Completely Messed up my Flock Hierarchy

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chullicken, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Dorchester, NH
    Recently tried to reintroduce a recovered hen after a weasel incident to the remaining two I have. Used a modified dog crate and put her inside the run. What followed was pure and complete, unadulterated chaos. Was like I had a front row seat to a cock fight within 10 minutes of setting the cage down. The two hens just went complete beat down on each other and the caged hen tried her best to join in. Now I have a recovered hen in a separate house I had and two remaining in the chicken run, but they won't deal with each other. One doesn't go in the coop now and the other mopes around with an injured eye (Treated with antibacterial spray). They seemed very depressed lately to begin with, now its just a hot mess. These are pets to me and I am completely stressed out now and have absolutely no idea how to make things right again short of not having these chickens anymore. Any advice is welcomed before I stroke out. Thank you in advance.

    3 Red Sex Links
    2.5 Years Old
    16 Sq f Coop
    40 Sq f Run
    Layer Feed/Mixed Greens/Cracked Corn
    6 Years Experience
     
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  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Well, I think it will get better. It may take a bit, and some scuffles. Do you have anything in your run. Such as hideouts, a pallet against a wall, a pallet up on blocks? A roost maybe kitty corner in the run. Try adding a mini wall where a bird can stand behind it and get out of sight of the other birds in the run. Too many runs I see, are just an open rectangle where a bird can be seen by any other birds in the run.

    Another trick is, put the two pair that were together originally outside in your yard, and put the one that you doctored into the run/coop set up by herself, so she can re-adjust to the set up, and the other birds see her there. Leave them outside until nearly dark, then let them all in. The urge to roost will be strong enough to keep the fighting to the minimum. If all of the hens do not go in, place them in the coop, but do not shut the chicken door to the run.

    It may take a few times of this, but I think it will all be well.

    Mrs K
     
  3. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Dorchester, NH
    Currently my run is 7' x 7' which originally had five in it, one I put down after a predator attack and one died of some sever internal hemorrhaging. So its been a hard year for my ladies. They have two roost in the run, approx. three feet in length on separate walls, a fruit crate that is hollow inside I use to set their water on and a 4 x 4 cubby underneath the coop itself. Coop has two separate three foot roost inside opposite each other as well. I mean I've had the same chickens for a few years and have always just had new ones all at once so I really have no experience in introducing new birds. Just horrified at what happened, they're all bloodied up now and one has an eye injury as I mentioned (Looked fine yesterday, think its just swelling from being hit). I'll add in some faux walls this week see if it helps. See the former top hen ended up loosing so now she hates the run and coop (Sleeps in the run now in the fruit box) while the new 'leader' acts weird and struts around kind of timid. Third is housed in her own condo and seems like she is slowly adjusting from being inside for two weeks. And the Austrolorp has her own house as the others like to maul her when she goes broody. Not sure if its because they are Sex Links and known to be aggressive or I'm just a complete hot mess over here. Never had this many issues in this amount of time.
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    western South Dakota
    Just go out at night, and put everyone back in the coop. It may take a few times, but by day three I would expect them to be back to normal. Chickens get notions, give them a new notion.

    I really don't ever separate chickens because often it causes more problems than it solves. If you do have to separate them, then do so in the dog crate in the set up. They have very small brains and really think this is a stranger bird come to eat all their food.

    Sounds crazy, but rearrange your run by moving the fruit crate and feed stations into different places, but a bale of hay or straw in there, move the roosts if possible, add a ladder or a saw horse, but change it up, so that it is kind of strange to everyone. This will help reset all of them together.

    If there is no blood, then ignore it, unless they get one trapped. If they get one trapped, break it up, and change it so they can't get trapped there again. It will get better in 3 days as long as you do not separate them again.

    Mrs K
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    That's crazy!!
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Chicken keeping isn't always simple. Best of luck...Cut out all treats and see if that changes the behaviour.
     
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  7. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    All three of them look like they went nine rounds of bare knuckle boxing, swollen and bloody. Sprayed as much as I could with Vetericyn given they wouldn't even come near me for the red of the day. I have never experienced anything like this before. Good news is when I got home all the greens I left this morning were gone finally after being untouched for a day and looks like one or both did some scratching through the hay/straw piles for stuff.
     
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  8. SW31

    SW31 Songster

    We had the same problem - I didn’t realise lovely chickens could turn into crazy Kung fu fighters! We had to nurse two of the four hens in our house, for two months, while the other two continued in the run outside. No one were they going to share the run with the other two even though they had all been living peacefully before.

    Our trick was to walk them all out of the run and around the garden. They were so excited to be in the garden and free range they forgot they had become sworn enemies. OH and I watched them carefully as two of the hens still had quite a bit of bare skin. It was a slow bonding process but, in their eyes, free ranging beat having a fight!
     
  9. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Dorchester, NH
    Oh that is interesting. My three had the same situation, just beat up with bloody combs. Was horrified. The added one started out puffed up but then saw some greens and did the happy clucking noise as the two others slammed into the cage. So two live in some sort of chicken peace treaty and seem to be getting back to normal while the other one has her very own house. Its winter here so I can't get them all out at once unfortunately. Think I will just make her and my other solo chicken their own house and runs where they can interact but not touch. Two others, well they can stay in their home (Which I am in the process of building a new coop for them anyway prior to this) Decided just to make one big coop with micro coops inside it and individual runs and when I get some new ones this spring they will have their own house as well. Thank you for the input!
     
  10. Chullicken

    Chullicken Songster

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    Apr 10, 2016
    Dorchester, NH
    Sadly my reintroduction 'House Chicken' died in the night. She had so many on going issues since being sick, became my little special needs baby and my favorite at the same time. She couldn't walk right, blind in one eye, had some stability issues so could not use a ramp. Yesterday I noticed (After being peppy since my first post) she was walking slowly and very upright. That after noon she was just sitting like a penguin not active or interested in anything around her which has become unusual. Her poop turned from normal to green with black where the white usually is and her butt remained poopy butt. I just could never seem to pin point her issues other than the obvious. She had been wormed and was on a diet high in Riboflavin which seemed to get her walking better. Since no laying was taking place for months, she had been on a feather fixer regime which was showing great success, she had never looked better. Comb was the usual color and up until yesterday her appetite was amazing. I guess I will never know which bothers me more.
     
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