Desperately trying to get 2 hens to live with a bantam chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by EdentroGardens, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. EdentroGardens

    EdentroGardens Hatching

    May 16, 2009
    I have two sweet Barred rock and Buff Orpington hens (about 3-4 months old, 3lbs) in the coop outside. I also have a very small but also 3 month old bantam red couchin bird that is in a basement cage (she is about 1lb). Every time I try to put the bantam bird in the coop, the full sized chickens stare her down for 2 minutes and then begin to very aggressively peck at her, and the poor thing just sits there and doesn't move! Last time I tried, they pecked her eye very badly and she screamed so I stop trying to integrate the flock. Any one have any advice?? I realize there is a 1-week adjustment and that a pecking order needs to be formed, but will they every be compatible?
  2. luvchicks8

    luvchicks8 Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    new Hampshire
    I'm having the same problem I have 4 birds outside and 4 still in the basement because the outside birds attack the others and I want them OUT of the basement. I heard that you should put them out at night so they wake up together???? Never tried it though. However I did place one in a cat carrier inside the outdoor run (about 2 days) with the others although they did try they couldn't get to her so they finally let her into the flock.
  3. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    You may have to build a little tractor for the Cochin and get her a companion, she won't need much room, and keep her tractor within the same area as the other two so they can still see each other then later after grown slowly let her out a little at a time till the other two pretty much ignore her. But personally, if it is that aggressive, I wouldn't try anymore to just put her in with them without a barrier, it could be more than just an eye next time.
    I had a couple of Ameraucanas(blue and splash) that I hatched and had to keep them in a dog crate with a little makeshift run attached, for about a month before the rest of the flock would leave them alone, because I tried integrating them and one had gotten lodged between the chicken wire and the wall and sliced the back of her head open trying to get away from the others. Had to clean it and sew it up so it would stay shut(big gash)...She always had that scar.
  4. EdentroGardens

    EdentroGardens Hatching

    May 16, 2009
    any idea why the bigger birds attack? Why they are being cliquey?

    The bigger birds came from a commercial production line, and were shipped together as 50 baby barred rock and 50 baby orpingtons. 3 weeks later, I picked two of them and placed them with a mottled houdan rooster that was about 4 weeks old. The rooster pecked at them every so often and they were not friends. They didn't even think twice about the rooster when he was gone.
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Agree, they need to be where they can see each other but not get at each other for a few weeks. Then you can try putting the bantam in at night on the roost, or you can do it in the AM with some treats to distract everyone.
  6. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    And when you do finaly put the bird(s) on the roost one night, take a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar/water mix and spray everyone on the roost and all around the coop. It'll mess up their sense of smell, since they can also tell a newbie because it won't have the same odor as the rest of them. But if you spray the whole coop and everyone in it they will all smell the same.
  7. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Quote:Chickens just naturally have what is called a "pecking order." The lowest bird in the group is often the smallest or least aggressive. Sometimes, a chicken's breed will determine whether or not it is aggressive enough to "rule the roost." Some breeds are naturally tougher than others. I think yours is a case where the large birds are both bigger and more aggressive than the small bird; it is possible that they will never live together in complete harmony.

    When introducing a bird to a flock for the first time, it's better to let them get to know each other slowly. Keep the new bird in a cage or separate pen in the coop for a few days so that they can see but not touch each other, just so that they can get used to one another. When you finally let the new bird loose in the coop, watch for signs of injury. Chickens will continue to pick at each others' wounds, making them worse.

    One thing you could try later on if you are still having problems is removing one of the standard-sized birds from the flock for a week or so. The pecking order will shift a bit while that bird is gone. (Since you have such a tiny flock, I'm not sure how much of an impact this will make, but you could try it).

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