Will they get on??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shell25, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. shell25

    shell25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi
    To cut along story short we purchased what we thought was 3 pullets about 3 weeks ago i had my suspisions one was a roo which was confirmed yesterday when he was mounting another chick, we quickly got him in a box and returned him to seller who gladly swapped him for a she (hope so), anyway when we got back last night we introuduced her to my other 2 pullets and they were fine had something to eat had and a roam around the run and then went up into the coop and all snuggled together on one purch never heard anything more from them.

    Went to let them out in the run why i did the school run this morning and they were fine again the new one came out in the run for a while then returned back to the coop, just heard abit of commotion and my other 2 pullets were chasing and getting abit nasty with her, they are now locked in the coop why the new 1 as a roam of the run and some food and water.

    Is it always going to be like this or will they learn to get on, i think they are around 11 weeks and the new 1 abit younger as she is smaller than them? Is it right to keep tem seperated for a little while or will this just make them want to pick on her more?

    After ive picked my little boy up from nursery im going to let them free range so hopefully they might bond abit better.

    What are your thoughts anyone had the same problem?

    Help & advice greatly appreciated.
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    You are seeing the pecking order in action. Try to stay uninvolved as much as is possible. Monitor the birds for signs of injury, but as long as there's no blood and everyone is allowed to eat and drink, let them do their thing. They will get it hashed out much more quickly and the flock will settle down. Good luck.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Totally agree. It's just pecking order stuff. Just like cattle in a herd or wolves in a pack, chickens are social animals that have a certain social status. They need to know who is more dominant so they know who gets the best sleeping spot, who decides which way they are going when they are out roaming around, or any other perks of being more dominant. It's what enables them to stay in a group peacefully, but sometimes establishing that pecking order can be pretty violent. From what you described, it did not seem too bad with yours. If you do see blood, then you need to intervene. That means separate the injured chicken until it heals. But if you don't see blood, I just let them go. They are going ot sort it out, so let them.

    There are a few things you can do to possibly make it go a little smoother. If you can set it up, if you house them next to each other but where they can see each other but can't get to each other to fight, it may go smoother. They'll probably look like they are ignoring each other, but they do notice. Maybe throw some scratch or other treats on the ground where they are eating next to each other but still separated by the fence. There will probably still be some pecking after doing this but sometimes it is less.

    I suggest having two separate feeding and water locations for a few days. Chickens are bullies and are territorial. The dominant ones will keep a weaker one away from the food and water while they are going through this process. Extra food and water locations lessens the conflict and makes sure the new chicken does not go hungry or thirsty.

    Letting them out together to free range is great. If the weaker one has plenty of room to get away, they'll sometimes do a lot of chasing but not a lot of catching. I'd let them sleep together, but for the first week or so, I'd be sure to open the pop door early so they are not trapped in there together and the young one can get away if the others start picking on it. You'll probably find your dominant ones on the ground first but the weaker one stays on the roosts so it is more out of the way.

    People successfully add chickens to their flocks all the time. Sometimes there are problems, but it usually works out. Good luck!
     
  4. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    I basically have two "flocks" right now. When I got the newer chickens, I kept them separated from the ones I already had to make sure the new ones did not have any illnesses. Once I had kept them separated and the new ones weren't sick, I started letting them free range together. It has been a few weeks of letting them do that and they are slowly integrating with each other during free range. I haven't put them all together yet mainly because neither coop is big enough for all of them. I am building a new coop and when that is done I am hoping that the integration will be pretty smooth. I know there will be some pecking order issues but I am hoping that there won't be any blood since they seem to be getting along OK free ranging. IMO it usually goes better if you can integrate with lots of room and let them get aquainted before putting them all together. Some people have had good luck introducing them at night by putting the new chicken(s) on the roost with the established flock and then in the morning they seem not to notice the new ones as much.
     
  5. shell25

    shell25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
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    Thankyou for your comments, they are free ranging at the moments and the first 2 i got are doing there own thing and the new one is wondering around lonely. Ill keep an eye on them and hopefully they will learn to get a long.

    Will it have upset them that the roo as now been removed?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I would not call it upsetting them. The flock dynamics have changed so they will go through a short period of adjusting both the pecking order and flock dominance roles. These are somewhat different things. Don't be too shocked to see one of your pullets acting a bit more like a rooster, watching out for hawks, maybe finding the othersd food food and letting the others eat first. Some people even have hens try to crow. It's not a big deal if it happens. She'll still lay eggs.

    Since they are readjusting anyway, it is probably a pretty good time to add the third pullet. They will learn to get along and start hanging out together. Chickens take a while to adjust to any change.
     

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