Help! New Chicken Wont Let My Chicken Drink!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Squawk!, May 24, 2010.

  1. Squawk!

    Squawk! In the Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    I only have two red sex-links 10 month-old chickens in an eglu. "Frizz" lost her buddy a few days ago. She was either eggbound and not showing signs, or Frizz mounted her (which she did quite often) and broke the egg.

    Decided to get her a companion, and try to dissuade mounting. I got her "companion" from the same flock she shipped with as a chick. A slightly larger bird, quick and lean. She came from a flock of 10. This hen IMMEDIATELY took over (within minutes). It has been 24 hours, and the new chicken is very territorial over the food and water bowl areas and the "hutch" (I did spread some feed down so my other bird could eat). In the middle of writing this, my husband came home. We were both outside discussing this and the new bird was interested enough in us that Frizz got some major drinking in. I'm not sure that adding another waterer will help, since the new bird will probably declare that hers, as well. I did give a "time out" earlier so she got some water then, as well. I don't want to seperate them, but Frizz can't live scrunched down in one corner by the water bowls.

    I know there has been much posted about intoduced hens getting bullied by the established bird(s), but this is the other way around. Any tricks or advice would be welcome.

    Thanks
     

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

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    Two feed bowls and two waterers seperated so that both can eat or drink at the same time.
     
  3. shellrae7

    shellrae7 In the Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
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    You can do what sourland suggests, but I wouldn't worry if I were you. They will work it out within a day or two. They just have to establish the pecking order. Your hen won't die if it doesn't get to eat for a day. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I am changing out my flock all the time. That is just how they do things. Give it a couple days and if you are still worried, you may have to do something different. PersonallY I wouldn't put 2 feeders, one its a pain, and 2, it doesn't encourage them to work things out.
    I brought in a new rooster to a young flock, and I already have a young cock, and they immediately attacked each other. But by the end of the day, all was well, and they knew the new pecking order.

    Hope that helps,
    and again, I dont' mean harshness... I am just matter of fact in how I go about things.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. Squawk!

    Squawk! In the Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    Well, its been almost 48 hours now and its gone from bad to worse. My original bird doesn't want to come out of the hutch (although its getting hot - I've shaded it, but it will be in the mid-90's tomorrow). The new hen TOTALLY dominates the water and feeding area and she even "growls" at me when I come near. I've been watching them like a hawk since 7am. She finally was distracted and wanted to inspect the coop (thus chasing Frizz out) and then came out to groom herself. Frizz drank water continously for 3 minutes straight. This was from 12:28 to 12:31 (yes, I timed it) and then the new one chased her off. She is now making mad dashes to the food bowl, and getting feathers ripped out, without eating. Once today the new bird got ahold of her neck feathers (she has an almost-hawk-like beak) and jumped over her, twisting her neck. I did scatter feed and put some extra near the hutch (eglu) opening, but she really wants/needs to feed since she didn't get very much yesterday, either.

    I've been following everone's advice on not interfering. Frizz has figured out that "Mama" is not going to rescue her and I figure that's why today she is staying in the eglu. She won't fight back and I'm waiting for the neighbor's to start complaining about the ruckus. I can't imagine this being "worked out" in 3 days if its' this bad after 2. Maybe I can get the woman to take her back. I'm planning on seperating them tommorow if I don't see a major change by noon.

    Is this a good idea?

    I will put a seperate waterer in there, but its a run and there's only 2 birds. I'm betting the new one will just take over that as well, with more chasing, ripping and squawking ensuing.

    My nerves are shot. I don't want her to be an only chicken, but this was HUGE mistake. I feel like such an idiot:(
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010

  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Well I am totally different - I would NOT let this continue!

    I would separate them, so they can see each other but not interact with each other yet. Honestly it takes me two months or more to integrate a new bird into my flock (swapping around birds is different).

    The first 30 days the new bird is in quarantine. This allows the new bird to settle down, me to look the bird over for lice/mites, me to get to know the bird and the bird to know me. It is important to me to know how each of my animals behaves (birds/horses/dogs), it makes it much easier for me to spot when something is “off”. This period of time also allows me to watch for stress related problems (illness).

    After q-tine, the bird brought around to a place where my birds can see the new bird, but again cannot interact – just fence visits. At night the new bird goes into the coop in a plastic dog kennel. About a week fence visiting, then I let the birds free range together. Depending upon the bird, they might put themselves to bed with the flock, if not then I still kennel them at night for a bit. Eventually they decide they are part of the flock and the flock accepts them.

