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Hens gone bad: Separating the Bullies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SkyWarrior, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    I have a situation I'd like some thoughts on.

    I have several pens of chickens. The "nice" pen has my colored egg layers. These girls are sweet and that's where I introduce pullets. There are no issues here.

    My brown egg pen is another story. My brown egg layers are a bunch of ruffians. [​IMG] I wanted to introduce my BO and my BOxPR to that pen (brown eggs) and put the BO in a cage for a week in there. After letting her out, the RIRs and BRs picked on her. I had 2 GSL who were beaten up by these girls that they were raised with (1 dead and 1 probably isn't going to make it [​IMG] ).

    After seeing the BO get picked on, I got mad. I took the RIRs and one of the BRs and put them in the pen with the two roos and two ducks. I then moved the BOxPR in the pen with the BO. Now, I have 1 BSL, 1 BR, and 1 BR roo and 1 Brahma weenie roo in the pen with the two new girls. The roos aren't the troublemakers.

    So, my plan is to keep them for weeks like this so I have them bond, then I'm planning on adding the 2 RIRs and the BR back in. The BR roo is going to freezer camp eventually and the Brahma may too.

    The reason I want the brown egg layers together is that I'm raising 2 EE roos and have 2 marans roos that will go in with the colored egg layers to produce EEs and OEs. I want to eventually replace the RIRs and BRs with BOs.

    Would this shuffling work? Am I insane? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Anyone?
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    well yes, you are insane, but I think it is a prerequisite to post here. [​IMG] We all are.

    I think that it might work, and really that is all anyone can say, give it a whirl, and see where you are, if it doesn't you might just have to add those RIR to the freezer camp trip if it doesn't work. If it does work, let us know.

    mk
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Of course we don't know if it will work or not. You can only try.

    I think it is a reasonable strategy. I'm assuming you identified the bullies and took them out and left the milder-mannered BR behind. My question is on how to add them back in. I'd be tempted to put one of the bullies back in by herself after a week or two and leave the other two separate until the chosen one either integrated or indicated she would not integrate. Then, depending in the results, I'd either take the bully back out and try a different one or maybe add one or both of the other two. Maybe this way, you could identify the ringleader. I suspect one is the real culprit and the others are just following her lead. I'd also leave both roosters in with the mix until this is settled. The more you have in the integrated flock, the more the bullying may be spread out.

    Something I've noticed with younger birds in with mature hens. It is often not the most dominant one that bullies the new ones. It is often ones lower in the pecking order that are the worst bullies. And I agree with you. Roosters are not usually the problem for this type of thing. I have had them break up fights between hens, but usually mine ignore pecking order stuff between hens unless it gets into a pretty serious fight.
     
  5. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

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    Sacramento CA
    From what I have read, RIR and Barred Rocks tend to be more dominant assertive birds whether male or female. This has been my own experience with them as well. I have a 9 month old BR pullet (not laying yet) and she is the DEFINATE no questions asked, HEAD hen. But she is not a bully at all. She just demands respect from the other girls with the "low warning cluck" (I am sure most have heard the "alpha" hen give warming during treat time or anytime a subordinant gets too close to her "bubble")

    I did have a bully hen though, a beautiful blue Wyandotte. I ended up rehoming her to a friend with a larger property and larger flock. I was tired of the stress she caused the other girls. I was lucky to only have ONE bully though.

    But I am familiar with RIR and BR being bossy types.

    I was told to seperate the bully, than reintroduce which would slap her to the bottom of the pecking order. I did not even try this lol, I just rehomed her. Now my flock is calm, and happy. And the bully hen has BIGGER and OLDER hens to compete with, along with BOYS. [​IMG]
     
  6. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sunny side up :)
    I have had success by taking out the bully hens for a week or two and then reintroduce them back to the flock. The bullies will usually be at the low end of the pecking order under the new hens and the newer hens will have gained some confidence by then. The best situation where I introduced 3 different groups of hens together that had not been raised together , was this fall, I decided to put all my girls together in one pen to give them a break from the boys. I chose the largest coop and made the run bigger. I put some unfamiliar objects in the run like bright colored milk crates. There was minimal picking even though the hens didn't know one another, I think, because it was all on unfamiliar territory with wierd scary things in the run lol.
     
  7. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Bully update: Well, I lost the hen they had injured some weeks ago. Evidently she couldn't recover from her injuries. They killed one of the GSLs and now this one -- both were excellent layers.[​IMG] If they weren't such good layers themselves, I'd put them on the chopping block.

    The bullies adjusted to the two ducks and two roos and are laying eggs. There is relative peace in the coops as there isn't any fighting in their former pen and none in this. I suspect the ringleader is Enforcer, the bad tempered BR who the roos have plucked and who will bite if I check her for eggs. She's a mean and ugly thing but I've never gotten hurt, mainly because I wear long sleeves and gloves. I think she's going to be a candidate for soup soon, but as I said, she's an excellent layer. The other BR is Watcher and she's sweet. Tough to hang with them, yes, but sweet. The BSL is tough, but I think that's an act to keep her alive in the group. The two RIRs I moved act like henchmen -- hench-hens? [​IMG]

    Gawd, why can they behave like my EEs? I love them. If they were better egg producers, I'd get rid of the whole lot of brown egg layers and keep just the BO and EEs. Better yet, why don't they have personalities like my marans chicks? [​IMG]
     
  8. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leghorns and RIRs: make sure you don't get in their way. I think we gave up pleasant personalities when *they* started breeding for egg production -- One of those hormonal things!
    I am reserving judgement on marans tho. My blue FCM can have an attitude sometimes. The others blend right in with the black orps.
     
  9. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    they'reHISchickens :

    Leghorns and RIRs: make sure you don't get in their way. I think we gave up pleasant personalities when *they* started breeding for egg production -- One of those hormonal things!
    I am reserving judgement on marans tho. My blue FCM can have an attitude sometimes. The others blend right in with the black orps.

    LOL -- I'm going with Marans, EEs and Orps too. I swear, I won't buy RIR or Leghorn chicks again.​
     
  10. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I got rid of leghorns that were aggressive to my red sex links.Now my red sex links are aggressive to my EEs.And I see my EEs picking on each other mildly. I think you will have to tolerate some of the pecking order,but getting rid of the worst is good for all.Hopefully what you replace them with will be better.
     

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