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2 Chickens: 1 Bully

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenKABOOM, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. ChickenKABOOM

    ChickenKABOOM Just Hatched

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    Jan 12, 2017
    I need some help with my predicament.
    A few months ago, I got 2 3 month old ISA brown hens. They are sweet little things. Unfortunately, one of them, the smaller one, has begun to badly peck and pluck the other. We have seperated them and that's been ok, but they can't sleep together. Now that winter is coming, one is having to sleep out, I'm worried it will get sick in the cold, and I don't wanna be cruel to it.
    I am thinking of giving the bully away to my uncle who has 8 chooks, I've heard that chickens can stop pecking when there are more chickens to be with. My coop is just wrong for separating them.

    What should I do?
    Replace and give away the bully?
    OR
    Keep them both?

    Please help ASAP!?
    Thankyou!!!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    CENTRAL MAINE
    If you only have 2 chickens, you are ALWAYS going to have a bully. And you should really NEVER only have one, because they are flock animals. To keep only one is to subject her to a life time of stress. How big is your coop and run? They need a minimum of 4 s.f./bird in the coop and 10 s.f. in the run in order to be able to live a fairly stress free life in captivity. Any more crowding than that sets them up for aggression and stress related problems. And even a small coop/run with the 4/10 spacing for just a few birds is a risk, b/c the pecked on birds can't get far enough away from the aggressors to satisfy their social protocal. With 25 birds in a 10 x 10 coop, the pecked on bird can get 5 - 10' away from her aggressor. But that same bird in a 4 x 4 coop with 3 other birds can only get 2 - 4' away from her aggressor.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Agree with LG.

    I want to give more options but short on time right this minute. Quickly though you can look into Peepers. But I would work toward changing the whole situation instead.

    Also I think 2 birds is not enough if you have space for more. I never go with less than 3 for social reasons.

    Keeping them separated might actually be making it worse... there are lot's of things in play and other details still needed. Tell us what your set up is, how much coop/ run/ roost space, what you feed including treats, supplemental light, free range... and you call them hens, were they full grown when you got them? Are they actively laying? That type of stuff.
     
  4. ChickenKABOOM

    ChickenKABOOM Just Hatched

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    Jan 12, 2017
    Thanks guys.

    The run is about 3m x 1.5m and 2m high. The coop is elevated by 80cm and is half the size. They have 2 nesting boxes by only ever lay in one box. They are isa browns. We got them a few weeks since they started laying. They are actively laying. We are feeding them good quality layer feed with leftover green and their favourite thing is frozen peas.

    Thankyou!
     
  5. kathypq

    kathypq New Egg

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    I'm having the same problem, brought 3 new chickens into my already 4 chickens, the smallest is getting held down by the 3 large chickens, the other 2 new chickens just run for their lives. It's so bad that she won't come out of the hen house unless I go pick her up. She got trapped by them one day, I was trying to get her out and fight off the other chickens with my other hand, they were no t giving up. I have given her a cage to herself but still in the chicken coop to protect her..
     
  6. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Albany,, Wisconsin
    So that would be aproxmently 9x3 run with a 4x3 coop. I would say that the pecking is boredom. Chickens are very social flock animals, and generally need at Least 3 in a flock to be happy. Your run and set up don't really allow much space for more, possibly 1 more, but it would be tight. 4sq (0.37m2) ft per bird in the coop, and 10sqft (1m2) for run space is the minimum you want per bird.
     
  7. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes it is best to introduce chickens with a see but no touch method- keep a fence between them until they get used to each other. The existing birds are showing the new birds where there place is in the pecking order, which as you can see can be very tramatic- chickens are mean to those who are unfamilier or weak. It may help if you have seperate roosts for the new birds so they don't have to share with the existing, and make sure there are plenty of space and a few places to hide in the coop and run!
     
  8. ChickenKABOOM

    ChickenKABOOM Just Hatched

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    Jan 12, 2017
    Thanks guys.
    I thought about boredom too, but it's outside of the coop in the massive backyard too.
    What should I do?
     
  9. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    Do you have more than just the 2 birds? Chickens are VERY social and need more social interaction. I would highly suggest getting another bird or two, and expanding your coop/run.
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Get another bird, is what I would do. Have had 3 heavy breed girls in a 4 x 4 coop with free range of a yard and no problem. The minimums and suggestions are just that.... guidelines. Some squeeze much tighter without issue while others will have issues regardless of space. Breed factors in as well as your maintenance schedule, weather, and individual personalities. I would get a different breed than the two you already got. Biggest issue might be finding only 1 to add. But honestly I might add 2, deal with my space issues and ditch the bully out of the bunch if still needed in the future. Life is too short to deal with mean birds when there are so many wonderful ones out there. She may be able to reform though!

    Also, make a scratching/compost area for them. Some call it deep litter. Where you compost your stuff, the worms and other bugs will come and the girls will scratch for them and occupy some of their time.

    Peas are actually a high protein (and to me quality) snack that will not diminish your other nutrients. Frozen is great for summer, but thawed might be best for winter. I haven't yet, but am considering either sprouting whole dried peas or using dried split peas as a scratching type treat. You might be able to make a little treat dispenser... like a water bottle with holes drilled that they have to scratch around and make it give out say, dried meal worms for example.

    If your girl that is being pecked has exposed red areas, they will invite more pecking. I would use something like Blu Kote to cover them so they could heal. Did you look up peepers yet, (as a last resort to me)? This was a nice article...

    https://hencam.com/faq/bare-butts-feather-loss-and-feather-picking/

    And another...
    https://articles.extension.org/page...nibalism-in-small-and-backyard-poultry-flocks

    There are some lotions and sprays that can be used to deter the picking, but I am unsure of how well they work. And leery of ones that use "spiciness" as the means... as I am under the impression that chickens do not have capsaicin receptors.
    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    If you don't stop that from happening... you could end up with a dead chicken that's been cannibalized. When they are cornered and out numbered it can get quite brutal. [​IMG] A cage in their view is a good step. Maybe out in the run if the weather is good enough. And after a long enough time (flock dependent) free ranging together possibly after waking up on roost together. I always add the newbies after dark to the roost, after the initial look but don't touch time period. And I also have a lower roost for my new integrations, it works great! At roost is when havoc breaks out and is often the most brutal time of the day here. Having plenty of space helps. As well as visual barriers and extra feeding stations. A simple stack of hay or say a bench or a log, even a children's toy... whatever you can think of that will work for you. [​IMG]
     

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