How much bullying is acceptable for a new arrival

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chris503632, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. chris503632

    chris503632 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2011
    Hi all, I have recently introduced a new 19 week old chicken to a single ex-battey chicken to give her some company.

    The old chicken spent the first few days being very wary and clucking a great deal. Now, she seems to have started picking on the other one, first chasing her into the coop, then following her in and chasing her out. The new arrival seems to be submitting - she presses her self down on the floor and makes a funny growling noise.

    There is a bit of feather plucking (old plucking the new), but nothing as nasty as blood being drawn.

    They have now been together for five days. I know that there is always squabbling to sort out the heirarchy, but is there anything in particular I can do to help?

    I have started putting a feeder in the coop as well as in the run so the the new arrival can get to food where ever she is.

    I have heard that they can take a couple of weeks to sort things out, is this right?

    Any advice to put an over protective and paranoid new chicken owner's mind to rest would be gratefully received.

    Cheers, Chris
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I can't give you a firm answer. Each chicken has its own personality and its own rate of maturity. I've had 19 week olds that could fit into the pecking order without a problem. I have some 21 week olds right now that are still being bullied, but not too bad. My worst place for bullying is on the roosts, by the way. The rest of the time it isn't bad at all.

    It sounds like you are doing everything right. As long as there is no blood, they will eventually work it out. It is different for each of us.

    Good luck!!
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can put some vertical objects in the run for the bullied bird to get behind so she can get out of the way of her tormentor. Sit and watch them for a spell (30 minutes or more). Is the bully persistent in chasing the victim all around that run? Or does she stop chasing after a few paces? If it's the later, that's not too bad. If it's the former, then that can be a real problem because of how stressful that is for the hen being chased. Watch to see that the bullied hen is able to eat and drink. You did the right thing to set up separate feed stations.

    We had to give away one of our hens because of her vindictive bullying of another. A month long time out in a separate pen ended the bullying dynamic with another pair of hens.
     
  4. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    Do not take this the wrong way but ex-battery hens are going to behave well... like battery hens. They are used to defending themselves and rarely adjust to a different life completely. Some seem to adjust but I have always had pecking problems with them. Something the rescue folks seem to always neglect telling new inexperienced chicken owners. I have taken several, actually quite a few from people for this reason when selling them new POL hens. Wish I had a better solution that works.
     
  5. chris503632

    chris503632 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2011
    Quote:I have been keeping an eye on them all day. The old chicken has been out in the run and the new one in the coop, and there hasn't been any squabbling. Are there any signs in the new chicken I should watch out for in case things get really bad? from what I have read a bit of feather pulling is fairly normal - is that right?
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have been keeping an eye on them all day. The old chicken has been out in the run and the new one in the coop, and there hasn't been any squabbling. Are there any signs in the new chicken I should watch out for in case things get really bad? from what I have read a bit of feather pulling is fairly normal - is that right?

    One of our hens had all the feathers on the back of her neck pulled out in less than 24 hours. I had to separate her and her sister from the flock until the feathers grew back, because I was afraid the next peck was going to draw blood (without any feathers there to protect her neck).

    So, yes, pecking at the back of the neck happens. Remember, though, that you're dealing with individuals who have individual personalities even though they're chickens. You just have to observe and react according to what you see going on.

    Sometimes feather picking is related to protein deficiencies, too, so you could always offer some mashed up hardboiled egg to up the protein content of your flock's rations for a while. It also helps to make sure the chickens have something to do (idleness breeds trouble). Toss out a handful of scratch and let them hunt around for it in the run. Dump a bag of dried leaves in there: it will take them the whole day to scratch through all of the leaves.
     

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