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Chickens Won't Get Along--Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jiff, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Jiff

    Jiff Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2009
    Bennett, NC
    We currently have 5 chickens that live together, 2 roos and 3 hens. The two roos and one of the hens were raised together and are a little over a year old, and my other two girls were raised together and are about two and a half years old. They have a two story rabbit hutch type cage with an approximately 8x8 fenced in "outside" area; they cannot free-range due to predators in my area. When they are all upstairs (the main floor of the coop where roosts and feeders are), they all seem to get along. However, during the day when we open the door so that they can go downstairs, they separate into two groups. My Cochin roo always goes downstairs with my two Dominique girls, and my Silkie hen and roo stay upstairs. When I try to put the Silkie roo or hen (or both) outside with the other chickens, they get attacked. All of the other chickens attack the roo, and my Dominique hens both try to beat up my Silkie hen. I feel really bad because when I isolate the Silkies outside and lock everyone else in the coop, they really enjoy being outside. This in itself can be challenging because the Silkie roo is aggressive towards me and makes it hard for me to handle him or his Silkie hen. I feel like they aren't getting the life that they deserve since they are stuck in the coop most of the time. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this better? They've all been living together for 10+ months now, so they are all used to each other. I really don't want to re-home any of them since I've raised them since they were a day old, but I will if it will be the best thing for them. If I had to do this, if I just re-homed the Silkie roo would the other chickens ever accept my Silkie hen--even though my other hens are extremely aggressive to her now? Or would it be better to re-home the pair since they are always together? I welcome any other suggestions, or any advice. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. ChicksterJo

    ChicksterJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 19, 2011
    Grounded on Earth
    I think what most people will say is that having 2 roos for 3 hens is too much. With the three hens, you can try separating one of the ones that is aggressive from the other two. Maybe set up a separated, caged area of your run for the aggressor. I think it works better if you are able to get the two aggressors separated so that their "group" is broken and they have to establish another pecking order.
     
  3. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I've also heard that silkies can often be the victims of bullying. Sometimes if you separate the instigator for a few days, it will change the group dynamic.
     
  4. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    I agree...two roos to three hens is way to much..sometimes ONE roo is hard on three hens. I would remove one of the roos. And I agree with removing the aggressive hen for a while. I did that with one of mine and it did help her calm down. I had to do it a total of three times but she finally got the hint and then behaved her self. She got sick of getting 'time outs'.
     
  5. Stingrayg4

    Stingrayg4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Oklahoma
    You either need one less rooster or a much bigger run.

    -S
     
  6. Jiff

    Jiff Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2009
    Bennett, NC
    Thanks for the help. I am considering two options now--re-home my silkie roo or separate the cages up. I do have a concern though. As I said, my silkie hen gets constantly beat up by my two bigger girls--so even if I separate one of them, she still gets attacked by the one she is with. I don't know if she would be able to peacefully live with the big girls and cochin rooster if we got rid of the silkie rooster. If I got another full grown hen to join the flock, could that be a way to make everyone re-establish pecking order? She's very tiny and I don't want to see her hurt if she's all alone.
     
  7. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. we used to have 2 roo's(1cripled) and 10 hens The poor cripple roo would get attacked so we would let him free range any where he wanted to go and the others were free range in a confined area around the barn and pig pen. At nite when the chickens went to roost we would put him in. He would jump up on the roost with the rest . Then in the morning we would let him out to go where he wanted and the others back to their area. Worked great.
     
  8. silkeysandra

    silkeysandra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2008
    grand prairie, tx
    you will need to put your main bully hen away from the others at least during the day for about 3 days. That shoves her to the bottom of the pecking order and she no longer has the authority to bully anyone. Let us know if it works.
     
  9. confusedturtle

    confusedturtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2011
    Virginia
    We had to rehome one of our roos today and it wasnt as bad as I thought it would be. I was worried that the pullet we bought him with would be lonely. The 2 of them foraged together, ate together, dust bathed together they were inseperable. The 2 of them would not forage near the other 3 (2 hens & a roo) so they were a huge PIA to get back into the coop when it was time to. Since they separated themselves from the flock they were more on the flighty wild side whereas my other 3 are pretty tame. After getting rid of the roo (gave him back to original owner) the pullet seems fine. She hangs with other girls now and is not getting picked on at all which was another fear I had. It seems to have brought a little peace to my little flock and when i let them range today I will see if it has also helped my sanity & back when it comes time to put them back inside LoL! Im sure you will do the best thing for your flock, I wish I could tell you what is best for them but that is something only you can figure out [​IMG]
     
  10. Duxbury Hen

    Duxbury Hen New Egg

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    Sep 15, 2012
    I have a similar problem.. I have 4 hens raised together 2 RI Reds 2 Black sexlinks I added 2 Easter Eggers who are about 8 weeks younger that I've also raised from about a day or so.. I introduced them together a while back but my "big girls" have always bullied the two smaller hens and the Easter Eggers never try to defend themselves they just cower in a corner of the run..there was never blood or obvious evidence of serious problem until this week, where I saw that they had pecked the feathers off one one their thighs leaving raw open sore. I've now separated the 4 original hens from the other two who are inseparable .. I've tried putting 2 of the big girls away so it would be more even but it doesn't seem to matter ..the ones who are on the bottom of the pecking order take advantage and step up when they're alone with them... I really want to make this work of all out
    But I'm at my wits end of what to do so that everyone has a good quality of life ..
    Suggestions? Please and thanks
     

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