Introductions/Agression

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TeacupandSaucer, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. TeacupandSaucer

    TeacupandSaucer Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2013
    I will read through some of the other threads on this topic but wanted to put my situation up and get feedback;

    Have a 2 year old bantam hen who used to bully everyone we put with her so we have left her solo last summer.

    Started a new flock of 4 hens (still debating on the one silkie but no fertile eggs she is probably holding off to lay in the spring), oh and 2 guinea fowl. The easter egger (named Lavender) rules the roost.

    Purchased a 1.5 year old Polish roo to actually start growing the flock.

    Multiple attempts at introduction has resulted in Lavender drawing blood from the roo and older bantam, and old bantam will draw blood from roo if left together. Because its so cold out the bantam and the roo sit by themselves inside the house.

    Most recently I left everyone hungry for a day and the next morning before sunrise added the two outcasts to the coop with lots of food and treats for everyone...that lasted 5 minutes and then the screams and blood started. I'm at a loss and with 4 feet of snow on the ground I don't have a lot of options until spring but the outcasts need to get out of the house.
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Take a good look at your set up. If your run and coop is just an open area, enclosed with a fence, there may be no place to get away from each other, or out of sight.

    Try adding a pallet, put it up on blocks so that birds can get under it and on top of it. Lean one up against the wall, so a bird can get behind it and out of sight. Be careful, not to block off one opening, or a bird can get trapped. Put some roosts out in the run, I just stick a handle kitty corner in the fence. Mine love to roost on it during the early morning and late afternoon. Have multiple water and feeders, maybe one out of sight of the main area.

    Often times, cold weather at night, will make birds more tolerant, cause warm is warm, but the only other option you have is fencing off an area where they can see but not touch.

    Is there a big difference in size of the birds? And often times a very young rooster gets thumped on.

    Set up some hideouts, and try it again.

    Mrs K
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    How old is the rooster? Could you post a picture of him?
     
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 bantam pullets that just started laying. I've just resigned myself to the fact that they will be in the garage until spring. I don't have enough room in the coop for a safe and stress free proper introduction and no way to free range them with all the snow. It's a pain in the butt, but not worth the bloodshed.
     
  5. TeacupandSaucer

    TeacupandSaucer Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2013
    That is pretty much my situation, minus 20 Celsius without the windchill and snow drifts up to my waist, but no garage so they sit in cages in the spare room till spring I guess. But I like the idea of hiding places, will keep that in mind.

    Not sure how old the roo is, 18 months I think, bought him from a local wanting to introduce some interesting genes to the pool. He was picked on by the other roos where he came from so I knew he wouldn't be aggressive but he doesn't even try to avoid the pecking right now.

    Spring time it is, lets hope for an early spring but I doubt it.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You seem to have a pattern of aggression with many of your chickens. Each chicken has its own personality so you may just be extremely and unusually unlucky in the individuals you have, but that sounds more like a flock problem than an individual chicken problem. Maybe.

    How big are your facilities, coop and run. How much space is available to them when they are awake? One way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is that when there is conflict, the weaker runs away from the stronger. There is often some chasing involved but if a chicken can get away the problems are tremendously reduced. It normally doesn’t take long for the weaker to learn to avoid the stronger to start with, so they also need enough room to avoid. That’s where separate food and water stations come in handy too. Those two chickens are not sitting inside the coop because of the cold, they are avoiding the others. At least the others can get out of the coop.

    Since you say they are drawing blood this is not a case of someone that doesn’t understand chickens, integration, and the pecking order overreacting. That happens a fair amount on here but if they are drawing blood it is serious.

    I know you said you did not have a lot of options because of the snow, but if there is any way you can partition your facilities or add something where you house the ones getting picked next to but separated from the aggressors, they may become more accepting of each other. That does not solve the pecking order issues but it does at least help them to accept that they are members of the flock and not be attacked just because they are strangers. You’ve probably done something like that with the bantam hen.

    The problem with the rooster may be that you got a wimp. That hen is the dominant flock member. She is not willing to give up her dominant spot and will fight to retain it. A rooster needs to be able to dominate all the hens in his flock so he can control the flock. That’s not so much a size thing. There are plenty of bantam roosters that totally dominate a flock of full sized hens. Often it is a case of immaturity, but at 1-1/2 years old, that rooster should be old enough to do that based on his impression of his own magnificence, his self-confidence and force of personality. That’s not happening.

    Some hens will not accept any rooster, especially if she has been the dominant chicken. It’s that “each individual is different” thing. It can be hard to give up power. Something else you might try is to totally separate the aggressive hen from the flock for a week and see if that knocks her down enough in the pecking order that she is no longer such a bully when you put her back. See how the others get along without her. It may turn out to be an individual chicken problem and you need to decide which chickens you really want in your flock.

    These things can be challenging. I wish you luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
    1 person likes this.

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