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Help! Please, my hens are fighting! I need advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Help! I had 2 chickens (hens) who were best friends, and 1 if them got killed by my friends dog. The old one keeps fighting with the new one that I got to keep her company~
Is this normal? What do I do???? I have to keep them in separate coops at night because I am afraid that they will kill each other at night.
If anyone knows what to do, please please help me!!
Should I get a new hen that will most likely get alone with my new one? Oh, and there are no roosters, just 2 hens.
should i put them in the same coop @ night?

thanks!

post #2 of 13

this is normal as they are establishing there pecking order, if it is night they should settle down till tomarrow, then it shouldnt be as bad, if you think they are gonna hurt 1 another maybe seperate them but make sure they can still see each other, or they will fight until pecking order is established

weather will be weather,   weather ya like it , or not
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weather will be weather,   weather ya like it , or not
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post #3 of 13

Hens by nature can be mean, OLD hens just have a bad attitude, period.  IF you want to introduce the bird to the old one, do it at night.  If you slip in the coop and place the new chicken on the perch and do not bother the old hen she might accept her.  Sometimes the alpha hen is just that, she will flog any and everybody no matter what.   Good luck.

For all things chicken go here: http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/index.html
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For all things chicken go here: http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/index.html
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

hmm? thanks for the reply.
when will i know that the "pecking order" will be established?
i think the original one is sad because her friend is not there? does that make sense? and is kinda like, who the hell is this new chicken!?

should i introduce a new hen? also, the original one is smaller, the new 1 i got is a jersey giant hen... does that make any difference?

will they ever be friends like the first 2?

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

ahh! its too late to introduce them at night.. they already met each other but are sleeping in separate places.....

post #6 of 13

you will know when pecking order is established when they stop fighting , as far as them being friends only time will tell

weather will be weather,   weather ya like it , or not
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weather will be weather,   weather ya like it , or not
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

im just afraid the old 1 will keep terrorizing the new 1.should i put them in the same coop @ night? or keep them separated?
also, should i maybe introduce a new hen to the 2 so that the 1 will not keep getting picked on?

post #8 of 13

Yes, maybe you should try bringing in two newbies, so that the established girl doesn't have just one poor target to vent all her dominance onto. Can you accommodate three hens? It's good that the new girl/s is/are bigger too, as the new ones can get very badly bullied if they are smaller than the existing birds.

I'm sure they will eventually be friends though. It takes time - we had an awful time when we first got our girls, but now they are the best of pals. We actually made it worse by trying to separate them and stopping them establishing their pecking order - it just made the whole process take longer. After a few days the pecking and chasing will usually simply stop... the lower girls will have accepted their place and the higher girls will be satisfied that their point has been made! You need to be vigilant though - sometimes it can turn ugly, so do be prepared to step in if an injury occurs.

In the meantime, they won't hurt each other at night - chickens go a bit dopey after dark, and generally just settle down to sleep. They also don't have great night vision from what I'm told, so they won't bother each other after dark.

As you said though, do try and feel a little for your first girl. She's probably missing her pal and wondering what on earth is going on. It's probably as stressful for her as it is for the new girl. They both need cuddles and reassurance from you and I'm sure all will soon be fine. smile

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

hi there
thank you all for your posts....

the old hen keeps terrorizing the new 1...
i feel so bad.

what would be better...?

get another hen so the new ones outnumber the old 1..
or put the older hen into a new large flock and just get 2 chickens from the same flock that already know each other..?

post #10 of 13

Yes, perhaps try getting two new girls who know each other already, making sure they are not significantly smaller than the established hen, and this should minimise both the potential for serious harm coming to the new girls, and also the possibility that one hen will have to take all of the bullying.

Other than that, you could persevere with the current arrangement and put the following allowances in place until the chasing stops:

make sure there are plenty of boards/roosts/platforms placed within the run, so that the new girl has a place to escape to when she is being chased. Make sure these spaces are only big enough for one hen (I found that using a wooden board propped into the corner of the run was good, as the new girl could squeeze in behind it and take a breather and the other girl couldn't follow). An upturned bucket is also good (make sure it is stable) as only one hen can get up onto the top of it at a time, so it is a safe spot. Also a box with room inside for only one hen and a small opening in the side - the principle is the same- only one can get in, and can therefore take refuge from the other.

Also, make sure there are at least two waterers and feeders available, so that the new girl doesn't constantly get chased off a single feed station.

And don't worry about night time - they will simply settle down to sleep. However, you might want to be sure to let them out before it gets light in your coop - once they can see each other, the fighting may start again. Have you got room to put a small crate within your coop for the new girl to sleep in, so they can see each other but she is safe from being bullied at sunrise?

You should only need to do this stuff for a few days - it really doesn't take long for things to settle down. Try not to worry too much - I was in a terrible state about my girls, and in the end, it all settled down fairly quickly.

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