failed introducement 5 new chickens: was a disaster, please help

Discussion in 'Behavior & Flock Management' started by mellinda, May 14, 2017.

  1. mellinda

    mellinda New Member

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    Hello

    Could somebody please give me some advice?
    A year after the death of my sweet and last chicken, we decided to buy some new chickens.
    We bought friday 3 big race chickens: a "mechelse koekoek", "bleu de landes" and a harco.
    Also, we bought one silky - my little sweety.
    The introduction in the big barn went totally chaotic.

    They did not do anything else then picking, scratching, biting and putting their weight on one another. Then they saw the silky. The poor thing had to undergo the same for more than 4 hours from all three at the same time, she was exhausted. I pulled her away from the group and brought her inside. She's still in our kitchen at the moment. The same day we went to get a companion, another silky for her, because we felt sorry she was treated so mean by the big ones. We let that one also running in the kitchen.
    That same day, we discovered her companion was sick and my mom's new chicken blue de landes also.
    They got worse every hour and Saturday we went to the vet. Thank heavens they are all doing allright now, still a bit ill but what a inprovement.

    Two of the three big chickens have made peace. But my mom's ill chicken -while she is far the biggest...- is still being picked on nasty in her tail. We tried spraying some deo, but it was only effective for a half day.

    The silkies were friends from day on. But... Now there's trouble...
    One is a smaller silky specimen and will never get big, while the other is the normal big silky - sorry, don't know the names in English... They were friends from day one. But the big one is showing some exhausting behaviour that exhausts my little silky. She's almost twice as big as mine, and wants CONSTANTLY to crawl under her. Ofcourse my silky looses ballance if she has her under her tiny body. Every step she puts, her comrade is there. Often crawling over the floor sigh... to get again under her hair/feathers... Every time she does it, she seems to gently make some soft singing sound. my small silky does not appreciate it and walks away but doesnt do anything particular to keep her companion away. It's exhausting even for us looking at it, in a duration of 5 hours she only got 20 min's rest.
    The silkies eat together very well and drink together out of our small bowl.
    We don't dare to introduce them to the big ones again , because now my small silkie is sick - got it from the big one-...

    Is there somebody who knows how i can let them live together? We really do need them to be put in the same chicken barn and walk in and out all through the same automatic door we're going to install... We can't let them inside the barn if we are on a vacation, would'nt be very humane. And we got preadators lingering outside...

    Yours sincerely

    Mellinda
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind SuperModerator Staff Member

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    If they are not drawing blood, I would give it some more time. If they are 2 silkies I am pretty sure they will get along soon. Maybe she thinks she's a chick, or looking for protection? I even have 5 boys living together! Silkies are also frequently picked on. I have 5 different separate groups because of who needs protection.
     

  3. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I keep the old and new separated but they can see each other.After a few weeks I turn the new loose for a little while and see what happens.I do this for a few weeks until everybody knows everybody then I start the new with transitioning to the coop.Chickens pick on each other,it's called"the pecking order".Some hens are at the top of the order,some at the bottom. As long as they are not causing serious injuries to each other they will probably work it out.Good luck!!!
     
  4. mellinda

    mellinda New Member

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    Thank you Seminolewind and Chickenqueen for your replies.
    I tried working on the introducement today.
    We put the big three chickens outside in a small fenced area and the two little ones in a smaller fenced area next to them. Then we introduced everything except the "mechelse koekoek". It went lovely.
    We put them out again, and put the "mechelse koekoek" in: she went again for my small silkie her hair and plucked with her toes all hair out on top of her head. We even had to infere with a stick, she wouldnt let go of her.
    After, the big chicks copied the behaviour and went after her companion.
    So we put each one of them back after their own fence.
    With the "learn walking through the door class", we let the little ones have a try while the big chickens were eating grass.
    They got along for an hour. Finally, we were thinking. The blue de landes and the harco did a move like they wanted to pick but didnt pick eventually on them.
    But then... Yey... That "mechelse koekoek"... She let the little ones graze next to her.
    Suddenly without warning, she picked again on my small silkie: she was crying while the bigger chicken didnt let go.
    I couldn't seperate them, eventually i managed with a stick to pull the big one off, her entire beak full of hairs of my little sweety... She ran to her comrade. But then, as soon as the other chickens saw that, every one of them attacked the little ones immediatly...
    We pulled them away again... Note: they could approach or even do their toilet wing to wing before that little "brad" started attacking her...
    Also, while outside the entire day, the bigger silky one crawled only two times underneath the small silky.
    If the small silky can't see her, she runs to her answering and falling over her feet haha :D if it aint going fast enough, she tries to fly, but she can't :eek: if she's with her, they're cuddling. So sweet to see.
    Is it an idea to grab the "mechelse koekoek", hold her and holding the two silkies and let them step on her back softly for saying "the little ones are the boss"? or? still be patient? Thank you
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind SuperModerator Staff Member

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    I don't know. Chickens like to gang up on eachother. Especially small ones.
     
  6. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe keep the more aggressive hen separated for a while .Maybe the silkies and other hens can get along better if the MK is not present.If she won't cooperate,put her in solitary confinement until she can learn to get along with others.I've had to do that on numerous occasions and it is usually successful.Good luck!!!
     
