Inter-chicken aggression? Also: hen trying to crow?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hannalice, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. hannalice

    hannalice In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2010
    Hey all!

    Couple of questions for ya:

    I bought three new hens to add to my (newly depleted) flock about a week and a half ago. I've been keeping them separate from the two left of the previous flock, letting them all get used to each other. The other day, I just opened the gate between the two flocks, as they all seemed to be adjusting pretty well (no more pacing fencelines, etc) and all hell broke loose. The two from the previous flock are a Cochin and a Speckled Sussex, and the Speckled Sussex was acting like a mad axe murderer- chasing the newbies all over the pen, and when she finally would catch one, would grab hold of her, pull feathers, and kick, all while the newbie had been screaming bloody murder and trying to escape. Now, I know that's fairly normal as the initial pecking order gets established, and after making sure no blood was being shed, I left them to it for a couple of hours while I finished up at work.

    When I came back down, the newbies were all huddled in a corner as far from the Sussex as they could get, and they weren't moving. The reason why became obvious when one *did* move- the Sussex came tearing over to beat the "offending" hen down- from across the 17 foot pen, mind you. After that happened a few times, I decided enough was enough, and separated the two sets again. Since then, I've tried that another two times, and finally just moved the Cochin over with the newbies. She's fine- pecked them all a few times, pulled a few feathers, and now that they all get out of her way, she more or less ignores them. That Sussex, though... every time one of the newbies squawks because she got pecked, the Sussex slams into the fence in an attempt to get at the one that hollered. She'll reach through the welded wire separating the two sides of the pen and grab anyone within reach (so they're all keeping a good foot away from the fenceline).

    I'd rather not send her off to FC if I can help it, but she's terrorizing the newbies, and I can't keep them separated forever. I'm wondering if totally removing her, isolating her, and re-introducing her in a week might help? Reset her position in the hierarchy? I work with dogs a fair amount in group play sessions, and she's reminding me of a pack of dogs- if someone squeals, it's likely to incite a riot.

    Second question, and I'll try to get video of this, as well: the Cochin seems to be trying to crow. That's the only way I can describe it. She's a hen- I know she's a hen, she produces eggs on a semi-regular basis, but she makes this noise recently- very loud, almost growling noises, followed by... I can't quite describe it. It's kinda like "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRAAAW!!" Weirdest thing. She gets very tall, and stretches her neck out to produce the final (very obnoxious, to be honest) noise. [​IMG] Ideas? Anyone else have a hen with an identity problem?

    EDIT: I don't have a rooster, and I don't believe any of my neighbors have roosters either. Dunno if that makes a difference.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    A period of separation is in order. Hens can crow. With a rooster present I haven't heard of a hen crowing. Wouldn't be surprised that there is one someplace. We are talking about living animals here.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Separating out the meanies can work. You need to get the aggressor in isolation for about 2 weeks. This usually gives them a change of attitude and allows the flock to form a new pecking order. But it takes a few weeks with this meany in jail, all alone. If that does not work, you can try "pinless peepers" on the meany. I have used them with great success. Keeps them from being able to use their beaks as weapons.

    And yes, hens can crow. I don't have a rooster either and you will find that one of your girls is going to try and take the place of one. She may become aggressive toward you. That happened to me, this top hen would charge me like a mean ol' rooster..biting me!! LOL I had to use the peepers on her on and off for 6 months to tame her down to where she no longer bites me. LOL

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by