Sunday, March 18, 2012

Operation final integration has commenced

Tonight, we begin the final phase of integrating the babies in with the adults.  Ginger has slowly begun to accept the babies.  I'm really pleased with the progress we've made.  Sometimes, I get frustrated because things are going so slowly, but then I reminder myself, the babies are just 15 weeks old and that most people don't even start this process until their babies are 16 weeks old.

Regardless, the babies are still terrified of Ginger.  And with good reason, she still goes after them.  She did so several time in front of me today.  It's so frustrating.  I don't want to have to put a pepper on her.

I fear we've hit a plateau.  The babies still sleep in their dog crate, the adults in the hen house.  At some point, we've got to break this and create one big happy family.  Especially, as we get close to the babies becoming pullets and laying eggs.  I want them to be comfortable laying eggs in the house in the nest boxes so getting them in there is key for me.

And because we've gone back into a cold pattern and received quite a bit of rain over the weekend.  The back end of the dog crate took on water and now the sand inside is wet.  Which means it's cold.  And that can't be good.

Current photo of the babies.  They are a tight bunch.  They love to hang out on top of the mini hen house I bought.
Kind of an expensive perch but as long as it's getting used for something, I won't complain.  I did weigh one and she's 3.25 lbs.  One more pound and they'll be as big as Ginger.  Hopefully, they'll find their "beak" too and give her a good peck back.  After all, there are three of them and just one of Ginger.  They need to figure that out.

It's tough to see but this is that green plastic fencing you can buy at the hardware store.  I had a roll of it.  So I've divided the hen house in half.  I'll have to put the babies in as they won't be able to get in through the pop door.  And I'm hoping that this will help with integration since they can all see and smell each other but not get to each other.

This is the view from inside the pop door.  Unfortunately, this set up blocks Coco's access from her favorite nest box.  So I put two fake eggs in the middle one and filled it up with shavings and some more Nesting Box Blend to entice her to lay there.

And of course a photo of my sweet Coco running her beak and telling me that these changes are upsetting.
It took me a while to come up w/ this.  I've read that mixing up the roosting situation is a great way to help bring in newbies to an existing flock.  But I didn't want to remove my permanent roosting bar.  I'd have no way of putting it back up.  So I simply covered the top of my house with cardboard to give the illusion that it's now solid.

And then I added a mesh divider to the house and put in a temporary roosting bar on either side.

I like this idea better than a solid wall dividing the coop because I want them to visually get used to each other.  My hope is that after a week or so, I can create a small opening and that the babies can get in through the pop door and put themselves to bed.

The way it's set up now, I'll need to tuck them into their half of the house via the big clean out door.  And maybe I can leave that open in the future for them to access.  But not for tonight.  It's going to be confusing enough for them.

Sunset isn't for two more hours but I'll continue to check up on everyone.  It's going to be a confusing night out there.  Worse case, I'll pull out the adults and put them into the dog crate.  But I really hate to do that to them.


  1. That's so sad they aren't getting along. I have introduced my chicks as young as 6 weeks old. Most recently a young cockerel at 8 weeks, along with his two ducklings (same age). They all know their place, and are never ganged up on.

    I have eleven chicks that I will integrate as soon as I feel they are bigger than my smallest chicken (silkie). Probably around 7 weeks old. 8 Weeks old is the best age to do it.

    They sure are getting cute though!

  2. Sadly, I thought it'd be going better at this point. I'm really struggling. I know my house is a tad on the small side for the number of birds I have. But I've seen much smaller. If I knew that a bigger house would resolve all these issues, I'd order one up in a heart beat. I'm that tired. So we'll keep at it.

  3. Thank you. I'm so frustrated. And to add insult to injury, someone just forwarded me a note that someone a few cities over, their chickens were poisoned. I don't think I could go on if that happened to my babies. I'm just sick right now. I'm really at my breaking point.

  4. I think that a bigger coop would indeed solve a lot of issues. My lower on the pecking order girls sleep in a separate place altogether. The fight over roosting position is the worst part of the day for the underdogs.

    I hope things will settle down! I know my roosters really help with this.

    Oh and that's awful about the poisoning! I would just die!!

  5. Oh and this is Aoxa by the way :P