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New Skylines - HELP!

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On Saturday my lovely hubby bought me two Skylines as a birthday present. We were told that they were a little 'flighty' but as we'd been doing so well with Bettie and Ethel (our two from Omlet - Gingernut Ranger & Ms Pepperpot) we thought that with time they'd become just as tame as the others.


Anyways, I have two questions:


1) Does anyone have Skylines and do they get more tame with time? I do not expect them to be eating out of my hand after only a few days, but I am talking long term do they get friendlier...?


And most importantly...


2) I am having great difficulty in introducing them to my existing two. As they are quite jumpy, there has been so much squarking and pecking and leaping that it's getting me very upset. We've only been letting them in the same run for an hour at a time and the two Skylines seem to do a mixture of hiding in the Eglu and then braving it out. I don't think there has been any blood shed, but like everyone else on the forum says, it's just very hard to watch and its getting me quite emotional, to the point that my original plan of getting up to 8 hens is out the window (I don't think I could go through this again).


Whilst I FULLY accept that maybe I am being a little too emotional about them establishing a pecking order, I have a hard decision to make...




When hubby gets home later we are going to leave them together for an hour or so before it gets dark and see if they will all clamber into the Eglu together and then spend the night together. But as we have to leave for work early tomorrow, we'll have to let them out into that one run and leave them there all day. I feel that it may be better to just 'bite the bullet' and leave them to it for a day as then the worst of the squabbling should be out of the way. I have a cube coming on Friday and would love them to be able to all go in there on Friday rather than them being currently split between the Eglu and a makeshift run at the moment. Although the Skylines are retreating to the Eglu when they're all together, they are coming out once in a while to challenge the others, so they can't be that frightened can they???


We tried letting them free-range together yesterday, but the Skylines were jumping around and can get to a great hight that we were worried they would escape if they were attacked by the others.


We have spare feeding stations which we can put in the Eglu run.


Where they were making quite a racket yesterday, we hoped they would do most of their squabbling in the day while people are at work so as not to disturb the neighbours in the evening.


(I did take a little box of eggs with an apology note to the neighbours yesterday, but I still feel bad about the noise).




Selfishly, I regret to say that I wonder if it's be better for me as well as the hens not to have to see and hear the squarking as I think yesterday I interviened when I shouldn't have. If I'm not there, I can't get quite as upset and interrupt the important rituals they are going through.




Please let me know as soon as possible as the guilt I am feeling for both the birds getting stressed and for the fact that a lovely present is turning into a bit of a nightmare (hubby is feeling guilty that he has bought the hens now as it was meant to be a dream come true, not a nightmare!) is getting too much. :cry:


Many thanks in advance,



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I wouldn't reccomend putting them in the same run as the other two when you're not in as you can't keep an eye on them.


Instead how about putting the skylines into a makeshift chicken wire run where one side joins up next to the eglu run? Then they could see each other etc.


Then in the evening once your original two have gone to bed how about letting your skylines sleep in a cardboard box for the night and then doing the chicken wire run thing the next day?


Then the second evening once the originals have gone to bed in the eglu and they're all dozy then move the skylines into the eglu with them and then remove them the next day.


Then eventually let them intergrate.

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Hi and thanks for your reply.


The Skylines are already in a makeshift run the is attached to the main Eglu run and they seem to be ignoring each other pretty much (I am home all day today and am keeping an eye on them - although I do not have the confidence to let them mingle without hubby here). Ethel (Gingernut Ranger) does occasionally go right up to the bars and tries to spook them and very occasionally Bettie does the same.


So, they have been in adjoining (is that how I spell it?!?!) runs since Satuday morning, with no real problems.


We have thought about putting the Skylines in the Eglu at night but we have two concerns:


1) that they wake up before we get them up at 6am and they fight in there (it's not that big for 4 hens, hence the Cube coming Friday) and...


2) they are very jumpy birds and we are worried about lifting them out in the morning and them escaping from our grip or something


Thanks for your advice and I would be grateful for your comments on my reply.



