Extreme pecking order: Killing!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cottage Rose, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 - 5 month old Marans I hatched out last Fall.
    1 cockerel and 5 pullets.
    I just bought 2 - 14 week old Marans pullets and put them in with the 5 month old group. The next day one was dead! I didn't notice any aggression the first day...just the usual, casual chasing the newbies around
    but the poor thing was dead and the other one cowering in the corner when I discovered the situation. The victim only had pecking on its lower back by the base of its tail I assume from taking the usual defensive stance of head in corner to protect itself. To be honest the wound didn't look mortal but never the less the bird was dead, maybe from shock. I removed the other new pullet from the pen as I did observe their behavior for awhile and they were relentlessly chasing her around.
    At least one of the 5 month olders was.
    Now I'm wondering about integrating the 5 month old group into my main chicken coop per my plan.
    Will they terrorize my other chickens?
    Are Marans known to be aggressive?
    Any thoughts or ideas?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Integration can be a challenge. I've seen birds die of shock and
    a few starve because they were too scared to go to the feeders.

    One trick people use is to put the new birds in a dog cage inside
    the others' coop area. This lets them all get used to each other.

    What works well for me is introducing birds in a free ranging environment.
    This seems to lower the stress of it all.


    Use the search feature to find "integrating" threads. There are a lot
    of other ideas floating around here.
     
  3. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls have no forgiveness and do not allow another bird in easily. Even being in a kennel or cage with the other hens, its best not to toss them together to quickly.
    Its survival and primitive pecking order at hand.
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    New birds need to be at least 15-16 weeks old before trying to integrate.
     
  5. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well they're 14 weeks so I don't know if one week older will make a difference.
    I've just never had this happen before and wondered if Marans were extra aggressive.
     
  6. new-roo

    new-roo Scrambled

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    Quote:WHY? If they are close in size/age I would put them together.


    after couple weeks of Issolation to ensure they are healthy, introduce them to the flock, and let them go. As long as they are not forced to stay together in a cramped coop I have had good success with integrating quickly. If you integrate a group into a group I have found that they do tend to stay with thier original groups, but you will have that even if they all come up together, they will have groups amoungst themselves.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't know about Marans specifically. Often the aggression starts with one or two birds as instigators and the rest follow.

    As Purplechicken said, check out the integration threads for better suggestions. A few ideas are: give them room to get away if you can, distract them with toys and treats, introduce them at night so they wake up together, have separate eating and drinking areas as sometimes dominant chickens will not allow newbies to eat or drink, if you can identify the instigators separate them for a couple of days to lower their place in the pecking order, cage some non-aggressive hens with the newbies for a few days to help them fit in.

    I don't guarantee any of this will work, but it might improve your odds.
     
  8. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    I've integrated chickens of many different ages by splitting up the flocks.
    Sometimes taking a few if my main flock and putting them in with the
    new birds helps. They form 2 flocks and integrate easier a week later.

    I also like to mix birds after a big cull or slaughter. It's almost like
    a pecking order reset button.


    Every so often I'll get a bird who is just a spaz. Those types of birds
    disrupt the flock a lot and draw attention to themselves. They almost
    alway end up in the freezer.
     
  9. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    If you can cage all the old flock, put the new flock in the pen. then one old bird at a time to set the pecking order.

    That way all the old birds will not all jump on one of the new pullet at once.
     
  10. new-roo

    new-roo Scrambled

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    Quote:I've heard ducks can be spazes, when trying to integrate. Then again I heard ducks are best if put dirrectly into a smoker. [​IMG]
     

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