Hen Introduction Problem on Roost Only

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Reid, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Reid

    Reid New Egg

    Sep 8, 2009
    Anyone have a hen that mingles in the yard just fine, but when it comes time to roost she turns brutal?

    A buddy and his wife are giving up on a 1 year old RIR hen they have been trying to introduce to two other hens for just over a week. Before she heads for the soup pot they asked if I would give her a try.

    At the current location the problem hen (named Red) gets along with the other two chickens just fine while out of the hen house, but when it's time to roost she wont allow anyone withing striking distance. Apparently Red hammers away with full force and has done some significant damage to the feet and comb of the 5 month old pullet. They only have one long pole for the roost and they tried fencing off one portion of it to get the new one over it's issues. Red is calm with the fencing in place, but when they remove a few days later it she starts hammering on the closest bird without letting up.

    Red's background: used to free-ranging on 6 acres, had two roosters in her old flock (which was one too many for the number of hens), was introduced with another RIR pullet, which is the chicken taking the brunt of the abuse.

    So, we're going to give her one last chance. At my yard I've got 4 pullets (2 buff Orps, 2 G. Laced Wanyedottes) all 5 months old that all get alone fine. Their digs are a 180 sq. ft run (expandable to 1,200 sq ft), 36 sq. ft coop, and 18 sq ft hen house with three roosts set at 2, 3 and 4 ft off the floor.

    My plan right now is to split the coop floor in half and essentially isolate the new RIR from the other 4 pullets for one week before allowing them to mingle. I'm hopefull that with 3 separate roosting levels that 12 full sized hens could populate, that they can get far enough away from her until they balance it out.

    Should I try isolation via fencing while on the roost as was before, but for a longer time?
    Will another week by herself be helpful?
    I figure if she hasn't figure it out in 2 weeks, she wont.
  2. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    I'd say give the girl some time. Do the fencing off thing on the roost longer like you said. She just may need more time to adapt. Being feisty and all, those kinds of hens require a little bit more time. I have one of those, and I'm patient with her. She's a very lucky hen. [​IMG]

    Good luck!
  3. goldielocks

    goldielocks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2009
    I just got a new 20 week old maran and she is nice in the yard like yours and brutal when its time to line up on the roost. I just took her out of the pen with the 15 week olds tonight because of it and put her in with the 26 week old chickens. She is more their size anyway. I put her on the roost with the big girls tonight so i will be out in the coop a little before 7am to make sure she is not getting the same treatment that she was giving to the younger girls. Somehow it will work out...i want those dark chocolate eggs!

    Keep the RIR if you can, my reds are such good layers.

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