  7. Maryellen

    Maryellen Active Member

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    It takes at least 3 months of proper introductions to get chickens to coexist. You are going to get the silkies killed by going to fast introducing them. Keep them seperate from the other 3 hens but next to them in a seperate coop and run. This way they see each other and get used to each other over time
     
  8. mellinda

    mellinda New Member

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    Hi, ty for your advice everyone.
    3 months... Think i need to be patient then and not be so worried like a mom:eek:
    They have been sleeping together now for 3 nights.
    Around 20 May they slept separately in the same room but separated with a fence.

    We made the little ones a tiny sleeping stick, the big ones got a xl sleeping stick.
    So far two of the 3 big chickens are still picking on them, but it only happens if we feed them.
    The picking is not so agressive anymore and occasionally.

    I've had some concerns, concerning the "bleu de landes"... She turned into a very jaleous type. I devided the attention between all 5, making sure they all got to eat as much as the other chickens got. She is very unpleased several times a day, she has a particular way of "screaming" that makes my ears hurt. Lucky last days, she can sing very short a bit friendlier and she comes eating out of my hand. If... I take not that one attempt to grab her and comfort her haha xD a family member wanted to pet her desperately, but i ended up while trying to lift her off the ground with some huge scratches and a bleu face of her wings... My own faulth, i should be more patient with her.

    Last Saturday, we needed to bring the "mechelse koekoek" back to a vet. She was so ill with "snot" and cough that we thought if we don't do anything she will be dead by evening. Did not want to eat or drink and never seen such a lethargic chicken. I'm glad that turned fully around, 6h after the vet's shot and after drinking water with special drops and antibiotic, she fully recovered.

    The two little ones are still best friends. During the feeding time it is not the white silky they pick on, but on her bigger comrade now. If we put them on the sleeping stick at night, she calls out for the white one. we put them close next to eachother and we see the white one comforting her, then she is happy and it goes cluck cluck :) The three big ones slumber deep at their XL-stick.

    The little silkie lays sometimes 3 eggs in 3 days, other times 2 in 3. I've heard the more eggs a chicken lays, the faster they will die :/ can i somehow "force" it to let her lay less eggs?

    I'm relieved they all go in and out the automatic door by theirselves now. I have to admit it's strange... They couldn't go out at morning because it was a couple of minutes before the timer would open the door... The bleu de landes was laying down between the silkies at the floor waiting. I doubt i would ever understand chicken language and behaviour... But it seems things are turning out very well. We can even pet 4 out of 5, we can lift off 2 with ease and a 3th we're working on.

    I can only hope the bleu de landes turns around and that the little ones become a bit more assertive. The smallest silkie dares picking with the 3 big chickens, the biggest does not dare now, while it was she who first dared to do that.

    I got a last question. How big is the chance my big silkie can euhm... choke??? She always eats that seeds and grass and all other stuff you feed her keeps sticking on her beak. One time we noticed she had some trouble breathing: her 2 nose holes were shut on the outside... Is there a way i can prevent things from sticking on her beak?
     
  9. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Chickens usually rub their beaks in grass or other places to clean them off.Yesterday I gave mine some chocolate cake and Gertrude had icing all over hers.Buffy did her a favor and cleaned it for her.They wasted none of it.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind SuperModerator Staff Member

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    I don't think silkies will lay themselves to death. They lay for a while , then take a longish break or go broody. Are both silkies female? With the silkies, they should eventually work out any problems they might have. They like being a family. I think the bigger chickens may be too aggressive for them. I found my silkies get along very well with Polish chickens and if they hatch them, the Polish are always treated like their family-even when they get big. You may end up with 2 groups or eliminating the aggressive ones for more layback ones.
     
  11. mellinda

    mellinda New Member

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    I think both are females. Not sure however. Since the "real" big one, liked to crawl under the tinier specimen silky on the first two weeks, i think "Pluisje" is a she. Looks to me as amateur that a male would like to go sit on them. I got no clue if the big one already is laying eggs or not. All the eggs looked the same. Only three of them had a slighty darker colour but almost as good as the same structure in the shell. My parents told me there was no way to determine if the three more round formed slighty darker coloured eggs, where from Pluisje. They had the idea that all of them came from my tiny Fientje.

    https://preview.ibb.co/dqZ2ha/FIEN_EN_PLUIS.png
    https://preview.ibb.co/dbuPvv/goudje.png
    https://preview.ibb.co/k6WR8F/Koentje.jpg
    https://preview.ibb.co/fmcoNa/muis_en_co.jpg

    Some pictures of the gang. We made them a roof where they can hide outside. Sorry for the stuff laying on it haha. All the chickens lay inside the barn. If Fien can't get rid of Pluisje for laying eggs, they both go in the same nest, being solidary. Perhaps the photo shows if Pluisje is a she or a he. We do call her sometimes "Camel" as a nickname, because she moves a bit like that. We love them all.
    Previous night we saw something strange. We put them every night on their stick. We lost the "koekoek" Koen. There was a bucket with hay above a nesting area we made for the big chickens (and closed at night since Koen wanted to sleep in that nest-she was angry: not laying eggs but angry she was not allowed to sleep in it). Mme did fly into that bucket that was 1.5m high... Hope she won't hurt herself while doing that...