boy do we hear it in the morning if Foghorn or Leghorn needs to lay an egg and Betty & Wilma are in the nest box! In the morning, while Foghorn & Leghorn will be out in the run before we come out, we often find Betty & Wilma still on the perch; they seem scared to come down while the older girls are still in the run/coop.

    Have any of you had trouble with small flock integration after a month? Will they every gel into one flock? They certainly have seem to have established their pecking order (poor Wilma is at the bottom and Foghorn is at the top), but mostly hang around the yard in "cliques" of two--older and younger.

    We've been managing and intervening when we find it necessary (like to move Wilma or Betty from the nest box to the perch once it's dark), but are about to take a trip for two weeks and I'm worried!! Our neighbors will be caring for the birds, but we want it to be as easy as possible for them. Betty and Wilma should start laying any day now and I don't know if there will be issues with the nest boxes or what will happen.

    Any advice or ideas would be welcome!
  2. Yvonne37894

    Yvonne37894 Songster

    Jul 13, 2009
    Live Oak, FL
    You could try taking the 2 bullies out
    and seperate them from each other for at least 3 days
    When you put them back in, do it after dark,
    so they wake up together.
    Like they have always been together.
    chickens tend to forget after a few days.
    The other side, we had 2 Amereaucana EE that we got ride of because of that.
    No mater what we tried, they would tear the others up.
    good luck
  3. cindy99

    cindy99 Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Tioga County PA
    I am getting ready to put our babies in with our older ones. I am subscribing to this post! Good luck with them - hope it gets better for you. [​IMG]
  4. telehillco

    telehillco In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2009
    Front Range, CO
    Thanks! I read through as many posts as I could find here before we did the integration. Here was our "protocol" (more or less).

    1. We fenced off half of the run and made a "mini-coop" for the little ones when it was time for them to move outside. They were separate, but visible from the older two for probably about six weeks.

    2. When they were getting to be a similar size to the older ones, we started phase II. We locked up the older girls and let the young ones out to roam the yard and get to know the place. We probably did this every day to every other day for a week.

    3. We "attempted" to put the little girls into the big coop with the older girls at night once they were all sleeping. It was a total failure. The little ones were squirmy and so we bailed.

    3b. In the morning we just removed the fence that divided the coop after we had let the big girls out. This seemed to work. The first night (maybe two) the little ones went back to their mini-coop to roost. By the third night, they joined the big ones in the big coop and we took the little coop away. The little ones did try to roost in the nest boxes early on and for a while we were closing off the nest boxes to everyone at night, but it meant that someone had to get up early and take away the barrier in case our older girls wanted the use of the nest box.

    I thought we had done well, but lately it seems like we've regressed.

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