Chicken Bullies

ryandd59

Hatching
Sep 6, 2019
4
5
9
Eastern Virginia
Hi! I've recently added a few new chickens to my existing small flock of hens. I had two buff brahmas and one new hampshire red, all of which were already laying. About two weeks ago, I added three golden comets to the flock, one was already laying and another was getting started. I have a smaller coop, plenty of space for the new additions tho, along with three nesting boxes. They also have a run, but are only confined to it until I wake up in the morning and can open the gate. I also keep water in the run and outside the run and change it twice per day. Everyone who was laying, was laying in the nesting boxes. There was plenty of pecking for the first week or so, which has settled down for the most part. Now I'm noticing that the big chickens (brahmas and NH) are bullying the commets away from the waterer (three different waterers) and today I found an egg which I'm almost certain was from a comet laying near my porch. Obviously, I know they can't always get to the nest, but I'm afraid the issue is that the big chickens aren't letting the new chickens near the nesting box. If so, would adding a new nesting box closer to their favorite hangout help? Would the bullying move there instead? I was a bit frustrated from the beginning of this, but am getting closer to my wit's end. I hate to have to send the new girls away, but I've already separated the two flocks twice just for fear of them not being able to grab a drink... any help is more than welcome! Thanks :)
 

SurferchickinSB

Free Ranging
Feb 23, 2018
2,868
4,434
532
California
Hi! I've recently added a few new chickens to my existing small flock of hens. I had two buff brahmas and one new hampshire red, all of which were already laying. About two weeks ago, I added three golden comets to the flock, one was already laying and another was getting started. I have a smaller coop, plenty of space for the new additions tho, along with three nesting boxes. They also have a run, but are only confined to it until I wake up in the morning and can open the gate. I also keep water in the run and outside the run and change it twice per day. Everyone who was laying, was laying in the nesting boxes. There was plenty of pecking for the first week or so, which has settled down for the most part. Now I'm noticing that the big chickens (brahmas and NH) are bullying the commets away from the waterer (three different waterers) and today I found an egg which I'm almost certain was from a comet laying near my porch. Obviously, I know they can't always get to the nest, but I'm afraid the issue is that the big chickens aren't letting the new chickens near the nesting box. If so, would adding a new nesting box closer to their favorite hangout help? Would the bullying move there instead? I was a bit frustrated from the beginning of this, but am getting closer to my wit's end. I hate to have to send the new girls away, but I've already separated the two flocks twice just for fear of them not being able to grab a drink... any help is more than welcome! Thanks :)
I have nine chickens at the moment. Seven are full-grown hens and two are seven week old chicks. I just make sure there’s multiple waterers and multiple feed stations that are spread apart in different areas.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I love September
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
46,216
82,164
1,522
Wisconsin
How long have you been at it? You basically added intruders into you existing flock. The usual instinct is to attack, or give up the territory.

Accepting new members can take a long time. For chickens it's about guarding their resources for them and their potential offspring. It's not about bullying, that's a human emotion. It's all instincts.

Introductions of new birds should be taken slowly, and it can take months for a flock to forget some birds are new and for them to become a cohesive flock.
 

so lucky

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 31, 2011
1,249
2,854
372
SE Missouri
Could you add another nest box somewhere? You mentioned finding an egg near your porch, maybe nesting material put in a cat carrier there. Also, it won't hurt to put out more waterers and feeders. (I got the impression you let them free range all day, so you could arrange a different safe area for them)
I have added young birds to an existing flock. They never truly blended, but remained two flocks, but together, and peaceful, for the most part. Don't give up yet.
 

ryandd59

Hatching
Sep 6, 2019
4
5
9
Eastern Virginia
I went ahead and rigged up a new nesting box under my porch (their favorite spot) and made the entrance only big enough for the comets, the big girls are huge! I also decided to rummage the farm this weekend and put together a second coop for whoever wants it. The existing coop is about 8foot by 6 foot with two intersecting roosts one a few inches below the other. Even if no one uses a second coop, it’ll be a fun weekend project.

I guess my main concern is that the eggs have slowed down a bit since the new addition and I’m concerned that it’s stress so anything I can do to fix it seems worth it. Thanks for all the suggestions and input!
 

SurferchickinSB

Free Ranging
Feb 23, 2018
2,868
4,434
532
California
I went ahead and rigged up a new nesting box under my porch (their favorite spot) and made the entrance only big enough for the comets, the big girls are huge! I also decided to rummage the farm this weekend and put together a second coop for whoever wants it. The existing coop is about 8foot by 6 foot with two intersecting roosts one a few inches below the other. Even if no one uses a second coop, it’ll be a fun weekend project.

I guess my main concern is that the eggs have slowed down a bit since the new addition and I’m concerned that it’s stress so anything I can do to fix it seems worth it. Thanks for all the suggestions and input!
Stress and also the molting season. Mine are molting right now and are hardly laying any eggs. I think they may have also come into contact with a respiratory infection virus. I won’t know if the reason they are not laying is because of that until after they are done molting.Also, the weather has been really hot and humid here.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,222
138,804
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Another nest and coop might help.
6x8 sounds fine for 6 birds.

How long have you had the new birds?
Did you have them separated by wire for awhile....or just toss them in?

Oh, and...Welcome to BYC! @ryandd59
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
upload_2019-9-7_7-33-41.png


Here's some tips about....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom