hens fighting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 1ironman, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. 1ironman

    1ironman New Egg

    Oct 30, 2009
    We are totally new to backyard chickens... Bought my three daughters 6 hens in early May - one recently got sick and passed - we introduced a new young hen we bought at a poultry swap(bantam) and the larger hens have been 'attacking' it. Pecking at it's head and jumping on it!! We have NO rooster. The people I've talked to who I know have hens have never heard of this - has anyone else?? Our other breeds are Light Brahma and Rhode Island Red - Thanks! This is scaring my daughters - the original chickens have never shown any agression towards each other or any people. Right now we're separating them, but the bantam is freaking out!
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    This sounds completely normal. It is best not to introduce just one chicken to an established flock. By introducing 2 or more at a time, the new chickens have buddies until they are accepted by the rest of the flock - which may take some time. Also, the new chickens should be around the same size as the established flock.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Yes, it's hard on a single newcomer. One thing I've read you can do is watch to see whether any particular hen is the ringleader of the bullying; put her in time out in a separate pen. Then when she get reintroduced to the flock, she's the newbie.

    The other thing I've read about is to put the new bird in with the flock at roosting time when they're drowsy. Then in the morning they may not remember that the new bird is actually new.

    Good luck!
  4. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You'll have to let them fight it out and figure out their pecking order. The old birds see the new one as an intruder. I personally do not intervene as I feel it makes the process even longer.
  6. 1ironman

    1ironman New Egg

    Oct 30, 2009
    Talked to the kids - my oldest daughter is willing to 'swap' her new(beat up)bantam for another chicken from a co-worker's farm. That should end the problem - right? I was told we could pick another light brahma - so they'd be the same breed/size. Does anyone think this will cause another problem? - it should help if the newbie is the same breed/size? Thank you for the feedback so far...
  7. granmahen

    granmahen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    Bakersfield, CA
    We find that any newbie is treated badly at first, especially if there is only one. It has helped a little to put the newbie in a cage in the coop so they can interact while protected. Do this about 2 weeks, helps a little.
  8. redhawkou812

    redhawkou812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009
    Joelton, TN
    It took about two months for our established hens to accept three younger newbies - we had them in a pen inside the fenced area so they could see each other before we let them out. It is kind of strange though - the red sex links have accepted the one that was their own breed better than they have the other two, who are not. They are getting along now, but the younger red now spends most of her time with the other reds instead of her two "siblings"

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