Aggression- how much is too much?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by clemston, May 21, 2011.

  1. clemston

    clemston Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2011
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    I'm trying to slowly introduce my 8.5-week old EE chicks to my flock of 6 hens. They've been in a dog kennel in the coop for about 3-4 weeks and are starting to get really bored and pooping WAY too much for such a small space. I've let the out in the yard (free ranging) with the big girls a couple of times with a few minor confrontations (a face-to-face stare down and a peck to the face from one of the big girls), but generally OK. Earlier this week one of my RIRs chased one of the chicks and took a little bit of tail fluff. This morning when I let the chicks out, the same RIR demonstrated she's hell-bent on getting these chicks. She stalked and chased them several times- grabbing tail feathers as they ran in the other direction. She's pretty relentless. Each time (for fear of the chicks getting hurt) I've interceded and moved the hen elsewhere.

    Should I just let them figure it out? Will she ever come to terms with them, or is there a chance this just won't work?
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    If it were me, I'd let them all out together and give them enough time to duke it out. Watch them of course, let them do their pecking as long as it doesn't get out of hand. If it does get out of hand, I would remove the offending hen for a few days to bring her down in the pecking order. Then try again. If all of your birds are about the same size, and the have room to get away and plenty of hiding spaces they should be fine. Good luck!
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You might have to stop trying this integration until the younger chicks are full grown, for fear this will escalate to killing.

    You say you have removed the hen. What happens then? You could try keeping the aggressive hen out for a week or so to drop her to the bottom of the pecking order, if the rest of the flock are OK with the chicks. If.

    I have one hen, an older EE, who tends to be aggressive to everyone, though not to the point of attacking to kill. A few weeks ago I "pecked" her for a few days, every time she showed her high place in the pecking order. I didn't hurt her, of course. Mostly I tapped her with a very lightweight stick, just to send the message. It seems to have changed her behavior.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=509011
     
  4. clemston

    clemston Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Naples, FL
    When I move her she gets aggitated. She jumps on top of things to get a high perspective on the yard and just tries to find the chicks again. When I finally (safely) locked the chicks in the chicken run she paced the side trying to figure out what to do.

    I know I'm pushing it when they're not full grown and I can make-do with them seperate until then. Uggh. Can't we all just get along?
     
  5. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have another pen or truck you could use to isolate her for a while?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I wish they could. Sometimes they do better than others.

    Maybe you can "reset" this hen's brain by isolating her for a week or so; you'd have to be determined. I wish you luck.
     
  7. clemston

    clemston Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Naples, FL
    This week I put my chicks (now about 10 weeks old or so?) with my hens and SO FAR SO GOOD!! [​IMG]

    The first couple days/nights they huddled together in a corner of the coop (or in one of the nest boxes) but I haven't seen any injuries. They seem to be loosening up a bit but they still won't go out into the yard much. On my most recent check they're hanging out relatively close to the hens ... fingers will remained crossed for a few more days!

    On another note, now that they're all together they'll need to eat the same food-- is starting them on layer feed now bad? I've still got quite a bit of chick starter left... can I mix the two together or should I just find someone to take my chick food off my hands?
     

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