Can you reset a pecking order if you just have two chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheSpiceGirls, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    My JG is pecking at my BO. I thought it was just a random thing but it's not. The JG even bullies the BO off the roosting bar.

    I know you can separate a bully for a week to reset the pecking order. But if I put the JG in the garage for a week in a pen. Then the BO will be all by herself and both will be lonely.

    HELP. What would you do if you were me? The BO is going through a hard molt and is down 1.5 lbs and I can't have her being bullied and not eating.

    What would you do if you were me?
     
  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In all honesty, I would add at least one more bird to your flock (think that if your JG was a rooster, "he" would need more than one hen). That way, even if the JG remains dominant, it would deflect some of her bullying from your BO, and give her a chance to get away and get to the food, water, or other resources. Unfortunately, you would still need to quarantine the new bird(s) for a time to ensure you arent introducing new "bugs" to your birds.

    I would pick a large (to make the JG rethink using her size as a tool to bully), docile (to make sure your more submissive BO stands a chance) breed, and honestly, add more than just one, that way your two original girls won't gang up on the new girl. How about a couple of cochins or more BOs?

    EDIT: You can also keep the JG in a dog crate IN the coop to keep the BO company until you get new birds to upset the established pecking order (If you DONT want to get more birds, at least keeping the JG in a dog crate until your BO is over her moult will allow her to get to the food and water without getting run off). Adding some more roosts may also help.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    I can't get a rooster. I'm in the city and it's not allowed. But I agree, that would be the best option.

    I had to put the JG in a dog crate once before when she was ill and she went ballistic. I'm afraid she'll hurt herself. I have this 3'by 3' pen that I'm going to set up in the garage after dinner and put the JG in there tonight. They are both going to be lonely but I'm less worried about the JG. She'll be fine. And the BO will probably be happy not to be pecked all the time and bullied away from food. This way I can really fatten her back up.

    It's less than ideal I fully realize. And if it doesn't work out, I can put them back together.

    But the BO is my very special hen and I'll do anything to protect her. I want to get more BO's but I've missed my window this year so I'll buy them as soon as possible next year. But that doesn't help my situation now. I'm so ANGRY. [​IMG]
     
  4. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you tried craigslist locally? There is an explosion of chickens available in my area right now...especially from people who are getting rid of old spent hens if you don't mind a space heater around? Will the 3x3 pen fit in your coop so they can at least see eachother?

    You may also ask around BYC for hens...probably safer to get them here than other places as far as biosecurity is concerned, and that way you don't have to wait for them to be large enough to put in with your girls...although getting babies may be safer as far as disease control.

    I know how you feel. BOs are really wonderful amazing birds. I lost my baby girl to a predator last year. Butter was the BEST chicken ever. I loved her. I hope everything works out for you [​IMG]
     
  5. boogiedog

    boogiedog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, I am in the Bay Area (Oakland) and will likely have some young pullets (standard) avail shortly. Currently I only have pullet banties. Feel free to pm me.
     
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:REALLY??? What do you having coming up? I REALLY want Orpingtons. My Ginger is just the sweetest thing and I don't want anything that is going to bully her anymore. I'm not sure I want to go the bantie root but maybe. I feel kind of desperate. I was hoping to hold out till January when I could get Orpington chicks and get those raised but I may not have that option.
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Yes, the 3 by 3 pen will fit in my run. But will that really work to reset the pecking order?

    Or what would that achieve other than to really irritate the JG?
     
  8. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I second the idea of getting another pullet or hen. You won't have trouble finding one, you can probably even find a BO on Craigslist. I have had 2 chickens before and had trouble with them getting along. I agree that the third hen will shift the balance and give the BO a fighting chance.
     
  9. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I had an EE who was a bully too. I gave her away two months ago when she wailed on my BO while we were gone on vacation for a week and the neighbor watching them didn't understand the signs.

    Thus, the reason I'm down to two.

    I'm going to build out my temporary pen in the garage after dinner and separate them. They won't be happy but it's the best option I have at this point. Even if I buy another pullet today, I have to isolate her for a month in quarantine. So I'm kind of hosed one way or another.

    The JG won't be happy but she'll be fine. And the BO will probably appreciate being able to eat in peace.

    I can always re-introduce them and if it doesn't work, well, I tried.
     
  10. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know if putting her in the pen where they see eachother will reset the pecking order, but being in line of sight will be comforting to both of them...Im not sure you will have much luck resetting the pecking order with only two hens. What I mean though, is you may be able to keep them separate and within line of sight of eachother if resetting the flock dynamic doesn't work, until you can get the new babies you want. One thing I have noticed about getting babies though, is that it takes them quite a while to integrate themselves into the original flock, and actually willingly "hang out" with the original birds. My babies are just now starting to hang out as a single flock with my original girls.

    I would put an add up in the want to buy section on BYC, and see what people have to offer. You may be suprised what's available right now. Im growing out some babies that are around 10 or 11 weeks right now, and when they get a bit bigger, and decide which ones Im keeping, I will be selling the rest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011

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