Introducing new birds

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Boudicea Farms, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Boudicea Farms

    Boudicea Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2010
    I have a flock of 8 chickens I bought as 20 week old pullets last year, 4 rhodies, 2 austrolorpes and 2 barred rocks. I lost one of the Barred rocks a couple of weeks ago, So decided since I have the room to expand the flock went out and bought 7 more pullets. They are about 21 weeks old and were raised together so they have their pecking order figured out. They have been in the coop with the older chickens for about 3 weeks now. For the first week all of the older flock chased and picked on them, but things have quieted down, there are minor squabbles during feeding time that last a couple of minutes, then things are pretty much worked out. The new pullets are friendlier than the first flock. I have one wellsummer that is low bird on the totem pole, and when she see's me, begs to be picked up, she enjoys being scratched and in this hot weather misted with the hose. Tonight I went out to treat them with fresh cucumber and corn bread, everyone was pretty happy and my pet wanted to be held so I sat down and scratched her, Then as soon as she walked away one of the older Rhodies went after her, Then when she squatted in submission the rhodie got on top of her and started raking her with her claws and bit her comb drawing blood, I got the witch off as soon as I could and cleaned up the blood before the other chickens noticed, it was a completely unprovoced attack, they had already eaten the food and everyone had gone back to scratching around in different spots in the run. I have never handled the Rhodie ,and she has never been a friendly chicken, so I left her alone. Is this something that is normal or should I consider removing her from the flock. The Rhodie isn't even head chicken, that position belongs to one of the Austrolorpes, who has been tolerating the newbies for the last week even allowing them to eat out of the same feeder. This is not the first time she's attacked pet chicken she did it before, also after me holding her, but didn't draw blood. Could it be a sound trigger? When pet is getting scratched she purrs not like a cat but close then when I put her down she calls like chicken's do to locate the flock. Also egg production went to nil, I realized it could drop when introducing newbies, I also wormed them 3 weeks ago could that have affected them? They were laying great up until a few days ago, actually the day where the eggs were safe to use again then nothing, ( payback for the nasty tasting wormer or egg envy, 3 of the new girls have started laying little eggs, could that have stopped the older hen's from laying, you'd think their on vacation lol.)
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    As weird as this might sound, I think you need to start handling the roadie some. It's obvious that your handling the pet is the trigger, and some do tend to become unsettled if someone gets more attention, even if the offender doesn't seem to want any attention. I found this out with my original flock of four. There was one that didn't seem to want to be bothered so I didn't mess with her. She became more and more aggressive to the others until I started handling her some too, even brought her inside to watch part of a movie in my lap. She didn't like it as much as she could have, but it seemed to do the trick.

    Alternately, or if that just doesn't work, isolate her from everyone else for about a week. That will reset her to the bottom of the pecking order. Both of these things might or might not work, but it's worth a try.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  3. Boudicea Farms

    Boudicea Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info, didn't think about her wanting attention will try and get my hands on her and see if that calms her down, if that doesn't work then I do have a seperate pen I use to isolate sick chickens and newbies, does it matter that the other chickens will be able to still see her?
     
  4. Hiram

    Hiram Out Of The Brooder

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    I think they can get jealous when one gets more attention. I had one that wouldn't let the others be picked up. It would chase them away when i tried to pick up anyone but it.
     
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Quote:No, I don't think it matters that they can see each other, just so they can't interact freely.
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Oh and thank Olychickenguy. His blog at http://olychickenguy.blogspot.com/ gave me the heads up to this maybe happening. I think this guy is onto something with his chicken "training."
     
  7. Boudicea Farms

    Boudicea Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Read the post link on the chicken psychology blog, pretty interesting, I now have 8 pet chickens I guess the rest decided that they were missing out on the fun, my friend came over to see my pet chicken and when we went into the run all 8 of the newbies ran to our feet and squatted, kinda freaked my friend out she thought they were running over to attack her, spent awhile giving them all a scratch, the older flock hasn't warmed up yet but I have noticed they are less flighty, and best of all the Rhodie didn't pay any attention just looked to see what was up and went back to scratching. Hopefully it was a one time incident drawing blood, and things will continue to get better, now if I can get them to allow the newbies to roost in the hen house it would be great, at least they are allowing them to lay in the favorite box:D
     

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