Grow Your Own Magazine

Navbar button growfruitandveg.co.uk Logo
Forum Navigation

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 8 of 15
Like Tree18Likes

Thread: New birds not settling

  1. #1
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Durham
    Posts
    249

    Default New birds not settling

    We've got 6 hens we raised from hatched, just coming up towards 1 year old. Been laying 5-6 a day over the summer, maybe 4 in the colder months. Some friends wanted in so we just got 2 new ones, point of lay. They seem healthy and not much smaller than our others - same hybrid variety or very similar.

    But after over a week, they are still not getting along. We introduced them to the coop once the other birds were roosting and the first couple of days, segregated them in a run-within-a-run. But a week later the other birds go for them relentlessly. Not just when they're trying to eat at the same time - if the others are in one corner and a new one starts eating, someone will run over specially to attack them for daring to eat! I never realised how vicious they are, properly hanging on to the back of each other.

    There's no obvious damage but it's a little concerning and also irritating - the new birds spend all day on the high perch and at night just roost there, which I'm concerned is too cold in winter? If I knock them onto the ground they'll stay there a while, getting pecked at, before jumping onto a log or swing away from the others. Every night I have to go into the run and 'post' the new ones into the coop (the old ones have a habit of sleeping in the doorway to stop the door shutting too!)
    We're also down to 2-3 eggs on average a day now.

    I'd read this is common but that it is just for a few days. There is no sign it is improving at all. We got 2 new birds as apparently this is better (the 2 new ones are friendly to each other). We don't have a cock, so what else can we do other than wait it out?
    muck lover likes this.

  2. #2
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is online now Warning!! Contains Nuts
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Sunshiny South Wales
    Posts
    59,511
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg View Post
    .

    We got 2 new birds as apparently this is better (the 2 new ones are friendly to each other).
    2 are better than one but it is recommended that the number of new hens should be greater than the old hens. 6 against 2 is not fair on the new girls.

    If I knock them onto the ground
    Hope you don't mean this.

    Some advice at http://www.bhwt.org.uk/information/m...ing-new-flock/
    Last edited by veggiechicken; 31-01-2018 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Adding link.
    muck lover likes this.
    Make 2019 the Year of Random Seed sowing
    @realveggiechicken

    All we are saying is..........Give seeds a chance.

  3. #3
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Durham
    Posts
    249

    Default

    Interesting, the book we have doesn't make it out to be as tricky as that. Since we already have 6, 13 in total would be way more than we need or could house.

    The new ones are not causing anyone any harm, they just take the abuse and try to get off the ground out of danger, so it seems like they're firmly at the bottom of the order. Since we don't have another run should I just leave them to sit high up and give them a separate food/water supply up there so they can share the same space? It's a reasonably sized run and they are good flyers while the original ones are very lazy so I think any kind of 'mezzanine' would work.
    muck lover likes this.

  4. #4
    Snadger's Avatar
    Snadger is offline Dundiggin
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Durham. Pink Panther territory
    Posts
    23,337

    Default

    A cockerel would sort them out! I have two with a dozen birds and have no bother adding new stock.

    You may need to keep them separated for a while longer, but with fairly large mesh so they can touch each other, but easily retreat if attacked. A secondary makeshift coop may also be necessary.

    It would be interesting to find out how you get on.
    Birdie Wife and muck lover like this.
    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

    Diversify & prosper



  5. #5
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Durham
    Posts
    249

    Default

    I can separate them during the day - I could just put a fence of chicken wire across the run or something. I don't SEE any issues in the coop and having a second seems tricky.

    The other day the two new ones made their own coop by hiding inside a cardboard box as the sun set. It's a bit chilly for that really and I'd rather they were locked safely away at night (for fear of predators rather than people) - though we've tried to make the run secure I prefer not to test it!
    muck lover likes this.

  6. #6
    mrsbusy is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    South Oxfordshire
    Posts
    168

    Default

    It is amazing how mean hens are!
    I have integrated 2 lots to my original flock, and 4 chicks hatched by my broody. I found that you just have to be patient - I did expect trouble so got a second coop and run from Freegle - and kept mine apart; I also had netting to divide up the garden. Eventually they sort themselves out. If your 2 new ones can get up higher to roost they will be fine even if it is cold. My 4 Australorps are big heavy things and like to roost on the lowest perch; the 2 younger hens can get up on the second and third layer of perch and are fine - even the other night when the poop was frozen solid in the morning they seemed fine.
    I found it just takes a really long time to integrate them and even then they just stick together in their cohorts. I did have 2 cockerels from the hatch and the hens were all more tolerant of each other but they did not like the cockerels 'attentions' and spent all day running away and hiding so no time to be mean to each other!!
    4Shoes and muck lover like this.

  7. #7
    d000hg is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Durham
    Posts
    249

    Default

    The other issue is that if all they want to do is perch all day, when are they ever going to lay? The original ones seem to come out for breakfast and a stroll then pop in to lay late morning. I guess the new ones need somewhere they call home - I'm not sure of the physiology if they can choose not to lay or if they simply won't have any eggs TO lay when they're stressed? One of the new ones laid an egg the first morning but then obviously none since.
    muck lover likes this.

  8. #8
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is online now Warning!! Contains Nuts
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Sunshiny South Wales
    Posts
    59,511
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    They're intimidated by the other hens. Why would they want to come down and be pecked - all they want is a bit of peace and quiet to lay their eggs - and they're not getting it.
    Scarlet, fishpond and muck lover like this.
    Make 2019 the Year of Random Seed sowing
    @realveggiechicken

    All we are saying is..........Give seeds a chance.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts