How bad can it get?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sniggle, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Sniggle

    Sniggle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 7, 2011
    Hi, I am an old-timer on this site but haven't been on for years - I have had 10+ years of successful chicken owning & I am stumped. I had a small flock of 8 easy-going hens, ranging from 2-9 years old. I just added 6, 17 week old hens. The hen on the bottom of the pecking order in the older group has decided she hates the 'babies' & she chases them. When they are in the pen together (I usually free range), the young ones are up on the roosts or on the top of the egg boxes, essentially hiding from the older hen. I integrated them a week ago & things don't seem to be getting any easier. Normally I wouldn't be that concerned but I am leaving for 2 nights, taking our LGD with us & having to keep all the girls penned up together. I am wondering if that is safe or if the crabby older hen could really do some damage on the young ones? I know part of the problem is the young ones are very timid breeds (Marans, Delaware & Welsummers), while my older hens are mostly Easter eggers...

    My question is, should I isolate that one hen while I am gone? I have an old henhouse I could put her into but I'd rather not if there is no danger. I have never had any problems with hens being mean to each other so I am wondering how bad could it get? Could I be risking the young ones lives or health by keeping the other hen in there for 2 nights & 3 days? I assume that eventually it will be ok but should I be pushing them together without any free ranging for nearly 3 days?

    Any ideas?
    Thanks!
     
  2. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is just a guess, but I think if she was going to seriously hurt them, she would have by now. Will they still be able to free range while you are away? If not, I would consider separating her. Being that close together for that long may make her act out more. Good luck.
     
  3. Sniggle

    Sniggle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 7, 2011
    They won't be free ranging while we are gone so they will all be penned up together for 3 days.
     
  4. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    I would not take the chance then and perhaps put a friend in lock down with her? Being cooped with the young may lead to more aggression as mentioned....
     
  5. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree, maybe find a friend or two to isolate her with if you are really concerned.
     
  6. karimw

    karimw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree there is a risk. She may not physically hurt them, but the stress of being attacked could keep the young ones from eating and drinking like they should. I know I would worry!
     
  7. Sniggle

    Sniggle Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everybody! I kept them penned up this am for a while longer than usual & even took out who I thought was the aggressor & realized there are at least one or two more hens who are bothering the young ones. The worst part is that they stand at the door of the coop & don't let them by to get to food & water...I am going to isolate 2-4 of the crabby ones in the old henhouse while I am gone...maybe it will take them down a notch & allow the young ones to get well acquainted with the nicer of the older hens.

    Wish me luck! I have never had integration problems...this really came as a surprise! I am also surprised that it is my gentle Easter Eggers who are the aggressors!
     
  8. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    How about isolating the new girls from the older ones and doing a re-intro when you get home?
     
  9. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:X2 [​IMG]
     

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