8 hens a fighting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tootie123, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    I have 8 hens that are 8 weeks old and they have began to fight and confront
    each other. They are allowed to free range every other day and they tend
    to want to battle each other.....is this normal behavior for these 8 week old
    hens who have all been raised together and are the same age? Maybe they
    are frustrated being cooped up in a small coop.
    I thought perhaps it is because they are in a fairly small coop for their size.
    I am wanting to put them into the larger coop with two older RR Red hens
    but afraid they are not big enough yet to defend themselves from the
    older chickens. What a dilemma.....what should I do? Let them fight
    it out? See some blood in their small coop like one has been hurt
    but don't know which one. I noticed this after they had been all
    penned up all day long. Any suggestions?
     
  2. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Haha, I like that: 8 Hens A Fighting. Clever. =)

    They'll be fine. They're just setting up their pecking order--it won't take them long. Blood isn't unusual--my cockerels have had to rearrange their pecking order a couple of times (first because we dispatched a particularly mean bantam who was the flock's #1 guy and second time because my Cochin cockerel became sexually mature at age 6 months and so they had to figure him in), and both times it resulted in pink-tinged white feathers because of blood dripping from combs and wattles.
     
  3. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    3
    41
    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Thanks...would it be to their advantage to go ahead and put the 8 week olds
    in with the 8 month old RR Red hens? Have been holding off since their
    size isn't the same yet...... The larger coop is 12 feet but 6.5 feet and
    would accommodate them much better but was concerned about their
    welfare. Have read and heard to do the transfer at night when everyone
    is roosting, seems some have had success doing that. The 2 older hens
    and the 8 younger ones have been free ranging together for about
    3 weeks now but 2 old girls chase little ones all over the place.
    Yes, knew there would be some pecking order jostling going on....just didn't
    want anyone killed.
     
  4. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, yes, now is a good time so the pecking order rearrangement can include everyone. I've read differing opinions about how to do the introductions, and the bottom line is that they'll have to do pecking order stuff regardless of the time of day or night you put them together. Because of that, I put mine together on a Saturday morning with the plan of hanging out with them all weekend to break up any really intense bickering, and it seemed to work fine to do it that way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  5. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Well that is good idea, helps to talk to someone who has done it.
    I will try and arrange that for tomorrow.
    Thought younger chickens might benefit from being in larger
    coop with older chickens now that we are getting colder
    weather. We have no cold weather compared to Vermont
    but it does get cold in Atlanta.
     
  6. aschm01

    aschm01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 6, 2012
    I had something similar happen while raising mine as they grew and got crowded. I found that a mirror really helped alleviate the boredom. They banded together to fight off the "intruders" instead of taking it out on each other. I simply put a hand mirror in a plastic bag and hung it in the coop and they spent most of their time pecking at it and not at each other. I got the idea from their brooder which had been a large washbasin with reflective sides. It might give you a little more time in the smaller coop before you are ready to integrate them.
     
  7. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

    80
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    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Neat idea...will try that too.
     
  8. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ha! That's great! I'll have to try that, too! =D
     
  9. lynyrd

    lynyrd Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2012
    malta,illinois
    I just introduced 8 week old hens to older flock. First put in wire next 2 big ladies,then cut wire between so littles can scoot back if it gets too extreme. Only had to remove one(little roo) d/t bloody pecks .he spent 2 days in kitchen so we now call him k.c. (kitchen chicken). he is now back in coop and so far; fingers crossed goin ok. there has been some squabbles but littles much faster.
     
  10. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I told you before that I'd not had too much trouble introducing new chickens to the flock, but that was full-sized chickens and the ones they were introduced to were about 10 - 12 weeks old (so pretty big, but not sexually mature). Well, I have a flock of 3 bantams that are our "yard birds". They are a Mille Fleur d'Uccle cock and two Golden Sebright hens. When they were introduced to the rest, they just hopped through the fence and came back to their old house so we let them just stay out all summer. They would go to their (now defunct) old house and spend the days wandering our yard, pooping on the porch, and running to greet the kids when they got off the bus.

    The past few days have been cold, sleety, grey... Miserable. Those poor yard birds were huddled by the porch, trying to get back onto the porch (we've had to block it off because they were making such a mess of it), shivering, and refusing to go hang out in their old house, so I decided it was time to reintroduce them to the rest of the flock. Oh, my god. We have 5 cockerels--big ones, sexually aggressive ones, ones that draw blood from each other at least once a week as they feel the need to reestablish their pecking order (all that is another story. Let's just say that a Frat House is in the works). I put those 3 little cuties in there and the cockerels acted like they'd found a mouse. My poor little girls were being pulled in three different directions, clumps of feathers being ripped out. They were literally screaming! I snatched them up and took them back to their old house. My little boy was attacked, too, so I took him out. This all was beyond the usual chasing and pecking that happen when new birds are introduced. They aimed to kill my poor little banties. They would have.

    We love having bantams, but I think that they will have their own house from now on. I'm going to make them a new one because I want all the chicken houses together (the old one is on the other side of our house). Besides, it's old and I want it gone. =)
     

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