Does egg production go down when new pecking order is established?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kikster, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. kikster

    kikster In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2009
    After keeping our new hens separate, but within view of our other ladies, for a while, we finally integrated them. The first couple of days they got along pretty well, we were having a pretty crazy nor'easter so they all chose to (wisely) stay in the house during those days. On the first sign of decent weather, they started to venture out a hour or so at a time, and they free range on occasion. Well, once out and about, the pecking began. And has continued since (this began over the weekend). Now ALL they seem to think about is fighting! We even let them out to free range over the weekend, thinking that if everyone had space, they'd calm down. It seems to get worse. They can barely eat, because they are trying to figure out how to perform their next sneak attack, or trying to defend themselves from one. They're all looking happy-go-lucky, as they graze on the lawn, and then bam! You'll see one come out of nowhere and run across the grass all puffed up toward an unsuspecting soul. There's no one hen doing the attacking, but there are 4 main fighters: 2 new girls (cornish), and 2 of the original flock (cochin, and frizzled cochin). They are all banty's, we have one other lady, who's a Standard Buff Orp, and it's just accepted that she's the Queen Bee, so no one even attempts to confront her, lol..

    They show no favoritism toward who they puff up, flap wings, and peck at. The new girls (hatchmates) will peck each other, and the other 2 (mother and daughter, no less) have had one of the hugest blowouts of all (hubby, even went out and tried to bribe them w/their favorite treats and they still wouldn't stop).

    As far as egg production... The only 2 in the flock that were laying originally were the banty cochin, and the buff orp. The frizzle pullet, had begun showing signs that she wanted to lay (laying in the nest box and having the appearance of a laying hen, lol). The buff orp is still pulling her weight for sure. But that little cochin has stopped completely! She was laying like 4-5 eggs per week, when the cornish where seen, but not to be touched. She laid one day (the day that we integrated them, the day before the storm), but that was a week ago! What's the deal? I was expecting her to slow down soon because of the weather, but we've been having great weather lately (60-70F during the day).

    Sorry for the rant, but I'm just wondering if it's the stress of new girls? If so, how long does it take to establish the new pecking order after introducing the newbies (they're all of laying age, btw, the newer ones and the frizzle are pullets, though having never laid yet)

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