I have finally put all of my chickens together and everyone is getting along. We have a fairly large space, so that makes living together easier. The chicks, well more like pullets, get chased a little. But over all every one seems to be getting along. Whenever I look out at the chicken yard I see my big 4 girls hanging out together and the pullets a safe distance away, in the periphery.
We took baby steps, with our introductions. My first introduction attempts invoked a ghastly sound of bloody murder from Minnow the lead hen. She wanted to kill those chicks badly. Luckily I was smart enough to introduce the chicks safely behind a fence, so the desired killing did not occur. I kept the babies in their own pen away from view of the big girls for about 3 weeks. They seemed safest there.
I kept taking time to introduce them over and over to the big girls through the fence. Minnow's bloody scream diminished into an angry, aggressive cackle, wew. I really did not want to hear the killing scream again, it was rather disturbing. At one point during these minnie social events it became clear the two lower hens Bolder and Cookie had no issue with the chicks. So I stuck the chicks in with them and pulled out Yoko and Minnow and all was good. Baby steps.
Second, I built a pen for the chicks inside the chicken run. So the big and little girls could get used to each other on a daily basis. The chicks were coming closer to being pullets daily, they seemed big enough to get picked on and avoid death. The big girls were initially up in arms, making a raucous and running around like crazy. Changing their territory caused a lot of excitement and perhaps a bit of stress. At least it eliminated the boredom factor from their simple chicken lives for a couple of days.
Of course I had a lot of help from my backyard barnyard children.
Lastly we have a comfortable, content flock with two new additions.
No blood, or dead chickens as can happen when you make additions. No severe stress to my current flock or the young birds. Everyone is OK. Of course there may be some bickering that will happen when the chicks, Elizabeth and Flower get older and feel the need to establish themselves into a higher position in the flock. I will deal with that as it comes.
Baby steps and giving the chickens time to adapt to the change. Change is hard for chickens and adding new members even harder. A little time and patience made for a mild and painless change.