Hen being attacked by rooster. Why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by StephensonC, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. StephensonC

    StephensonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 Barred Rock hens, 1 Olive Egger hen, and a Japanese Bantam rooster. I introduced an Americauna hen a week ago and everyone including the rooster is still picking on her. The hen to hen pecks are just the normal squabbles over their pecking order and no one really gets hurt. However, the rooster is always puffing up at her, running at her and bumping his chest into her, and pecking her back. He won't let her near treats, food, and water if he is close-by. He still has his spurs and he has ripped out a slew of feathers on her neck. When they roost at night, he excessively pecks at her back, and she just continues to sit there and let him do it. He eventually calms down and they all go to sleep. I've never seen him try to mate her but he does with the others. I have never seen him get aggressive with the others or with people. It's just this one hen. Anyway, I've given it a week and it's not getting any easier for her. Why could he be doing this to her? She's very sweet and docile. When we rescued her last week, she didn't have any toe nails. Not sure why, but could that be why he doesn't like her? I've heard that chickens can tell if other chickens are sick sometimes. Could that be why? I guess I'm grabbing at straws here, but I just find it odd that he only picks on her and would like to try to understand why. I'm new to chickens, quickly became an addict and I'm absolutely fascinated with chicken behavior. I have her separated for the night, and will begin to introduce her to a new flock tomorrow. But if anyone has ever experienced anything like this, I would love to hear about it in hopes to figure out whats going on with my girls and guy. Thanks!!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    The first question that comes to mind is are you 100% sure that she is, in fact, a she?

    It sounds like you went straight to integration vs. doing any sort of quarantine and/or gradual integration, is that accurate?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2

    That's the first thing I thought of! Any chance we could see a picture of 'her' to confirm?

    Krista
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If she is in fact a hen, and gets along with your existing hens...I'd remove the rooster to an adjacent pen for a week or so.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Agreed!
     
  6. StephensonC

    StephensonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes she is in fact a hen. She lays beautiful greenish eggs almost everyday. I only let them get used to one another for a day before putting her in. I know, that was a mistake and isn't the proper way. Will make sure I do it different next time. I feel so bad now.

    The other hens pick on her too. They do not get along with her either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    A greenish egg is an Easter Egger not an Ameraucana...but I digress.

    You might need to start over on your integration...but integrating a single bird is very difficult.
    Maybe get a couple more hens to put with the new EE and then do the integration regime.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:


    Integration of new chickens to flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
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