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How do I decide who stays and who goes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 100AcreFarm, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. 100AcreFarm

    100AcreFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 Black Australorps who bully one of my Ameraucanas something awful. Its been going on for a couple months now to the point where if I put her in the pen with them she doesn't dare even try to go near the food or water and had gotten pretty weak with crippled feet from malnutrition. I've had her inside feeding and treating her but it appears we've made very little progress thus far. I've even let them all outside in the yard together to maybe help them get to be friends again but they chase and peck her out there too. She has zero confidence left and won't eat unless its placed in front of her. I seriously don't have time for that.

    Here's my question: Should I rehome (or whatever) the weakling since the rest get along fine? There is certainly pecking and chasing with the others but everyone seems to be holding their own well.
    OR:
    Rehome my bullies and hope that the weakling will build back up? I'm concerned about keeping the BA's because I'm wondering if I'll be able to add chicks to the flock next year successfully with them around. I have a friend who is willing to take the BA's but I hate to give them up because they're supposed to be such fantastic layers. I wouldn't know, this is the first time I've had chickens and no one has layed yet! The are all 19 weeks old today and have been together from day 1.

    Help?
     
  2. yellowchickensmomma

    yellowchickensmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe they are picking on her because she has something wrong with her. Like a bird of flight will kick out a baby who is struggling to save the others. Do you think maybe that is what is going on with this one?
     
  3. pixie74943

    pixie74943 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adelaide, Australia
    is it one of the australorps leading the bullying? Find the ring leader and take her out for a couple of weeks. When you reintroduce her she'll be at the bottom of the pecking order because the other girls will think shes new
     
  4. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    It's hard to say if they will always bully and new comers. But, I have 12 Australorps and they are all pretty docile. I haven't added any new chickens to their flock since I haven gotten them, but they are different ages and they mixed together fine.

    Are you sure all of your Australorps are hens? I had one that I was almost positive was a hen, but Laura is now LeRoy, and he is out trying to crow now. Didn't show any signs of being a roo, then all of sudden, seemed to sprout saddle feathers. He is the biggest Roo I have too, but has the smallest Combs and Wattles, almost like a hen. I have 4 Roo's and they are never aggressive towards each other. What is the other one that they are chasing off? Hen or Roo?

    Hopefully, someone can help you.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't know what size your coop and pen are and whether the size had anything to do with the start of the bullying. A lack of space will often lead to bullying and worse.

    Chickens will naturally pick on the weak, whether they are weak due to age, a physical problem, a weak spirit, or sometimes size, though I don't think size is that important once they are fully grown. I believe it is nature's way of keeping the flock strong and healthy by not letting the weak reproduce. Yours are not in the wild so you don't want those rules to apply to you.

    I cannot tell you if your BA's will or will not pick on new chickens next year. It is possible that they are naturally bullies and will pick on another, although if you have sufficient room, I'd expect you to be able to integrate new chickens. How they treat the other two Ameraucanas may give you a clue if they are bullies and will always pick on the weakest chicken around or if they think something is wrong with that specific one.

    It is your decision, but I'd personally remove the one and take my chances that way, but I want a strong flock that I don't have to baby. I plan to raise my own replacements and I would not want whatever traits cause that hen to be picked on to carry on in my flock. You may have different goals.

    Good luck!
     
  6. 100AcreFarm

    100AcreFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. I think I've pretty much decided to go ahead and get rid of the weak one. She just isn't getting better and I need to not have a high maintenance flock. I'm only having them for eggs. They're all hens and 2 of the australorps are ganging up on the weak ameraucana. I don't have any intentions at this point of doing any breeding. Just purchase to replace and maintain a flock for eggs.
    Their fenced yard is 10'x12' and they're let out into the rest of our yard in the evenings for an hour or 2 when we're home.

    The australorps try to chase the one of the other ameraucanas (who is perfectly sound and healthy) out of the feed and water but she attacks right back so I'm not really seeing a problem there.

    I'm thinking I need to just cull the weak one, move on, and worry about integration next year when it actually comes.

    Thanks for letting me think outloud...
     
  7. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    I have heard that if you take one of the bullies out, and put her in with the weak one for a week or so, then return them both, they may be best of friends!

    Another way to do it (I heard), is to take 2 of the meeker ones, and put them in with the weak one for a week or so. Then, return all 3 to the flock.

    I have not experienced this myself. Just passing on info I have read.
     

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