In desperate need of help/advise!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GSPx2, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. GSPx2

    GSPx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Long story short, I have a 12 week old and two 25+ week olds. One older bird has no problem with the new comer but the other doesn't want it anywhere with in site. She chases her all over and pecks and grabs her by the back of her neck. She chases her all over the yard relentlessly. I'm new to this, but to me the older birds aggressiveness isn't normal. She, to me, is way too aggressive towards this bird. Is it because she is younger and smaller? Or does my older bird just have a really bad attitude towards new comers?
     
  2. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pecking order.

    Definitely read that article.

    When I am ready, after quarrantine, to add a chicken to the flock, I put a lot of treats out. I don't force them into the same coop. I try to make it not so obvious that their are some strangers in the midst. A watermelon or two helps before long they don't remember necessarily someone is new.

    Caroline
     
  4. GSPx2

    GSPx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Already read it. I understand the pecking order, but if I leave the young bird with the older bird I truly feel it will kill it. The younger one doesn't in any way challenge the older one. It submits but still continues to get attacked. If I hear this is 100% normal behavior then I will ride it out a few more days. But the younger one lives in fear right now.
     
  5. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The older bird is trying to show that it is dominant. The young one doesn't do anything back because she knows she is the bottom of the order. Quarantine is the best option. And don't leave it to long either, cause it doesn't take long for a chicken to get pecked to death.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Personally, I think 12 weeks is too young, esp if the older hen is being that aggressive. I've had much better luck when the new bird is closer to 16 weeks, they're closer in size. Things still aren't pretty, but the newbie is better able to tolerate things.
    Also, be sure you have hiding places for the new bird to get out of sight of the older hen.
     
  7. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GSPx2,

    I see that you read the article but did you put the young bird in a pen within sight of the older birds for at least a full week before you put them physically together? This method is explained pretty far down in the article. This is really important and I just can't tell from your descriptions if you did this.

    Guppy
     
  8. GSPx2

    GSPx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No I did not. I let them free range together today and it wasn't as bad. Mainly because the older one couldn't catch the younger one with all the space to run. The younger one found a safe spot to go when the older one felt it was necessary to chase her. It was on my hammock. Lol She likes to go up since the older one doesn't seem to like heights. Lol
     
  9. GSPx2

    GSPx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to add that the younger one is in a small dog kennel outside the main run during the day. They stay in the same coop at night but there's a piece of netting separating them.
     
  10. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like it's going better now. But I'm not sure I'm understanding your set up. If the young one is/was in a kennel outside the main run, how is/was the older one getting to her? Or maybe you're saying you didn't keep the younger one in the kennel for very long...?

    One thing you've got is a pretty big difference in age, 12 weeks vs. 25 weeks. This often (not always) means that the integration may be tougher/more difficult. So, more caution is probably advised and the best/least risk way to go. Even if they are currently getting along, you may still want to backtrack and employ the methods discussed in that article. Keep in mind that the more you allow the young one to be stressed, the more susceptible she is to illness. There are some pretty bad things that are naturally in chickens that rear their ugly heads when the chicken is stressed. Like, Marek's, which is a virus that lays dormant in almost all chickens and if they're not vaccinated for it, the virus can go from dormant to active when the chicken is stressed. Marek's is fatal. Lots of other illnesses are activated by stress as well but I've had Marek's so I just happen to know about it. Mine was brought on by stress, I'm almost positive. You probably already know all this, but it's something to consider.

    I have done only one integration myself and it went smoothly. I created a make-shift fenced area inside my coop where I put 5 pullets that were just 2 weeks younger than my existing flock of 10 chickens (mix of pullets and cockerals). The 10 members of the existing flock use the coop as well but because I free range, the existing flock only came in and out of the coop periodically. I left the 5 new pullets behind this barrier for a full week. I put a little bench in their little pen so they could roost by themselves. They had their own water and food, etc. The existing 10 would try to peck at the 5 through the fence, but it was big enough that the 5 would just back away from the fence. After a week of this, I let them all out to free range. The 5 pretty much kept to themselves and free ranged where the 10 were not. There was some chasing but honestly, this was almost 100% the cockerals chasing the younger, new pullets more as part of their juvenile mating "I'm a young, bumbling cockeral and have no idea what I'm doing yet" behavior. I eventually moved all the cockerals to their own bachelor pad, but this is a different story. Anyway, having lived side by side for a full week, everyone knew everyone else was allowed to be there so there was no real issue. After many changes (I prepared 6 cockerals for the dinner table, for example), I now have 1 integrated flock.

    Hope this helps,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013

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