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Chickens are fairly docile still in the morning so that should be okay.


If you're nervous about them jumping out of your arms how about you take out the two friendlier ones you have as you're used to handling them and then putting them into the chicken wire run? You might need to provide them with a cardboard box to nest in and lay eggs.


Then let the two skyline's settle in the eglu and put the friendly ones inside. Then when the skylines know where to roost let them all free range together.


Hope everything goes well.



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Thanks for that Liz - I think the idea of getting them all in the bed at night and taking the tames hens out first is a good one - maybe taking them out of the main run will stop them from feeling like they own it too.


I suppose I still have a few days to play with until the Cube arrives and therefore can take the intergration a little slower.


It's so hard to watch and hear. I love them all so much already that I just want them to be friends as soon as possible, hence the 'bite the bullet' V's drag it out dilema.


Many thanks for your advice.


If anyone else has any opinions then please let me know as I am going to have to make a decision by the end of the day!


Kind regards,


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Hi Milly, if I were you I would try and handle the new girls as much as possible. I've had a few 'jumpy' chickens and I made a point of catching them and sitting holding them firmly, while talking to them and stroking their heads. They're all very 'tame' now.

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Thanks Fee & Egluntine, and to everyone for your suggestions.


I think that as my husband and I are both at work during the day (we have up until Saturday let Bettie & Ethel free-range when we get home) we are going to try and construct a divider within the main Eglu run based on a post another fellow Omleteer made. They put bamboo canes through the centre of the run (a bit like the game Kerplunk!) and secured them and then made a second eglu-style home at the other end for the newbies. I know that this will mean they are confined more than usual, but we hope this will be the kindest way to introduce them.


It's going to mean a very late night and an even earlier morning to get this operation underway, but the girls happiness is paramount to me.


So, as long as hubby agrees when we speak at lunchtime, the idea is we'll leave them in their own runs now until they are both in their beds. Once they are well and truly settled we'll lift Beryl and Audrey into Bettie & Ethel's Eglu.


When they are safely in there, we'll re-jig the run and construct the Kerplunk-like divider and temporary bed at the other end. I know that they'll each need food and water for the morning. Then, first thing tomorrow, we'll get the tamest ones (Bettie & Ethel) out of the Eglu and they can swap places with the others and live in the temporary home. That way they are easier to let out to free-range (without Beryl and Audrey for now).


Hopefully they'll be safe and happy while we are at work and then can be placed back together at bed time.


See what hubby thinks...


QUESTION: Why will they be okay together at night and not during the day? Is is because they are too sleepy to notice or that they can't see in the Eglu? Can they smell each other and get used to their scents (like dogs and cats)? Will they know they've spent the night together or will it all just blow up again in the morning???


Thanks everyone!


Kind regards, a more positive Milly

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We are going to try the wooden divider technique that Lesley-Jean has mentioned on a post... Very worried about noise and squabbling... I will check back here later incase anyone places any replies, so keep the advice coming please... Will let you know what happens tomorrow... :(


Will the feeling of "oh no, they will never be friends" pass??? I haven't been this stressed since my wedding day!

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Letting them sleep together at night really does help the intergration - I did it for my bunch & it worked a treat.

Not sure why it works - it just does!


Go down early in the morning & seperate them into their own runs.

I would do this up until the weekend.

Then I would put them in the same run (just let them out together that morning) & leave them to it.

At the weekend I assume you will be around to keep an eye on things?


Slowly & steadily is best when it comes to intros.

If you give them a week of kipping together, I am sure you will find it will go quite smoothly at the weekend :D

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Hi Sarah, thanks for that.


My husband is not so sure about letting the sleep together as he's worried that when we try and get them out it the morning, if we disturb them, it'll start an almighty fight and it'll not only wake the neighbours, but it'll be hard to deal with inside the Eglu!


Are chickens really dopey enough for it to be possible to not only sneak two hens in the Eglu at night but also remove them again in the morning?


