Hen Pecking and Adding Pullets (or chicks)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mertel, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. mertel

    mertel Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2013
    Hi all-
    A quick history:
    I started 2yrs ago with 6 chicks (3 Marans and 3 EE's) After a dog attacked my coop,all 3 Marans flew the coop and were then killed by the dog. This last year we have just had the 3 EE's and all is well in our world.

    Until-this winter when they went through their first molt. Now I have one that is being hen pecked badly by one of the other chickens. (She is not top hen, but the top hen does not peck her)

    Presently I have them separated (only the last 2 days) but she (Pearl the hen pecked chicken) is started to go a little nutty. They normally have a large pasture area. I have a chicken tractor that stays in one place, and a large coop that the chickens moved into this past summer. Right now she is in the tractor alone, but she doesn't have the roaming room she is used to. So today I opened up the run from the tractor and in less than 5min she was being attacked by the other one and was freaking out all nervous.

    SO- I have room to make a small run for her to give her some relief from the other two chickens. No problem.


    My main question-Would it be a good idea to put pullets in with her? If yes-how long should I wait to bring them to her?
    We were thinking of getting 6 more chickens, so I was thinking maybe she would take them on as her own little flock and then I could introduce her back to the main run with the other 2 in a few weeks and they would be able to work the details out for themselves after that?

    Any other suggestions or ideas??
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    I think your plan is good. I just thought I would add this small bit of a trick. Read it on another post. Cavemanrich is not a plagiarist.

    Introduce your new chickens into coop at night. This way in the morning the chickens wake up and think. """ Hmmmmmmm these guys been living here all along ???????? Yea,,,,, probably so."""" [​IMG] Less noticed then when introducing one during daytime activity. WISHING YOU THE BEST... [​IMG]
     
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  3. mertel

    mertel Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2013
    One more question:
    I was thinking pullets because that is what we were going to get anyhow...would chicks work the same do you think? I guess I am worried a little about them but that is just another cost effective option as well.
    Our nights are in the 40's around here (Western WA) so I'm not sure if that would be too cold for them to go in with a hen if she isn't ready for them??

    Maybe I'm over thinking it and should just stick with pullets?
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    Chicks are obviously more fragile than pullets. It is still a little cool . If you go with pullets, less issues. If you go with chicks, then try to grow them indoors in a brooder until they can be on their own. If you are going to keep them inside your house where it is warm, then less need for controlled heat lamps as they grow bigger. Initially you will need to keep them warm. I only got baby chicks when it was already warm. Did not need to supplement with heat lamps, and they were already about a week old. They did fine. In the beginning they did huddle together for warmth. As they grew, the huddling stopped.
    In your situation , since you are not looking for large numbers, I think the pullets would be much less headache and trouble and effort.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    How badly is she being pecked? Is the other chicken drawing blood? Pinning her down so she can't get away? How much space do your chickens have? It could be the one chicken trying to move herself up in the pecking order, it could be that they're crowded, it could be for a number of reasons. (Who can really know the mind of a chicken?) If you put 6 more chickens in with your loner, there will still be pecking order squabbles. I can't say if she will be the one doing the pecking, or any one or more of the 6 - especially if you get them from the same place. They will already have their places in the order.

    I have added chickens at night. Chickens aren't the brightest of the bright as far as animals go, but mine were never quite that stupid. They still recognized that there was an interloper in the flock and acted as chickens do. Chickens do not like change. Chickens do not like strange chickens on their turf. They are territorial. I will agree that it may be less traumatic than adding them during the day, but it did not eliminate the kerfluffles.

    If you get chicks, you can not put them in with your lone hen. She very well could kill them. Chickens aren't particularly motherly unless they've been broody for a few weeks and you can put some babies under them (preferably at night - this is one instance where night time introductions can work). There are many methods of introduction. One of them being to put the new chickens with the older ones side by side, yet separated (this, of course, would be after a proper quarantine, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms). Leave them that way for a few weeks, and voila! You can mix and match with no problems. I've still had some skirmishes. Once the chickens are physically together, they still need to establish that all-important pecking order. This method may help reduce the intensity of that period. Personally, if it were my flock, I'd have removed the bully hen if I were going to remove one at all. (If there was no blood or real injuries, I'm not sure I'd have removed any at all.) Now you will have to eventually reintegrate the picked-on one instead, and she will likely remain at the bottom of the pecking order.
     
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