Introducing new Hen into established coop-issues-

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CrazyAcres, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. CrazyAcres

    CrazyAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    Hi all-sorta new here-I was a member ages ago, and well lost my way. Ill re-intro myself at a later time.

    I have 2 established coops- 1 coop is 1 roo and 2 hens, the other 1 hen 1 roo. They are all about 5 years old, I've had most of them since they were babies.

    I acquired a lovely Rhode Island Red hen, we named her Willie she looks young but could be anywhere from 1yr-5yrs old (the previous owner wasn't sure). We kept her quarantined for a bit, and when we deemed her healthy went about introducing her to the flock. We decided since she wasn't used to free raning to put her with the larger group, since my roo is fantastic at keeping the girls out of trouble (the other rooster is lazy LOL). We put her in a cage inside the coop and it seemed to be fine- the girls were interested and there was no fighting thru the cage (the hen in the smaller coop, Dum Dum had pecked her thru the cage and given her the feathery what for).

    Later that evening we decided to let her out with them and see how things went. As expected they chased her a bit and pecked at her but left her alone for the most part. I was surprised that my generally docile hen, Sissy was bullying her the most-during the day. When it came time to go to sleep, Willie tried to go into the coop and she was straight up attacked by my other hen, Lily. Lily wouldn't let her into the coop. I was able to pull Lily out and let Willie in..and it was fine.

    The 2nd day they continued to pick at her and chase her. Last night was the worst- Lily was relentless. I tried the pulling Lily tactic again and it didn't work. At some point Willie forced her way in, and they settled.

    Lily doesn't really bother with Willie during the day which is odd-because Lily is a bully, she used to be pretty mellow, but since the other 2 hens in the coop passed away over the winter she's been picking on Sissy.

    Come to this morning-Sissy is pursuing and picking on Willie, still-and it seems more relentlessly than before.

    Will they ever "work it out" ? How long should I give it? Should I try her in the other coop?

    My rooster likes her, but he obviously is smart enough not to put himself between his ladies, though.
     
  2. CrazyAcres

    CrazyAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    ok well they are still beating Willie up, it's almost gotten worse- She went into lay and Sissy who's not laying wouldn't even let her go in- in fact she pretended like she was laying herself and pushed her out.

    I finally pulled her out and let willie go in to lay. The poor chicken is perched on top of a dog kennel in the coop because they wont even let her step down to eat or drink.

    Should I let them continue to work this out or try her in my other coop?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  3. FisherMOM

    FisherMOM Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Bergen, NY
    I have the same question. We introduced 3 14 week old pullets to our flock and it;s the hens that are bullies. It has been 3 days today.
     
  4. Chowder

    Chowder Out Of The Brooder

    When we introduced our new hen - it took almost a month for them to finally become friends. Hang in there!
     
  5. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Watch for any serious injuries - like bleeding - and isolate any one who is seriously hurt.
     
  6. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Takes time... and patience. Yikes I hate it when they're so mean! Same here. Just time.
     
  7. CrazyAcres

    CrazyAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    Well she's getting smarter and learning to avoid the "mean girls" they are letting her get down and eat, but they still aren't being buddies.

    My mother in law keeps telling me I should take one of her former "cell mates" (my mother in law bought 5 other chickens from the same group ) and it would probably be better for her- do you guys think so? That coop can handle another chicken- and I know C.R. (roo) would be in heaven with another girlie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  8. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    Make sure she's getting enough food and water, cause if she's not you could have major health issues with Willie. It takes a while for a new hen to be integrated into an existing flock, especially with such a small flock. I have 55 chickens right now, 30 of which were older. The 25 younger chickens all went in at the same time, and my older ones bothered them for about a day and a half before figuring out there were too many to pick on LOL! They get along great now. Also, I had integrated 3 other ages into the oldest chickens' flock previous to the 25 smallest ones. The worst problem I had was with the 2 ameraucanas, cause they were the ONLY new ones at the time. It was easy for 28 chickens to pick on the 2 newbies. That lasted about a week before they figured out that the ameraucanas were 'cool'. I had to make sure that the new ones were getting enough food and water and that they weren't getting hurt. You'll be able to tell if the old chickens are aiming to hurt the new ones. The pecking and dominance thing are normal pecking order behaviors, but drawing blood and prolonged fighting is not the same. Good luck!!!
     
  9. CrazyAcres

    CrazyAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    She's definitly getting enough food and water-she's a smarty pants she will run in and eat while the rest are out and about. I also put some food and an extra waterer up on top of the dog kennel she's been hiding on [​IMG]

    It's been so long since I added to my flock- Lily was the last addition-almost 5 years ago, and as my girls get older and some pass on I find myself missing having a larger bunch- I took Willie as an experiment to see how it would go and I totally feel like I made a mistake.

    They aren't beating her relentlessly-they do stop-its not like when my roos started fighting a few years back (hence having 2 seperate coops now)-its more like a chase, peck, go back to my own corner type thing.

    I'm still debating whether or not to pick up a 2nd 'new girl" from my Mother In Law- I think it will just give Lil and Sis another one to pick on also- any opinions on that?
     
  10. FisherMOM

    FisherMOM Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Bergen, NY
    Quote:personally... I added 3 new chickens to my flock of 4... I was surprised that the 3 are so picked on. I figured it was almost even, and considering Rusty doesn't pick on them.. it's 3 to 3 and the newbies take the beatings.
     

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