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Thread: New birds not settling

  1. #9
    Scarlet's Avatar
    Scarlet is online now O'Hara
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    They need a separate run and hutch for several weeks, and to be run alongside this flock until they are happy - usually in my experience, several months.....I'm not sure what book you read?
    Eggs aren't important here - your chickens are too frightened to lay eggs and won't lay until the balance is addressed.
    If you can't supply what is really required (seperate coop and run) you need to put several things in place.....seperate day run or at least several feeding and water stations. Until the balance is upset again I would be surprised if these hens will ever have peace, when they start getting heavily picked on it becomes a habit.
    You could try distractions, hanging veg, mirrors etc but ideally you need another run in place.
    Last edited by Scarlet; 31-01-2018 at 11:34 PM.
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  2. #10
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
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    Thanks. A separate coop is a problem but I can keep them segregated the rest of the time now I realise it's important.

  3. #11
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
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    So 3 weeks on and now 5 weeks since we got the birds, and not much has changed:

    I built a little 'mezzanine' high up in the run with separate food and water and the two new ones exclusively spend their time there; the old ones never go up there... the new ones seem much more inclined to fly.
    The new ones try to roost there but I put them in the coop every night hoping they'll get the message.

    In this pattern, there is seemingly no fighting or stress. When I put them in the coop together they all seem happy and in the morning when I let them out, they come out happily and unruffled. I've noticed one of the new ones is always 3rd/4th out while the other is always last out... do they exit in pecking order?

    The one who comes out earlier will sometimes come into the main run for a minute or two but will fly up to the mezzanine even if she's not getting any bother. The other one will not put one foot in the run if possible... she scoots down the ramp after the others vacate the coop and then flies immediately to her own bit, high up.

    So, now what?
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  4. #12
    Birdie Wife's Avatar
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    Maybe you could try separating a couple of the more aggressive birds away from the rest - that would give the new (not so new now) birds a bit more breathing space? They sound like they've found a compromise that suits them though, and you say there has been no more fighting so I would be tempted just to let them get on with it.
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    Dwell simply ~ love richly

  5. #13
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
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    I don't mind them self-segregating except it means every day I to go and give the new ones their water and food in small bowls which they inevitably knock over... the run has a large feeder and drinker (bucket) so normally we just have to open/close the coop and that's it. Also I have to go in (in the dark) every evening to grab the new ones from about 7 feet up and post them into the coop as I'm not happy them roosting in the run all night - this is a bit mucky and they're only just in reach!

    I hadn't thought about segregating the bullies rather than the bullied, could be worth a try.
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  6. #14
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    They need enough space in the run to get away from the original hens. They need a place to leg it to when attacked. They need their own food and water dispensers not bowls of food and water and they need to be at the opposite end of the run from the original hens food and drink. Yes you will have to put them in at night until they start to get on...

    Sounds as though you might not have done quite enough prep before they arrived. We have an 8'x6' run with a purpose built coop inside for up to 12 hens. We kept the original commercial run and coop combo and whenever we rehouse some ex battery hens we leave them in the old coop/run combo for a good few weeks. It's right next to the big run so the old and new chooks can see each other and get used to each other without having contact. I will let the old chooks out of their run and they will peck at the mesh of the small run with the new chicks and try and get at them through the bars. After 2-3 weeks separated I will let them all out into the garden (new chooks first then the old ones) and hang around for a while to separate any particularly vicious pecking order behaviour - so a nice day on a weekend is perfect when there are other jobs to do in the garden.

    They will then go back in their own coops over night until the daytime aggression has subsided. Then one night I will put the new birds in the old coop. During the day I leave food in the small coop/run and leave them out to roam together so there's always space to run away and multiple sources of food... This works a treat. Sure they're still mean to each other but it's minimal but it will continue for months at a low level whenever someone higher up the order wants to remind a lower bird where they rank. It's natural!!!
    Last edited by Stan79; 27-02-2018 at 10:57 PM.

  7. #15
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
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    The 'mezzanine' definitely helps except because it's high up, they just fly up there and sit there all day - I don't think they come down once they're up whereas in a bigger run they might get chased but have room to hide. It's something like a 10'x10' run (2.5m high) for 8 birds.

    Interestingly one of the new birds appears mid-way up the order now - at least in the order they leave the coop in the morning which is very consistent. But still flies up high with the other new one.

    Letting them out is a good idea if the weather wasn't the way it is

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