we lost one of our hens a while back, leaving us with just two... so I thought, let's get 2 litle bantams to add to the flock... argh
1 they are so fast and 'flighty' that one escaped on the first day and shot off into the neighbours garden where it spent the night until caught next day with a fishing net...
2. our old birds LOATHE them!! I know understand fully the terms pecking order and henpecked; having seen the most dominant bird stand on the smallest new one and peck it repeatedly.
We have now placed them in a small run for their safety (from the others) and our sanity (not having to chase them all over).
My question is how can we get them to be accepted and not run away at the first blink of an eye??? Hopefully we can then let them run free like the other two...
With new chickens I always put them in a protected run house in reach of the others so they can see each other. I have just put my chicks out and the others have all had a look. I have flightless chickens and they are big and docile which makes life easier. Once my chicks are full size I will let them out to run free but will keep an eye on them. This is my third lot and I have never had a problem integrating. They do seem to sort themselves out. Once in with the pack I separate them at night for longer. I was once told that they will pick on a chicken of a different colour but I have a tri colour Sussex hen who lives happily with the Orpingtons. I would be interested to hear what others suggest. Personally I think it is just time that sorts it out.
Trying to enjoy life as it is
I agree with Aly but it can be pretty disturbing to watch in the early stages but they soon get used to each other. To begin with put the new ones in a contained space inside the run of the others, then let them out of their safe house & feed them (you might have to feed the newbies separately for a few days).
The good news is that the bantams often become the top chickens as they are feisty little birds & are not afraid of the big girls. I have an old bantam hen who is now over 8 years old who ruled the roost for years & reared many cluches of eggs. Bantam eggs are the most tastyby the way.
Glad your job is going so well.
Good luck to you & your flock.
"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."
from Les Miserables
so this weekend we decided it was d day .. andy used the remaining chicken wire to completely bantam proof the garden.. then we let them out .. after a very brief tussle with the bigger ladies they moved on out happily and have now spent the last night and today together. It just took time for them to bond to each other and the older ladies:!! Phew
a link to photos of both pairs of ladies
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