Established flock attacking new hen.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jschaaff, May 26, 2011.

  1. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Hello, thank you in advance for any advice!

    I have 4 hens that have been with me for a year (White leghorn, she is boss, 2 Ameraucanas and 1 maybe Arauncana. This week I added 3 younger delawares (these guys/gals were added Tuesday and are about 3 months old, and 3 others: 9 mo. Silver Laced Wyandotte, 6 mo. Mottled Java and 6 mo. Buff Brahma, were added yesterday.

    Here's my problem, the Buff, "Bella" who happens to be the largest (I mean huuuuge) and sweetest gal ever, is constantly being attacked by my other girls (who are waaaay smaller too!). The 2 she came with leave her alone, but do not protect her either (I suppose that's normal though..but wouldn't it be nice.....) She is spending most of her time in a corner with her head tucked so far down, as to protect herself from the constant attacks. I spent 3 hours with them yesterday, fending them off, and trying to protect her. I feel sick to my stomach because I purchased her...removed her from her established flock and brought her here, to be abused by my mean girls. I don't understand why my girls get along with the Java and SLW (no names yet) and thank goodness they do, but how do I help Bella? They definitely are not liking my new Delawares and will fly up at them or chase them off if they come near, but Bella, they are actually seeking out, and attacking...grabbing her neck and ripping at her [​IMG] I can not stay in the coop all day today as I will get further behind in my planting and chores (three hours in there with them yesterday did not slow the attacks down at all..the second I walk away....they are on her), but am willing to be in there as much as possible if any one has any suggestions.




    I tried to help her by providing her with a "safe place", as I have no other way to separate her (meaties are in the grow out pen) so I put a dog carrier in the run with straw and food..she found it and would run into it when they chased her...but once she finally settled into it being a safe place...they started coming IN and attacking her in there... so i just kind of made it worse [​IMG]

    Should i keep getting involved or am I supposed to let this run its course ....oh but that would be so hard to do.

    Any suggestions or experiences with this would be great!

    Thank you!
    -Jessa
     
  2. Paintedhorsegirl

    Paintedhorsegirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2011
    I would suggest seperating them. If you can, make her an area right beside the others so they can all see each other and get used to each other and then eventually put them all together again. I had to do this, I have one they all picked on and I took her, along with one of my nicer hens , put them together and forced a bond while getting use to the flock. Also when you put her back with the flock you should put her in at night when they are roosting, I dont know why but it seems to help with the transition.
    A good friend of mine that owns a dairy farm down the road told me if I put vix vapor rub down the back of the chicken that was being picked on that they would stop. I never tried but but it wouldnt hurt to try if you arent able to seperate.
     
  3. hencam

    hencam Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2007
    Massachusetts
    It's always difficult to mix flocks. I don't believe that a person, being dominant, and keeping the chickens from going after each other, will teach them anything in the long run (nor will flailing a broom or using your feet -not saying you did, but some do.) Management is the key. Space is essential. Also, if you provide a second feeder at a distance from the first, you reduce competition and bullying. Really works! I've a lot more about this on my blog. You might want to start with this post:
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2011/03/combining-two-mature-flocks/
    and also my FAQ
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/introducing-new-hens/
     
  4. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Thank you both for your responses.

    I definitely did not use my feet or a broom but flapped (yes...*cough...I flapped...[​IMG]) my arms, and moved towards the other hens keeping myself in between them and Bella. There is plenty of space, but am going outside to add the other feeder IMMEDIATELY. It makes so much sense and might help a bit. I always feel silly about stuff like that because frankly, I should have done that already. If it continues, I will look into that vapor rub PaintedHorseGirl! I am hoping to add more hens this summer, and will certainly be reading and rereading your faqs HenCam.


    EDIT:Additional feeder added.... one more post and then out to observe.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  5. I Heart Chicks

    I Heart Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Illinois
    Just curious how things turned out..I am having some difficulty with my new introductions...any updates or advice would be much appreciated??? Thank you!
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I've only added to my flock once not counting added roos thats different. I did it wrong. I introduced one Dom pullet that I got from a friend to my 10 red hens & 1 red roo. Wow !!! what a nightmare it took about a year for this to work. I could write a book on the experience. Needless to say I'm not big on integrating new birds to an existing flock. I now build a new coop & start a new flock. I do live on a farm & have plenty of room to build more coops. Integrating new flock members can cause alot of problems such as fights, new pecking order, & can halt egg production. I know you can do it. But I do know that you shouldn't add just one & try & intro same color chickens to an existing flock.
     

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