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Chickens attacking new hen

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
A friend gave me an Americana because she was being picked on in her coup. Now, my girls are picking on her. Will they stop after a while or will this continue? I've never added another chicken to my group. My 12 girls have all been together since they were 3 days old. They are one year old tomorrow
post #2 of 7

Yes, they will pick on her -absolutely normal behavior. It can be so bad that they might cause injury or even death. Or, it could be harmless chest thumping and it will subside. A lot depends on the hen's temperaments, but also the space and management of the coop. It is especially hard to add just one to a flock your size. I hope that this hen is healthy - sometimes it is the ill or the runt that gets picked on in the first place. 

 

There are ways to make integration of a new hen easier. I've brought in solo hens many times to my flock and have written a FAQ here. http://www.hencam.com/henblog/introducing-new-hens/

 

Good luck!

 

Terry Golson

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Terry Golson

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post #3 of 7

Hi,

 

I have 12 hens (now 15) (all different breeds). Recently I was given 1 Rhode Island Red. The other hens are horrible to her. She doesn't even try to defend herself, she huddles into a ball and they attack her. I've never seen my hens to this to each other. 

 

Flock History- Started with 1 hen, added pullets, added 2 laying hens, added 2 more, added 5 more, ect..

 

Anyway, so I've had the hens meet at different times over the past 2 years and have never seen this type of behavior. Over the weekend I purchased 2 more laying hens and separated the Rhode Island Red with the 2 new hens hoping they would form an alliance. I introduced all 3 again to the flock and they keep attacking just the Rhode Island Red. What should I do??

 

I separated the Rhode Island Red again by herself so she can rest and get plenty of food and water. I feel so awful for her. 

 

Thank you in Advance

post #4 of 7

When the RIR is on her own does she behave normally? Chickens are quick to pick up on a sick or weak bird, or one that is "different." Does her comb look healthy? Chickens identify each other by their combs and hens with scabs or discolorations there are often picked on.

Terry Golson

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Terry Golson

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post #5 of 7

Her comb looks fine, she didn't have any scabs- now she does from the others picking on her.  I separated her from the rest of the flock again, a coop within a coop set up. One of the 2 new hens that I purchased to see if they would form an alliance, didn't leave her side. She sat right beside her for 2 days. I just let the RIR back into the flock and the 2 are hanging out. Going to watch them for the next couple of days and see what happens.  Thanks for all the great information!!!

post #6 of 7

The social dynamics of your flock is bound tightly, as they've been raised together, from the brooder.  This reality makes introducing an "outsider" an "intruder" extremely difficult.  BTW, did you keep the new bird apart for a few weeks to check her?  Just sayin'.

 

Additionally, chickens sense, somehow, when one bird is a bit "off".  If she was pecked on by a previous flock, she's one of those birds that gets pecked on.  If there's a weak link in the flock, it gets beat up pretty good.  Chickens tend to do this.  It's a tough world they create and maintain. The weak, sick and lame are not coddled, but are usually tormented.   When a bird is under the weather or has an injury, for example, they are pretty expert at hiding that fact from the others in the flock.  Just the way it is.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #7 of 7

She was a free range Hen (on 5 acres) in a coop only at night time. I asked the previous owner about her behavior when they were the owners, they said she was a loner- didn't hang out with the rest of the flock, granted they had more room to do so as well. Right now she is sitting on the roosting post just being an observer. When she's on the ground- she runs to either corner and huddles into a ball. I've introduced other hens to the main flock and haven't seen this type of behavior. Hopefully that work it out, or I'll try to find another home for her where she is safe from harm. No, I separated her for a couple of days but not weeks. 

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