The new girls just don't fit in...

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by damikalu, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. damikalu

    damikalu New Member

    Hi all,

    We have previously had two ladies in our coop and since recent rennovations, I decided to increase our numbers by another two.
    We introduced the new girls on Monday night... but things haven't gone so well. I am sure that it is normal for the new chicks in the coop to settle in but I am worried that they are never going to get there.

    The new girls seem to be too afraid to venture into the open enclosure and hide behind or on top of the nesting box.

    Does anyone have any ideas on either a) how long this behaviour is likely to occur or b) any way that we can speed up the introduction process?

    Any help and ideas would be great!
  2. markhorsley68

    markhorsley68 New Member

    Hi,I've been through this 6 or 7 times this year so far and it gets easier,it's hard to see your once loving hens turn into violent bullies!
    I tend to introduce my new birds at dusk when everyone else is settling Down for the night,the flock seem a little bit more subdued at this time.
    There will be some fighting until the pecking order is established and the new birds have to weather the storm somewhat, I always have anti peck spray on hand to spray on the victims and it does deter them as it tastes disgusting (I've tried it and it does!).
    It helps if you can be around for a while in the morning to break up any attacks and if they manage to draw blood you need to isolate the damaged hen ASAP and treat her wounds with Stockholm tar which will help the wounds heal and keep the rest of the birds off her.
    I try to isolate the new birds in sight of the flock do they still get used to seeing her around otherwise you start from scratch when you re introduce her.
    It'll all work out in the end,you just have to persevere!
    Good luck.

  3. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

    When the older girls are out and about, I put the newbie in the coop to look around and adjust in quiet. Then I let them roam the yard under supervision. Most of the time I'll put them in the mobile coop and put it up next to the run of the main coop. Let them see each other for a day or two. The girls will cue you in. The last 2 I had were determined and fiesty so they made their way in, in just a couple days. My current one was badly pecked by the others she was raised with as chicks. She's super timid. Its been a week now and she's slowly starting to make her way. Last night was her first night in the coop. I let her decide. Chickens will let you know what they want. Normally she would run into the house hot on my heels. Last night she came to me then ran right straight to the coop and waited at the door to be let in. I sit with my newbie's in the coop then for a bit at bedtime. Keeping a spray bottle of water on hand in case one of the older girls goes to peck at the newbie. Its enough to get their attention, they don't associate the water with you, and they do stop pecking. Last night, Lilah was NOT happy with me for having the new girl share her private perch. Ya, Lilah has her own. Anyway, I did hang a divider between the two for the night so Lilah couldn't reach over and peck.

    Its very hard watching your lovely girls work out their pecking order. Unfortunately its a part of nature. I do what I can to make the transition easier. I keep the introductions short and work them up to longer periods of time. Sometimes it only takes a couple days like with my banty I got two weeks ago, sometimes it takes a few months - well in Lilah's case - 6! (I had to get her a buddy and then she finally went in the coop after a couple weeks with her buddy.) Just keep an eye on them which you certainly already are. Watch for their cues. Might need to isolate on occasion but try to keep them in view of each other at those times if you can. They'll work it out. It will just be at their own pace with a bit of help from mom. :)
  4. Roslyn

    Roslyn A Round American Woman

    I like to have a chicken wire separation so that they can see each other, and talk, but not hurt each other. After about 4 or 5 days, then I let them together during the day when the newbies have more room to run away and hide if necessary and then I monitor dusk when they are putting themselves to bed. I only step in during a severe attack if necessary.

    You also may see a clear separation after they work out a pecking order. They may keep themselves separate even a year later, like they are work mates, but not a family. And clicks form in larger groups of 6 and up. You will see the cool girls and the outcasts so to speak. Just like High School!! :)
  5. ScottishThunder

    ScottishThunder Junior Member

    It will get better. I started my coop with two month olds. I had to wait 2 months for my ready-to-lay hens to come. I got four and put then in the coop right away. It was a little rough at first. The four ready-to-lay took over and the month old got picked as the were smaller and more timid. It took about three days for everyone to adjust. After 3 months the 2 little ones are now bigger than the other four and they fit in quite well. The one must know she is bigger as she has no problems defending or taking food when she wants it.
  6. stu-hens

    stu-hens New Member

    Good luck with your new hens...Its an exhausting process especially if you are not home in the day to do anything.

    Some people seem to manage it quite easily but my experience has been very difficult, added 3 pol pullets to my existing 2 year old hybrids and the older hens launched all out attack on them even with the whole garden to run around in they cornered them.It depends on the individual hens i think not the breed.I have an amber star which is meant to be the most friendly docile hen and she is the boss and wont hold back.

    The biggest problem for me was it nearly killed the old girls as they all got ill within 3 days and i nearly lost 2 of them but with advice from people on here have got them back to good health although they are still sneezing,never had any problems before and they were such a happy group so i regret adding to them.
    I think you need alot of space and the ability to separate them if you get trouble.