    I know with an eglu you do not have the space of a coop. I would still separate them, if you have a kennel great, if not can you divide the lu somehow? Get some chicken wire and fashion a spare run for daytime or section your run – pop the new hen into it. Do not displace the first hen – the place is hers and should stay hers. Let them get to know each other first, then try placing them together.



    A chicken might not die from lack of food in a day, but in heat it WILL die without water. At the minimum I would add 2 additional waters/feeders so you have 3 of each in the run or 2 of each in the run and 1 of each in the lu.
     
  6. Squawk!

    Squawk! In the Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    Thanks so much! Doing QT is THE smart thing to do (I do it for my fish - but I didn't for the birds:rolleyes:) I did give her a bath with plenty of diatemaceous earth, which I also put in the food. When I picked this hen out, she had the healthiest looking comb. All the others had dark spots. My other birds got along so well, I didn't realize these spots were from pecking. In other words, I picked the one of two hens that weren't being pecked, which sort of points towards me picking the top of the pecking order in that flock.

    Frizz is smaller and looking at her comb and wattle, I think she was crossed with a leghorn, which might explain the flightiness. The other could pass for a R.I.R. or New Hampshire or lightweight MMA fighter. I'm afraid no matter how I do it, she'll get killed (2 chickens=lack of dispersion of aggressiveness). I did keep the new bird in a large kennel cab for Frizz's inspection for a few hours and she seemed curious at first and at ease by the time I placed the new one in the run. Like I said, 3 minutes later the newcomer had collected her first batch of feathers from Frizz and its just been increasing mayhem. I will contact the person I bought her from and see if I can take her back there. Otherwise, she'll have to go into a large "modded-out" cage and supervised free-ranging time until I can find her someother place.

    I wonder if there are any specific breeds of chicken I should look for that would make a decent companion for her. When I read "docile" on breed descriptions, I don't know if they mean toward people or other chickens. The new one is vicous towards Frizz, but I had no problems handling or bathing her.
     
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    My flock is a bit of a mix and I would say my most docile are the Cochins and Orpingtons.

    If the person you got the "brat bird" from has different aged birds, you might see if you can get one a tad younger (maybe a month younger) - might be a smoother intro. [​IMG] It is hard to say, like you have found chickens - like people - have such different personalities.
     

  8. Squawk!

    Squawk! In the Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    All her chickens were the from same hatchlings that I bought mine from, that's why I went to her. Not de-beaked, vaccinated - I knew the basics of what I was getting (which hatchery, etc.). She's a very nice person and went out of her way for me to do this and I feel terrible telling her that the bird has to go.

    Actually, Cochins and Orphingtons were at the top of my list, but I'm in the PHX area, so heat-tolerance is a big issue. Kinda big for the eglu (you can't put 4 standard-sized chicken in those things as advertised), but too big for Frizz to mount. Hopefully, she only did that because that bird she grew up with and would go in the mating position for her - and Frizz obliged.

    I always assumed there is always a pecking order, even with 2 "sissies", but after the last 2 days, I'm really wondering about that. They never fought, and other than the "Hen Prison Relationship" - as my husband calls it - there was never anything you could call dominance with the 2. Both were great layers, no fighting or squawking [unless a grackle was nearby - wow, I'm beginning to realize what wussies they were/is(?)]. Frizz is especially people friendly and was VERY, VERY protective of her sissy (although they looked quite different.) This new bird came as quite a shock to her. That much is clear.

    Figure I should give her a few weeks (at least) until trying to introduce another bird. Good Idea or Not?

    I do believe someone around here was advertising Cochin chicks available at the end of May, but I don't know if waiting that long to raise out the chick (particularly alone) would be a good idea. OTOH, I don't want a bird that has had to do a lot of fighting and may end up in this situation again. Sigh. This is going to be way trickier than I thought. If I could find one that is just a few months old, raise it inside (yeah, I did that with my two) and do the gradual "meet 'n greets" as the bird got closer to her size... I have to be careful 'tho, cuz I live in the desert and it gets to 120F. I was toying with trying to find a standard silkie - they do okay in heat (I've heard) and there are alot of the bantams around...

    Thanks for the info.
     

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