Advice needed; Agressive Top Hen v. Terrified Bottom Pullet

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_In_The_Burbs, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Western Washington
    Hi everyone! Well, about three or four weeks ago we finally integrated our two flocks of three hens (1 year olds and 5 month olds) after giving them a month to stare at eachother from separate runs. Everyone seems to be getting along ok except for Scrambles (EE), the Top Hen and Salsa (Hamburg). Scrambles's fine with her sisters, the 'original' flock. And she seems to have accepted Freckles, the most dominant of the new girls but she is routinely attacking Velvet and Salsa. She's not pulling feathers or anything, it's more like running charges and pecking whenever she feels like it. I'm not too worried about Velvet (Australorp) as she doesn't seem to mind the aggression too much and isn't aggressed more than once or twice a day but Salsa...

    Salsa is tiny. She spends most of her day as far from Scrambles as possible (not far, as the run is only about 40 square feet). Scrambles charges her multiple times a day and it's gotten so bad that Salsa refuses to go into the coop at night (We have to put her in ourselves, she perches on the nest box/side of the coop.) and she doesn't even try to come close when treats are being offered. I have to use distraction methods with the big girls to give her a shot at a bite or two. She runs from ALL the big girls so I don't think it's a straight dominance/challenge issue. It seems more that Scrambles just flat isn't accepting her as part of the flock and I don't know what to do about it.

    My DH and I have both tried asserting ourselves as The Rooster when we are in the run and Scrambles starts in on either of them but it doesn't seem to be having much, if any, effect.

    I've thought of three possible solutions.

    #1- Move Salsa into the old coop and get two more (bantams?) for her to be friends with. I'd have to get the new two first, quarantine and then introduce Salsa. Or (Option 1B) maybe seperate Salsa and Velvet and get two mellow hens to replace them in the main flock?
    #2-Figure out some way to get Scrambles to chill out and accept her. Not sure how to do this to start with and I'm fairly busy during the day (my son is 2 months old and takes up the lion's share of my time)
    #3- Find a new home for Salsa (Seriously don't want to do this; she's the only chicken my DH picked out and I don't want to see her go)

    Any advise is welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone?
     
  3. greenegglover

    greenegglover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All I can say is Chicken and dumplings sounds kind of good right now!
     
  4. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would give it a little more time. They will work things out.
     
  5. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Take the top hen Srambles out of the mix,put her by herself for a few day or a week and then put her back,that may bring her rank down and things may go better.I have a squirt bottle filled with water and anytime there is a conflict going on I squrit the bad one/
     
  6. CherryChick

    CherryChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 5month old pullets and 4 4month old EE.
    When I first introduced them (after having a period of time where they could just stare at each other to get to know them.) They didn't get along at all with the younger girls. They would chase them, peck them, and charge them. Especially Big Mamma ( the dominant hen) It took a while to get the pecking order established. About 3 weeks maybe a little longer. But now they are all fine and they usually stay in their cliuqes but they aren't aggressive towards each other anymore.
    I would give it time. [​IMG]
     
  7. savingpurple

    savingpurple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All 7 of mine were raised together for the most part, the 2 leghorn, were seperated while they healed, for a few weeks, and they were fine until a month or so ago.....one hen, just started attcking all 5 of my NH hens.....badly I might add. She doesn't go after the other leghorn though?

    I wish you luck, I have tried every piece of advice offfered on here, and it just has made no difference at all. She presently is transported from coop at night to run during the day, crated, so she can be with the other hens, but can't attack. She is such a good hen to me, and my family. LOVES to be held, and have her back rubbed. But after yesterday, when I tried yet again to let her out to enjoy a dust bath, and a good stretch of the legs, well, she really went wild attacking anyone who got in her way, or didn't. She had 2 cornered in the coop, and had one by the comb, on the ground, and was shaking, and when she lost hold, she would peck her violently, until she could get a hold of the comb again. The other hen finally got up, and ran outside. They are terrrified to go inside the coop. Wonder if that's why some haven't satrted to lay yet.

    I am trying to convince myself to have an enjoyable dinner one night...not there yet, but getting there !!! Getting there fast! I guess I have gotten there, with the idea that she has to go, but what I am having the trouble convincing myself is to do the deed myself!

    Good luck! I hope your hen has more sense than mine to settle down and play nice.
     
  8. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Western Washington
    Quote:Yikes! Scrambles isn't that bad, thank goodness. All her temper is directed at the bottom two, not EVERYONE...

    I'd try the waterbottle but I'm not out there enough to make a big difference (2 month old son to tend). Seperating Scrambles out for a while MIGHT work, but my other coop is very close to the new so everyone would still be able to see her.

    Oh, question! Does molting make a difference? Scrambles is i the middle of a molt right now (soft molt, she just looks a bit off in the feathers on the back of her neck). Could that be making her more craby than usual?
     
  9. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a dog crate or some kind of cage that you could put her in and put her in your garage or cellar for a few days?
     
  10. MKingsolver

    MKingsolver Out Of The Brooder

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    Chick_in_the_burbs please know that you are not alone as I am going through the very same thing right now. There has been absolutely no peace since I introduced a new SLW into my flock. She truly has it out for one of my EE's and no matter how long I've kept her separated, the bad behavior resumes as soon as she is introduced. She will purposely sort that one out, chase it all over, pin it down and peck it, and now has taken to pulling the EE's tail feathers out. I haven't tried the squirt gun method but then again I can't be there watching them all the time.

    So, I've decided to rehome her. I feel it's probably best for her, for the rest of my girls, and for my sanity. She is going to a nice family who have about 4 other chickens and they free range all day. While I will miss her because she is a really sweet bird to me, I won't miss the squawks and tending to wounds she's left behind.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope that whatever you decide to do will bring you peace.
     

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