Introduced new hens two weeks ago and still they avoid each other!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Invertalon, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Invertalon

    Invertalon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Hello everybody,

    We had for a while three hens in our small backyard flock. We lost one recently and before winter, wanted to have 3-4 hens together for winter. We purchased two 13 week old Barred Rock pullets to place with our 30 week old (estimate) Red Sex Link and 28 week old (estimate) White Leghorn. Those two get along great, but these two "newbies" are getting quite harsh treatment. I expected there to be pecking order and all that, but it never seems to get any better after a week and a half, almost two weeks now.

    The white leghorn is not the issue, in fact, she is quite content with them. The sexlink though, is like the head hen for sure. She will peck at them, stop them from roosting, chase them anytime they go by the food, etc... The Barred Rocks are smaller, and hope once they get a little older the fighting will be less. No bloodshed or anything of the sort (yet, at least) but you can't help but feel bad.

    Will they eventually settle down, even if it takes another week or so? I am pretty sure the barred rocks got the point, that she is in charge... We always keep multiple food and waterers out so they can eat. But when we have to lock them in the coop together (not that large for four hens) they get pretty fighty.

    So is this normal? To go on for close to two weeks? Will they eventually settle and become a big happy family? The chasing and stuff seem less then it was, but still anytime they really cross paths and such.

    Appreciate all your help,

  2. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    Perfectly normal. Still normal at the 6 month mark.
  3. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

    Mar 18, 2010
    stamford, ct
    Depending on the individual personalities of the birds, it can take quite a while for everyone to get along - even after many months and a new established pecking order, the birds often still self-segregate and prefer the company of their own group. It is preferable when adding new birds to an existing flock, to separate them for a time while allowing them to still see one another (as in adjacent runs). This allows them to become accustomed to each other, but as long as there is no blood shed, and everyone has access to food and shelter, I wouldn't be concerned. Good luck with your birds! [​IMG]
    (BTW, I grew up in Lorain. [​IMG] ).
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  4. Invertalon

    Invertalon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Good to know, thanks! You can't help but feel bad! I hope as the Barred Rocks get a little bigger the pecking gets less, and we try to let them out all day with access to multiple food/water sources so they can eat/drink. Hopefully before winter they get it all sorted out, as they will all have to share less space come that time. That is my main concern!
  5. Hiram

    Hiram Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2011
    I combined three RIRs with three dekalb amberlinks and the same thing happened. That was about three weeks ago. First, thing to do is to separate and spread out the food and water. The established chickens will guard it so the space helps the neebies to run and get food. After about the third week, you'll see the older ones herd the new ones to the food. After this phase, you'll see the newer ones get bolder as well as the older ones get more relaxed. I don't think they'll ever act like they were born together but now some sort of order has been established.
  6. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    My 5 younger hens were integrated with the 9 older hens & 1 roo the first week of July. They still get picked on, and two of the youngest are as big or bigger than some of my older hens. My poor EE seem to get the brunt of the picking/pecking, they are only 2 weeks younger than the older 10, but are a lot smaller. My roo has been a bit aggressive with all the hens the last couple days, am keeping my eye on him. If he gets too picky/pecky, he will have to go to the time-out cage for a day or so. My EE are more skittish, so when our roo picks on them, they are jumpy about anything the rest of the day. The only thing they will tolerate is my chiu/jack russell puppy, she can be with them & they are calm, even if she moves around. If I come in, they scatter.
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It will resolve as the younger birds grow. In the interim provide an alternate feeding and drinking place so that they are assured food and water.

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