Getting closer to integrating the girls

I have been giving the girls some time together each day. For a while it seemed to be going well with them all getting along. Dot and Autumn do some chasing but no fighting. Snow is more inclined to stand up for herself than Red. Dot and Snow went face to face and both froze and stared each other out. Snow refused to look away first.

But then a couple of days running there was a spat. Again it was Sugar and Snow. The next time Storm joined in so both Sugar and Storm were having a go at Snow. I can’t bear to see that happening and separated them again.

After that it was calm again but what seemed to happen was the girls would switch to each others side then when the novelty wore off they both returned to their own side. The only difference is that the gates were open but it seemed a bit pointless as they still weren’t mixing.

Today I decided to leave the gates closed but switch the girls to the opposite sides. I thought it might help the new girls to find the chickens’ patio. I feel once they are familiar with the patio area it will be a good time to mix them.

I knew that Snow was due to lay her egg and thought it would be a good time for her to find the other nest boxes. So far she had laid two eggs in her nest box and two eggs in the corner where they settle at bedtime.

I put some spinach on the patio to encourage them.

The new girls find the spinach on the patio area
I am hoping that they will start to get familiar with the patio area
It’s a start

After this Red didn’t go back to the patio area but Snow wanted to lay her egg and started looking in the nest boxes. For ages she was in the nest box then back in the run then trying to get back in to her corner then on top of the nest box and so on, on repeat. I felt that at least she knew where the nest box was so I decided to let her sort it out.

Snow going in the nest box
Snow in the nest box

I felt this was already a step forward. When I checked back a bit later Snow was back in the run with Red and her egg was in the nest box. This is her fifth egg. I was really pleased as I feel this is a break through.

So far Snow lays two days in a row then misses a day then two days in a row again.

I was really pleased with today’s progress and feel that when they are mixed, if Snow needs to lay her egg, she will know where the nest boxes are. I have also put a couple of feeding stations out in the run. This means the new girls have got used to where they are so when they are mixed there will places to eat and drink without having to compete with the other girls.

I usually do this until I feel the new girls are confident enough to eat alongside the main flock. I think we are getting very close to mixing them completely now. I just need to be brave enough to make the move. I sometimes feel it is harder on me than it is on the new girls.

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4 Responses to Getting closer to integrating the girls

  1. DAVID says:

    Hi, Carol. You know the theory, but can’t stand to watch any of them under pressure from the others! As long as they have space to retreat into, they should be fine, notwithstanding spats here and there. Snow looks so healthy and I’m really pleased that she’s laying: may broodiness keep away as long as possible!

    • Carol says:

      I think that because my recent integrations have been so easy I am now being a bit of a wimp about it. I know they are ready really but I just hate seeing spats and chasing. I need to toughen up a bit and get on with over the next few days.

  2. marionparo says:

    I am sure you worry more about the girls mixing than they worry about it. It will all work out well in the end.

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