Established flock, now hens are fighting?

AuburnChickenNewbies

Songster
9 Years
Apr 8, 2011
103
3
134
Our girls are now in their 3rd spring and just completed their first molt. They're a varied pack due to having lost a few in their first year, thanks to our "I'm just playing with it!" golden retriever. (That was a tough lesson.)

Anyway, the flock now has two Astrolorps, two Americaunas--of which one is much bigger than the other and totally different color, one red bantam, one Rhode Island Red, and one buff orpington The two Astrolorps have always seemed to pick on the others a bit, but generally they've all done pretty well together. Until now.

Both of the astrolorps are absolutely determined to fight the smaller americauna. After checking everybody out yesterday, one of the astrolorps appeared to have a bloody torn ear, so I cleaned her up, applied Neosporin and separated her into a pen in the shed. The others still have their run (which is about 30 x 50 feet), plus the 8x8 coop. Should be plenty of room I would think.

So ... I just looked out into the pen and here's the other astrolorp going after that same americauna again. And some of the others are just looking a bit scruffed up. As though they got into the middle of things.

Now I'm not sure I've given the right bird a "time out." And don't know how long I should leave her in isolation -- until the ear is totally healed? (It's scabbed up today I think).

How is this handled typically? Should I just let them duke it out? Could this be related to a food change? We changed their feed a couple of weeks ago to an all organic feed from the Purina feed pellets we'd been giving them.

Finally, we have 7 pullets, now about 7-8 weeks old, in a separate area that are getting close to integration. I'm wondering if I should keep everybody separated longer?

Sigh ... twenty questions, I know. I'd sure appreciate your sage advice!
 

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