Big fat fight when I introduced the new hen to the two-chicken flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Carolyn252, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    HennyPenny and ChickenLittle were raised together and are the BEST of girlfriends. HennyPenny is a great big Black Marans and is clearly the Alpha bird.
    ChickenLittle is a passive, shy, quiet White Splash Araucana. Both about two years old. They are never more than a few inches from each other. ChickenLittle's
    thoughts about her big black best friend are definitely, "Whither thou goest, I will go."

    So yesterday about an hour before dusk, I left HennyPenny out to continue free ranging and brought ChickenLittle into the coop-and-run setup and then brought my brand new two year old gorgeous brown-feathered EE into the coop and run. I couldn't believe it!! ChickenLittle attacked her with a vengeance. Feathers flew!! Talons full frontal attacks to the chest. Lots of squawking.
    Oy. The EE finally flew to the roof of the coop and stayed there.

    When it was full dark, and both best buds were on the roost and fast asleep, I tip toed in and lifted the sleepy EE from the roof and put her on the roost board next to the other two.

    At six thirty this morning, just at first light, I watched HennyPenny and ChickenLittle fly down to the ground and start their day. After an hour, with the EE still too frightened to come down off the roost,
    I reached in and got her. Put her down and YIKES ! ChickenLittle was having none of it!!!! Feathers and woodshavings swirled everywhere, and the EE flew to my shoulder for refuge. Thank goodness I was completely covered with my heavy winter coat with the hood.

    Brainstorming.... what to do??????? So here's what I did. I put ChickenLittle outside to free range and left the EE inside with HennyPenny. Amazing: They are completely OK with each other. Remarkable!!!

    So, I scooped up ChickenLittle and put her in "time out" in the makeshift temporary quarantine set up that I have in the garage. That's where I've been keeping the EE for the past three days, since I got her. (I know, I know, I'm supposed to quarantine for 30 days at least, but I KNEW I'd never have the patience for that. DH and I took a flashlight to her at midnight two days ago and examined her skin very carefully. No sign of mites or lice or anything. And she's been eating, drinking, and pooping just fine. I looked at her poops too; no visible worms.)

    I'm going to leave ChickenLittle in time out for a week (at least), hoping that when I bring her back into the regular coop and run, she'll be the low gal on the totem pole and not fight with the EE. (Patience, patience...)
  2. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2010
    Would keep doing what you are doing. It will take time.
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    What I would do is put the new hen in the coop at dark again. Then I would find the treat the girls like the best and give them just a bit with the new hen as well. I would also stay with them and break up the fight over and over til they get the idea this is not to be. You must play the role of the rooster. If you had a rooster he would not tolerate this fighting. Get a straw broom and every time they come together get between them and give them the brush off firm but not so firm you hurt them.

    Be patient

  4. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    I wish you good luck:fl We will be introducing chickens to ours in march. but to hear of putting a chicken in timeout [​IMG]. I do not mean to sound mean. Just when I read it it did it .. I appreciate the advance warning. I pray it works. Once again no offense meant.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The next time you introduce a chicken to your flock, try this method:

    Set up a temporary coop and run inside or next to your regular run. If inside the main run, use chicken wire and garden stakes to make the pen. Use a dog house, or rabbit hutch, or build a small "grow out" coop. Doesn't have to be magnificent.

    Put the bird(s) - oh, yes, I recommend introducing two or more at a time, not singletons! - into this segregation/integration coop/run area for two weeks. They get their own feeder and waterer, too. They can see the original flock, the original flock can see them. They'll be able to do chest bumps and squawk and peck AT each other, but cause no damage or injury to anybody.

    At the end of two weeks, just remove the temporary fence. When the Original Chickens meet the New Chickens, it will be more a case of "Who are YOU? Oh, yah, I know you. You're no stranger. Stay away from MY food, don't expect to get ahead of ME at treat time!" but that's about it.

    I do this every time I introduce either youngsters or adult birds into my flock. It's been a very successful integration method for me.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Doesn't surprise me a bit that chickenlittle was the territorial one. My 2nd in command is my "heavy." I think the top bird has nothing to prove, but the others down the pecking order do. My lead hen is probably my most tolerant bird...
  7. firsthouse_mp

    firsthouse_mp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2009
    Same issue lowest in the order got the most alarmed when she saw the others in the new flock. I think she wanted to make sure that they knew she was above them! See my recent post "How I integrate my two flocks".
  8. chicchick

    chicchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 6, 2009
    Eastern Massachusetts
    This must explain why my #3 girl is going all nuts on the #4 who is recovering from injuries and trying to get back in the flock. #1 is too cool to get involved. #2 is vocal and muscles #4 around. #3 out and out attacks #4. Just trying to keep the order, I guess?
  9. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    I often free range and have found the best option for me, which may not be the best for you. I do try to just put the new chicken(s) in with the established ones, but that only works on occasion. Most of the time I have to slowly introduce the new chicken(s). I will let them all free range together for a week or two, lock them up separately at night. Then when I feel they have at least established a basic pecking order I will free range as normal but at night lock them up together. Still keeping an eye on any over aggressive behavior. Still let them free range but might have to still move the new one(s) to the new sleeping area. If they refuse to sleep in the cope after a week or so I just keep them all locked up in the coop (it does have a run) for a few days. That way they should come to realize "Hey I'm supposed to sleep here".

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