Introducing 2 hens to help a bullied one

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by afisher137, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. afisher137

    afisher137 In the Brooder

    10
    5
    19
    Apr 23, 2017
    Hi. I currently have a buff, a Rhode island red and an Easter egger. The Easter egger had started to get bullied the last month. We were thinking of getting 2 new hens to supplement the flock and keep the Easter egger from being bullied. Will that work? I was going to put the EE in with the new ones so she's top chicken while they're integrating. Will that work? Coop pic attached. Plan is that old chickens are on the left and center, new on the right while they meet, then I open the right and they all share the space. Thoughts? Thanks
     

    Attached Files:

  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    14,599
    12,435
    722
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When bringing in new chickens into a flock, you can be guaranteed of one thing - it's going to make everything more complicated.

    Don't misunderstand. It may work out splendidly. You simply have no way of predicting how the existing personalities will get along with the new personalities.

    While your three chickens only need to relate to two other chickens now, when you introduce two new chickens, that means each chicken then will need to work out relationships with four other chickens, two of which could be more aggressive and end up bullying them.

    All of the integration details require time, weeks maybe, for everyone to observe and learn about one another and begin to test social ranking in the flock and work through it. Also, unless you plan on allowing all of the chickens to free range, the very limited space within the two coops is going to make the adjustment more difficult. Chickens will have more conflicts if their space limits them from running away from the more aggressive ones.

    Think it over carefully. If your reason for getting two more chickens is to solve your bully problem rather than to increase your flock, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
     
    afisher137, sourland and aart like this.
  3. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens

    9,132
    19,634
    832
    Jan 8, 2017
    I like how you took the two coops and an extension to make it all one unit. I would have never thought of that. Also, I like the paint color!

    Could you add more space with a run? We added some cattle panels around our coop and it has given them more space to stretch out. Except that right now, I don’t have any type of cover against hawks. So, they are only allowed out there when they are supervised.

    I have no idea about integrating as I’m new to chickens. I have 4 and just noticed tonight that during roosting my Easter Egger is the top chicken as she was pecking the others (quite mean like) and they were all crouched down. I have no idea if this goes on nightly as I’m usually not out there when they go in to roost - I just check on them when I know they’ve all settled down.

    Is the bullying drawing blood? Or is it just normal pecking order?
     
    afisher137 likes this.
  4. afisher137

    afisher137 In the Brooder

    10
    5
    19
    Apr 23, 2017
    The enclosure is actually a pretty good size, about 20' by 4' and they do get to free range for a couple hours in the evening so I think they have good space. Our yard is only 20' deep so I can't make it much bigger without taking up most of the yard. I was going by the 10sf per chicken rule. The pecking seemed to be mostly picking feathers and chasing. I haven't seen any blood yet thank goodness. I've started wondering if it isn't just molting to a certain extent.
     
    Soon2BChixMom likes this.
  5. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens

    9,132
    19,634
    832
    Jan 8, 2017
    Mine are molting too. Have you seen actual feather picking?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    54,957
    40,026
    1,287
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    My thoughts exactly.

    You already have a rather small space for 3 birds.
    It might be 20' long, but that 4' width(measure it, bet it's more like 3')
    makes it tight for a subordinate to get away from the dominant bird.

    Knowing more about your flock and the issues might find a better solution than exacerbating the problem by adding more birds. You may just have a 'bad' bird in the bully....or it may just be normal pecking order stuff. There will always be higher and lower birds and pecking is a pretty normal form of communication.
    Tell us who's the bully?
    Are both the other birds picking on the EE?
    How long have you had these birds?
    Are they your first chickens?
     
    afisher137, azygous and Soon2BChixMom like this.
  7. afisher137

    afisher137 In the Brooder

    10
    5
    19
    Apr 23, 2017
    It's mostly chasing but I have seen the other two go after the third a bit
     
  8. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens

    9,132
    19,634
    832
    Jan 8, 2017
    Aart has some really good questions up above. I'm new to chickens too. But, if you answer those, they will be able to offer more help.
     
  9. afisher137

    afisher137 In the Brooder

    10
    5
    19
    Apr 23, 2017
    Both of the other birds seem to be chasing the EE. I don't think I've is more of a bully than the other. I've had them since they were chicks in April. Yes they are my first chickens.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,255
    4,482
    456
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    My idea as for the coop - is go from roof to roof and expand the 3rd dimension of space. Then add a roost out in the run, a platform that birds can get under or on top of, a pallet leaned against the wall. This will look more cluttered, but it will be more interesting to your birds, give them more exercise and give them space to get away from each other.

    You might consider just adding one bird to the EE. Then adding the pair back to the other pair. Before I would do that, I would feed all four birds along the fence, for a while. Truthfully, if one has a timid bird, they tend to always be the victim. Adding a pair, and even though they are new, if they know each other, it will be two against one again. Adding just one bird would keep your numbers down. You are a bit short on space, which is often made evident by bullying behavior. Some types of birds do better in confinement than others.

    Mrs K
     
    Soon2BChixMom, afisher137 and azygous like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: