HELP!! My Older Chickens are Bullying my Newbies to Injury!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PlanetCamilla, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. PlanetCamilla

    PlanetCamilla In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2014
    I currently have a flock of 14 chickens, 7 were mine since babies and 7 I bought as pullets. These two groups integrated beautifully. Since then I've rescued 2 other chickens (a rooster and a hen I believe) and they're now at the size and age where I thought they might integrate.

    I initially tried about 4 weeks ago, and the older chooks pecked all the tail feathers out of the back of the hen leaving a bloody, yucky mess, so I rescued her again and put her and her friend the roo back in their little apartment.

    Last night we thought we'd put them down there when it was dark as we'd read online that this means by morning they would all smell alike and everything would be fine.

    Everything is not fine.

    They've bullied the same poor bird again and she doesn't look good. As she was only just starting to grow her tail feathers back, there was mainly skin showing and they appear to have attacked her.

    What can I do to ensure my hen heals?

    Why won't my chooks integrate?

    Why do they only attack the hen and not the rooster?

    I'm feeling really guilty so I've spoilt them rotten since they've been back in their separate enclosure, what else can I do??
  2. chickenlover432

    chickenlover432 Chirping

    Feb 19, 2014
    Proud Aussie
    OK 2 Things. Firstly, Welcome to BYC!! Secondly, I'm not sure why they're giving her such a hard time. One thing is that chickens like the look of blood, so maybe you should keep her apart from the rest till her feathers grow back and she heals. I've heard that they forget the chicken after a week or so, so maybe you could keep her apart for a while and introduce her after. Just keep an eye on them and make sure she's OK with them. They'll get used to her after a month of so(I hope). When I got my new girls, the old ones bullied them(didn't tear out the feathers but did peck pretty brutally).

    Hope I helped:)

  3. PlanetCamilla

    PlanetCamilla In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2014
    I hope so. I'm feeling so negligent. I'll keep them separate for a while now until she heals completely.

    That brings me to another question. I was going to incubate a dozen eggs with the hope to rear them and then integrate them to the flock - is that going to be possible? Or will it be easier as there'll be more of them?
  4. For your hen, I'd do like chickenlover says and keep her apart from the flock until her feathers are growing back. If she has open wounds, be sure to treat them. I'd clean it up and then add a good dose of Vetericyn hydrogel or antibiotic ointment (no pain killer in it-that is not good for chickens). Covering wounds really well helps reduce the risk of flystrike. After a couple weeks, I'd place her in a pen right next to the flock's pen so they can see, smell and hear each other but they can't get to her to peck her. In another week or two, try integrating again.
    How large is your coop? Do they free range during the day? Do they have a run and if so how large is it? And don't feel bad.. chickens are playground bullies!
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Integrating just one or two new birds is always much harder then integrating several at a time. And the problem is that once the other flock has got it in their heads to go after this hen they may not forget it. All you can do is as mentioned already...let her heal and pen her next to them again for a few weeks. I would not put her in a coop or any kind of pen with them any time soon or you may have a repeat performance. But after a few weeks you might try letting them free range together, if your birds do that at all.

    As far as hatching out a batch of chicks and integrating them? It should be fine if you have a grow-out pen for them next to your older birds. I put chicks in a grow-out pen alongside older birds at 5 weeks. They are then let out to range the pasture with the older flock at 10 weeks of age. By that time the older birds are used to them and they've worked out some pecking order issues through the fence. Scuffles at that point still happen but are usually minor.

    How much room you have also matters. How big of a coop/run do your birds have?
  6. PlanetCamilla

    PlanetCamilla In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2014
    Our coop/run is 4.8m x 9.6m where 2.4m x 2.4m of that is the roosting house.

    They generally free range, but we kept them all locked up so the new birds would know where home is before we let them back out.

    We're going to take your advice and build a secondary, smaller pen, to use for integrating new members to the flock. Hopefully third time is the charm.... Otherwise I might just build a full size one for them to live in....

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