What if the one's we want are right over the other side of the Eglu? :?


I don't know what's happend to my confidence these past few days. I was great at handing Bettie and Ethel, but Audrey & Beryl (the Skylines) are so jumpy I am terrified that if I disturb Bettie and/or Ethel when getting the others, I wont be able to deal with it and they'll escape!!!


As Bettie and Ethel are so well behaved (or at least WERE until the new hens arrived!) we've never felt the need to touch them through the egg port to make contact with them as they've always been friendly enough without having to do that, so we've never seen a chicken asleep at night time! Hence our reservations about putting them all in together and getting the Skylines out in the morning.


We were planning to keep them seperate again tonight, but maybe we should reconsider. I'd be grateful for your comments on the whole 'putting the hens in and getting the hens out without a fight' issue.


Thanks for your advice, Milly

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If you're getting up early they should be OK in the morning. The older ones may run out for food, and the younger ones stand around in the eglu looking confused.

At night I've waited an hour after the older chickens have turned in and/or it's really dark to make sure they're really dozy. I made sure there were no really unfriendly noises before leaving them. The younger one often slept in the run and we had to try and extract them and lift into the egg port. Once this involved some gentle prodding with canes as they didn't want to move and were out of reach....


If you're unsure you can just put canes down the middle of the run in the day, maybe leaving the oldies the nest end. LJ is the only person I know with an extra house, we've managed 3 times with them sharing at night.

We freeranged them all during the day in our larger pen, but were around, and mixed them at night. After a few days the new ones were accepted into the eglu at night even if not accepted during the day.

I got so little sleep worrying about the new chickens being attacked before I could get to the eglu in the morning. It never happened, any of the 3 times we added new chickens.

You could just not mix them during the day and wait for the cube, or start them off when you are around.

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Hi Sarah, thanks for that.




Are chickens really dopey enough for it to be possible to not only sneak two hens in the Eglu at night but also remove them again in the morning?


What if the one's we want are right over the other side of the Eglu? :?




Yes, they really are 8):lol:

Honestly, it works. Just try not to worry about it too much, which is hard I know :?


If in the morning the new girls are on the far side, just shove the others out of the way.They won't mind - honest!

But don't open the door until the new girls are out, or you may find that they pootle off down the run too, & you don't anwt that just yet.


As Choccy says,wait until they have been to bed for an hour or so, then just post the new ones through the egg port door (making sure the Eglu door is shut first!)

Then in the morning you will need to get up early.


Actually, its much easier to do intros in the winter when the mornings start later & they go to bed earlier


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They seem to integrate quicker once they've been spending the nights together. I had hens in 2 eglus and every time they were out freeranging they fought! :shock: This went on for 4 weeks until I gave up and threw them all in together. Only took a few days for things to sort themselves out, now they are all fine together! 8)


Also, I find if I want to get one out of the eglu, place your hand on top of them and they will crouch (even the babies seem to do this), then it's easier to lift them out.


Hope they all settle down soon - it's nerve wracking isn't it? :?

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Wow, thanks to everyone for your kind advice.


All four girls have gone to sleep now (in their seperate beds), so at 10pm we are going down there to put the new girls in the Eglu.


While they're in there, we're going to seperate the run with canes ready for the morning... Hope the neighbours don't see us mooching about the garden in our PJ's!!!


We reckon we should get up at 4am to seperate them again ready for the day. I normally get them up at 5.30am, so hopefully this will be early enough for them.


Thanks to everyone for giving us the confidence to 'go for it' and put them in the Eglu to sleep.


We shall let you know what happens... Tomorrow they'll be closer than ever before, with only the canes seperating them, so fingers crossed...


THANK YOU EVERYONE! Please listen out for me on here as somehow I doubt this'll be the end of the intergration problems!!!


For now, thank you and goodnight!

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I hope it went well Milly?


We have Skylines and they are just the same as the others in nature, just a little more difficult to catch if out in a big run. Once caught, thay are equally as friendly.


