Bullying when confined to run

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lbegley, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. lbegley

    lbegley Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Last Summer I added 2 hens (Delaware and Russian Orloff) to my existing flock of 2 hens (an Ameraucana and a Silver Laced Wyandotte). When I initially added them to the run the two older hens took turns jumping on the Delaware's back and pecking at her face. I separated them after 10 min.
    SOoooo... I started to let them all free range in backyard, to get them acquainted, and for the last 6 months, they've been fine out in the yard, scratching for bugs side by side,,, but as soon as I confine them to the run (it's about 80sq ft) the older chickens immediately attack the Delaware (also the orloff, but she's very timid and hides from them and doesn't get it as bad). They all roost together in the coop at night, but once confined within the run they go nuts!

    I need to get these girls back in the run,,, and not pooping all over my porch! I wonder if in the past I have interfered too early, before they were able to establish their rules? The Delaware is now the largest girl, healthy and outgoing, but I'm afraid to leave her with the old gals who immediately go for her face (maybe because of her red comb??) The run seems to be big enough, shady enough, plenty of food, water, etc, and I confined the original hens there without problem for a year. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!!!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Perhaps the quickest solution would be to buy some Pinless Peepers to put on the two original birds. Once the 'new' birds regain their courage and perhaps kick the butts of the 'originals' you may be able to remove the Pinless Peeprs.
     
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd make sure there are hiding places in the run, and let them work it out. It can take over a week for birds to decide who's boss of who, so you'll just have to give them the time. Don't intervene unless there's a fair amount of blood--small drops from a little break in the skin is ok, and remember a tiny break in a comb can bleed like crazy, but it's not dangerous.
     
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  4. lbegley

    lbegley Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Thanks for the suggestions!
    I added some hiding places and have been keeping an eye on them. The Delaware's butt has been plucked, because she's started hiding her head in the corner when the older gals come around, but things seem to be mellowing since I put them in last night. The original ladies are now more interested in the constant addition of scraps and treats I'm tossing in and will walk near the Delaware without bothering her. Fingers crossed!
     
  5. lbegley

    lbegley Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2012
    Everyone is getting along fine now! I'm pretty sure I was just interfering before the ladies had a chance to sort things out amongst themselves.
     

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