Adopted hen being bullied!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SwedishDude99, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    387
    13
    91
    Aug 20, 2013
    El Dorado County, Ca
    Hi everyone! Okay so I have a bit of a problem. One of our friends had a single chicken and one of heir neighbors saw the hen. So the neighbor decided to call the city and complain. Anyway, the city made her get rid of the chicken and we now have her. She loves people way more than any of my other chickens, and never tries to hurt them. Over the past couple of days I have been trying to integrate them outside of the coop, but all three of my hens continue to gang up on her and attack her. She doesn't fight back, just lays on the ground and tries to protect her comb and neck, since that is what they attack. You would think that after a couple days of this that they would just stop, since they've clearly shown who's boss, but they don't. I also know it's not the best idea to introduce a single hen at a time. Our local feed store is getting chicks this Friday. Would it maybe be a good idea to try and give the adopted hen some chicks? Being alone, do you think she could possibly adopt them as her own? I figure if I got two chicks then when they grow up and are with the adopted hen, I could introduce them all then. Then having three established hens and here new ones would balance out a little more. Any feedback on this? It's the only thing I can think of to do. Plus, who doesn't want more chicks. :rolleyes:
    Thanks again!
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens do NOT like new comers! It can also be very hard to integrate just one new bird since the others just fixate on it. What you need to do is fence off an area for her next to them or fence off part of the run for her so she can spend her days next to them but not be attacked. Let everybody get used to seeing her around each day. I usually do this for a couple weeks, though it can take longer for a single new bird. At night you can let her sleep in the coop in a dog crate or other cage if you have one, again so they can see her but not get to her.

    Another thing you can try is penning her by herself and putting the lowest ranking hen from your flock in with her and see how it goes. If they do ok then leave them and after a while add the next hen. Keep doing this until you finally add the boss hen in and see if things settle down. There will still be normal pecking order scuffles no matter what you do, you just don't want things getting so out of hand that they draw blood. Also, once they get it in their head to attack like that sometimes you won't break them of it. This is the reason I don't do single new birds anymore, way to much hassle! Groups are so much easier.

    Edited to add: Your new hen will not accept new chicks as her own unless she has been broody for a few weeks. She would be likely to attack them. Same with your other birds. New chicks would have to be brooder raised until they were about the same size as the others and then integrated.

    Good luck, hope it works out for you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  3. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    387
    13
    91
    Aug 20, 2013
    El Dorado County, Ca
    Okay thankyou! The only problem is the lowest ranking hen is by far the biggest aggressor. She drew blood after just a few seconds of having them near each other. That same chicken also attacks me. Seeing how she is treating the new bird as well as me, she may not be around too long. The other two hens do nip at her and chase her, but they haven't drawn blood yet. The other has pulled feathers and drawn blood! I have a feeling things would just be made so much easier with her gone. I may just try seperating the overly aggressive hen and keep her there until the other he. Is integrated. Would that work? Also, I still want to get new chicks anyway, so I will raise them in a brooder inside. I am going to add one ameracauna and one jersey giant. Being that the JGs are so big, I think it will help in the integrating factor. Again, thanks!
     
  4. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

    506
    40
    126
    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I had almost the exact same situation, and it took me about 3 weeks to resolve it. What I did was first, keep the new hen in a cage in the main run, where the other chickens can see her but not peck her. I did that for a week. Then I put the new girl on the roost with the others at night. She still got severely bullied though. I made some hiding places for her by hanging a tarp in the run, which she would crawl under.

    Like your situation, the bottom-ranking hen was the worst aggressor. So I ended up removing that hen and keeping her in a cage out of sight of everyone else for a week. While that hen was gone, the new girl grew much more confident. When I finally put the aggressive hen back, first I did so by just putting her in the run during the day. Everyone else beat her up too much though and drew a little blood. So then I kept her in the cage in the run overnight. The next day, I let them all free range together and things were much better. The previously aggressive hen now shows no interest in the new girl, and she is part of the flock again. If some of the other hens had continued being overly aggressive toward the new girl, I would have done this to each of them one by one.

    Good luck!
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, definitely pull out that nasty bird for a good time out! Then see if things go a little better with the new one. Normal pecking order stuff is fine, brutal attacks are not! Once the other birds settle in you can try putting the mean one back in and see if her attitude has toned down at all lol! Good luck!
     
  6. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    387
    13
    91
    Aug 20, 2013
    El Dorado County, Ca
    Thanks Amina and Ca! How far would be too far as far as pecking order stuff? The one hen who ripped out feathers and made the new hen bleed obviously took it too far, b what about the other two? They would chase her around the run and peck her neck, but never draw blood or rip out feathers. She would also squat down, being submissive id guess, and they would sit there and peck her every few seconds. I made them stop due to not being sure, but is that acceptable? Thanks again for helping me through this guys! :D
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    What I consider too far is when they gang up, corner the new bird and just make an all out attack, drawing blood and with intent to harm, large amounts of feathers pulled out and obvious injuries.

    What I consider normal is running up to deliver a peck on the new birds shoulder, grabbing and pulling the tail as the new bird passes by, maybe a short chase now and then, an occasional beak full of feathers pulled out, all normal pecking order stuff but no real harm done.
     
  8. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    387
    13
    91
    Aug 20, 2013
    El Dorado County, Ca
    Okay thank you. So seems like they were fine then. They mostly just chase her and peck her, but never even rip out feathers. Except for the one hen who goes into all out attack mode. I will be Seperating her then. Thanks so much! I will keep posting here if I need for help and to let you know how things are going. :D
     
  9. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    387
    13
    91
    Aug 20, 2013
    El Dorado County, Ca
    Okay, so she's in the coop with the two hens that aren't too mean to her. Eh still peck at her and chase her around a lot, but she never bleeds or gets feathers pulled out. Any estimation on how long this could go on for? She has been in there a whole day now, but how long will she be chased and pecked for?
     
  10. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

    506
    40
    126
    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I'd say this will last a week minimum... Probably more like 2-3, from my recent experience. :/ if you can, give the new girl a few places to hide. I hung up a tarp in the run that my new pullet used. Extra perches in the run are good too. Put down scratch or hang up greens to keep the other girls distracted. Also, make sure the new one is eating and drinking enough.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by