I think part of the problem may be they are not laying yet? As soon as they are ready to lay, they are less flighty.

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We are currently integrating two flighty young columbines to our existing brood. They sleep together at night without a problem. I can't believe when I look in on them at night that the littlies are sleeping under a big girls wing! Why don't they peck them out of the way? They don't though. I always stroke them all and pick out the new girls to hold so they get used to it. In the morning three big girls are standing at the run door waiting to be let out. Littlies are in the eglu so when the big girls are out they have the secure run to themselves, a chance to eat and drink in peace. I keep the eglu door closed and open the egg port door so big girls can lay their eggs. When they're done I close the eggport and open up the door for the new girls. I keep extra food stations outside the run so that the big girls are near the littlies when they feed. For the last hour of the day I let littlies free range, the big girls roost first and within an hour the littlies are roosting in there with them. So far so good . . .

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Thank to everyone for your advice.


After a good hour or so of them sleeping seperately, we went down to move the new girls into the Eglu, but all I can imagine is that there must've been a fox or something in the garden that set the security light off, because when we opened the egg-port door to put the new girls in, Bettie was standing up, bold as brass looking at us and didn't seem too happy to see the new arrival in my husands arms.


So, we took the safe option and put the skylines to bed in a new box inside their half of the newly divided run (which we were constructing last night with great success). They squarked a bit when we picked them up proir to moving them, so felt it best not to put them in the Eglu with an already awake Bettie.


This morning, as the makeshift bed for Beryl and Audrey does not have a proper 'bedroom door', they were mooching about their half of the run when we went down to let Bettie & Ethel out of the Eglu into their half.


I was expecting some rage from Ethel as she normally darts down the other end of the run to get breakie, but of course we had to move the food and water nearer to the Eglu to accomodate the bamboo canes/division so I thought she would run straight into the canes.


As all was quiet, we went back inside to get ready for work and watched them from the window upstairs. We could see that they were getting close to each other up against the bars, but it didn't look like anything too nasty - certainly no major noise which we were relieved about.


We understand that they haven't got a huge amount of space each now, but this is inly for the next two days.


We hope to be able to put the little'uns into the Eglu tonight though.


My husband said he felt much happier handling them as last night we were so worried they'd jump out! But, despite the squarking at being woken up, they were quite relaxed and we hope that as long as Bettie and Ethel are not awake when we open the port this time, it should go ok.


It's a good thing that I am at work today as I can safely let them get on with it and it's given me a break from the worrying!


Things are looking much better :)


Will post back tonight on how they are interacting through the bars after a day of being right up close to each other.


Regarding to the comment about them being better when they are ready to lay - their faces are a lot redder than Bettie and Ethel when we first had them, so hopefully they are no far off and they'll all be friends soon!


The plan is to try and let them sleep together in the Eglu until Friday night when we plan to move all four into the Cube's sleeping quarters, ready to let them all wake up together on Saturday morning (that way at least there is more space in the Cube is they need to run and hide and we'll be there to keep an eye on things - we'll still have our Eglu as a rescue centre if needed!)


So long at there aren't too many bad feelings between them over the next few days, hopefully all should be rosey for the weekend, but I realise I can't rush them.


Thanks for the reassurance on the Skylines calming down a little bit - I don't expect miricles straight away, but they were almost flying despite wing clipping and I was terrified they'd escape!!!


Thanks to all of you for your advice! :D

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Just thought I'd say that last night was a success!!!


At about 10.30 we got Audrey & Beryl into the Eglu with nothing more than a little squeak!


This morning we got up at 4am to get them back out of the Eglu and into their own run!


All went very smoothly and feel much more confident. I've been out in the garden this morning, chatting away to the girls and they've not been cowering or anything, so things are definately on the up! Although we're very tired!!!


The things we do for chickens!


We are going to do the same until Friday night when we'll place all four girls into the Cube at bedtime and fingers crossed they'll wake up calmly together and there'll only be a small squabble before they're best buddies!


Thanks everyone! :D

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