Hen being picked on, what do I do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rcentner, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    Ok, so since it has been colder here my chooks are spending a lot of time in the coop. Yesterday was the 1st day in 2 days they came out of the coop into their runs. I noticed while we were working on ventilation and insualtion matters (which took 5 freakin hours) that one of my hens (Janis) was avoiding the rest of the flock especially the hens. Everytime one would come her way she would run screaming and all to the other corner of the run. Ok so...she is the smallest of that flock and I believe she is molting too. About 2 weeks ago she started molting. The other hens are RSL's/Mutts and they have 1 roo. She doesn't seem bothered by the roo at all just the hens. They are all getting picked on to some extent and have seen some blood spots occasionally. I have read that I should remove the aggressor, but it's not just 1 hen doin the pickin. Because I have 2 separate flocks (one with bantams and smaller chickens and the other mentioned above) we thought that we would move Janis to the smaller flock cause they are happy as could be and she is more their size anyway. My DH has wanted to move her into that flock anyway but I didn't want to take her away from her favorite hen. Now that her favorite hen is scaring her, I don't feel so bad separating them.
    However, this morning the hen came out with her new flock and ran around screamin until she flew onto the roost to avoid them. The roo in that flock (bantam partridge rock) mounted her and did the deed (he has been eyeballin her when they free range) but after he kept chasin her around. He got her on the ground and stepped on her head! And just stood there with his foot on her head. Is that normal? Now she is just roostin away from everyone and I feel kinda bad, I went in the run and offerred her bread and crumbles..she ate well.

    So I wonder....
    Is that normal roo behavior (I have never had to introduce a new hen to a roo)?
    Do you think he will hurt her?
    Are chickens more likely to peck at a hen who is molting?
    Should I get something to help her with the stress? Like a vitamin or a destressor? (like do they have Feliway for chickens?)

    I was thinkin, geez...if the chickens are gonna kill eachother I might as well free range and take chances on predation. When the chickens are stressed so am I!
    on a good note the coops are warm and dry!
     
  2. Overeasyplz

    Overeasyplz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    Leesburg
    Mine are moulting too. I know they are crabby and picky right now, they love to free range but the snow is deep and thick. So to give them something to do I toss a leaf of straw in their pen and some bread ends, they dig around and eat the bread, they love to scratch around in the hay..keeps them busy.
     
  3. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    anyone? Things are goin ok, I think they all have been out of sorts due to all the changes. I am gonna leave her in the new coop situation and hope it works out soon. I turned the lights off tonight so they can all have a restful night since it will be warm.
     
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Well, I guess I'm wondering how well the new flock actually knows her. Do they? If not, the roo might be picking on her in the same way as if she were a stranger. It might be less stressful to have a partner from the old flock, while she is getting integrated into the new flock. Could you use her former friend for a while, until she is able to fend with her new group?
     
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Isolate? [​IMG]
     
  6. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    I'll add another thing. A lot of free-ranging is sooo very helpful when integrating newcomers. Space is the key. Letting everyone get away from each other and at the same time keeping very busy, etc. Eventually when they've scratched together, found insects and bugs and taken dust baths together, they will more quickly accept each other... but, in the meantime, free-ranging provides lots of ways to keep down the aggression. If free-ranging the introduction period isn't a possibility, then a partner from the old flock would be my choice.
     
  7. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    Quote:so being that I have 2 flocks I should only let the flock with the new edition free range? I was just pondering cause I usually let them free range when I am home from work, but I don't want to let both flocks out at the same time cause I know Janis will go back to her old coop. I wouldn't mind so much if she went back but my she is my DH's favorite bird and he wants her in with the new bunch. I don't have room to add another bird to that coop, they are designed for 6 standards each and I was able to get away with adding Janis to the flock because they are almost all bantams. She went in the coop to join the flock at roost time and there wasn't too much commotion.
     

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