Hens are keeping new Bantam hostage in coop!!!!! Is this normal behavoir?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by johnywilsonaus, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. johnywilsonaus

    johnywilsonaus New Egg

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    Hi Guys,

    Since this morning, my new little Pekin Bantam has not been allowed to leave the coop. Every time she tries or if I pick her up and take her out into the run, our Isa Brown (ex battery) hens peck her and chase her back into the coop.

    Should i just let her work it out herself or should I take control and keep putting her out? I don't want her to get hurt but surely she wants to get out and have a scratch around.

    Is this normal when introducing new birds? Any other advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

    Johny
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  2. fosterson

    fosterson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Johny, welcome to BYC!

    You've got a couple of things going on here.

    1) Yes, this is normal 'hazing' behavior. Chickens have to work out their pecking order. Sometimes, even pecking orders that have held steady for several seasons will suddenly get upset for reasons we humans fail to comprehend. As long as they're not actually HURTING her, you really shouldn't intervene, but you should keep an eye on her to make sure she's getting her fair share of food and water. Chickens aren't PC -- they can be out and out bullies and it's not like you can give them a stern lecture!
    2) She's a bantam and the other hens are large fowl. They're bigger than she is. This makes her a target for the other hens.
    3) If this hen is brand new to the flock, it's going to upset the apple cart. What you MIGHT try is to take her and isolate her away from the other hens for a day or so, then introduce her at night as everyone's going to bed. Chickens are pretty much blind at night and don't move around much, so it gives them a chance to spend some time in each other's breathing space without having much ability to do damage. They just sit on their perches and grouch. Just be sure it's a night that you know you're going to be home the next morning, so you can monitor the behavior.
     
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  3. johnywilsonaus

    johnywilsonaus New Egg

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    Thanks :)
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Your poor little bantam would have a little easier time of it if she were part of a foursome. Chickens are cliquish and they also seem to respect "units" over individuals. If you have the room, and are so inclined, she would fare much better if you could find three more her size and breed, ideally ones she was raised with.

    Barring that, fosterson has a good suggestion for you to try. Sometimes when chickens wake up to a new chicken in their midst, it's more likely they'll accept her.

    If you pay attention to the bullying, you may discover one hen is the ring leader. You can try isolating her out of sight of the others, then reintroducing her in a week. That will shake things up and may take the focus off the bantam.

    By observing the dynamic in your flock, you may discover other things that might give you some ideas to try. That's really all you can do. The rest is up to them to work out.
     
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  5. fosterson

    fosterson Chillin' With My Peeps

    See, I was trying to be good and NOT encourage getting more bantams. *hides own barred banty crosses* I have them for the eggs, really. My bantam pet roo didn't NEED girlfriends.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Just a friendly introduction to chicken math to someone who appears to be in need of it. [​IMG]
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Its normal behavior not only for new flock members but normal behavior for all chickens. A flock of chickens have elite s well as non elite members. The elite will make life miserable for the non elite and may even kill the weaker and/or smaller non-elite flock members just to show them whose boss.

    Every so called cure that I have ever read just shuffles the deck chairs on the Titanic by breaking the spirit and or health of the formally elite birds so that they now fall prey to and are bullied by the once non-elite flock members. The only way around this is to increase free range space so that never the two shall meet. Out of sight out of mind as it were.
     
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Try removing the hen to an area where she is close to the other birds but separated by a barrier - such as a smaller cage inside the coop - for a few days. Then introduce her to one or two of the quieter of your hens. It is very difficult for one single bird to break into an established flock, as they have a set relationship and adding just one bird makes that one the odd bird out. Isa's can also be somewhat aggressive.

    I hope you quarantined her for 2 weeks prior to introducing her into the group, always a good safety measure to avoid disease.
     
  9. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well...not letting her leave the coop is better than not letting her in at night.

    If possible protecting her during the day where the other hens can see her and reintroducing her at night for a few nights is a very good idea, If you hens have lots of space and she has places to hide then, as the true "boss hen" you can going out there and helping her get out of the coop. If the hens are confined to a run it's best to let then work it out.
     
  10. johnywilsonaus

    johnywilsonaus New Egg

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    Thank you everyone for your guidance, it is truly appreciated. At least i am now armed with some knowledge and direction to follow [​IMG]
     

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