How long should I let hens fight during introduction?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by P&A in Seattle, May 14, 2008.

  1. P&A in Seattle

    P&A in Seattle New Egg

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    May 5, 2008
    Seattle
    We've had our new hen living side-by-side but separated from our original hen (they're about the same size and same age) for a few weeks now and they are beginning to get used to each other. We let them wander around outside at opposite ends of the backyard and they seem content to stay away from each other. However, when they do get close to each other, they still want to do chicken karate on each other. While we understand that they will fight a bit to establish their pecking order, we're not sure how long a hen fight should be allowed to last. We got some bad advice from a breeder when we first brought the new girl home and we introduced them immediately and allowed them to fight for about 15 minutes and there was quite a bit of blood. We now know that introducing new birds is a lengthy process, but we still don't know what to expect when we introduce them again face-to-face. How long should the battle of the beaks go on for and how bloody do these battles normally get? Thanks for any advice you can give us!
     
  2. jessica117

    jessica117 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2008
    SE Tennessee
    I wouldn't let it get bloody at all. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but I've only had a hen draw blood once, and that was on the rooster while she was rearing her chicks. He got too close and she WENT OFF.

    This sounds mean, but from my experience it works. If you can figure out who is the more aggressive hen, put her in a cage (I use a 3ft x 3ft) in the other hen's coop. Leave her there for a day or two (with food and water of course.) When you let her out she'll be knocked down a few notches.

    I had to do this with my americana when i introduced some pullets to the mix.

    Jess
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

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    Welcome fellow washingtonian.

    If your hens are very established, and they have to live confined, the fighting my go on for a while. If there is a little bit of blood, don't worry too much, if there is alot, try again later.

    I just put them all together after quarantine, but they have lots of free range space to escape and are not fenced in.

    I'd give it about 2 weeks for a new pecking order to be figured out and the heavy fighting to end.
     

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