Mean girl

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ninarod08, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. ninarod08

    ninarod08 In the Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2018
    Port Orange, FL
    So I'm new to keeping backyard chickens! I started with two from the same flock but lost one to a dog bite and shock! My Ethel seemed very lonely so I decided to get her a/some friends. I ended up getting three hens who were from the same flock. I was initially afraid they would gang up on her, however, she is the dominant one who pics on them. While they are in the run she is fine but when they go in the coop at night it is about a thirty-minute struggle to let them through the door! So my question is... Is this normal, is this "establishing the pecking order," is do I need to do something about it? I let them free range in the evenings and weekends and fear they will be reluctant to come back to the coop.
     
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  2. NoFlyBackFarm

    NoFlyBackFarm Crowing

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    I have never heard of this... It should pass. what to do about the coop is take her out and put the other 3 in, then put her in and shut it.
     
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  3. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    Yes, it is normal pecking order. They will most likely come back to the coop, unless there are better places to roost on your property - the urge to roost is why they put up with what some call the roost time rumble. :)
    How did you integrate them?
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Once the chickens think of the Coop and Run as home they will return to it. It all depends on how long you have owned them. After a couple of weeks they know where home is.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!!
    Roost Time is the most contentious time of the day for pecking order issues,
    even for well established flocks but especially during integration.
    As long as the new birds do get into the coop to roost, let them work it out.
    Having separate roosts for the new and old can really help.

    Too late maybe but might help you understand what's going on....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
     
  6. ninarod08

    ninarod08 In the Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2018
    Port Orange, FL
    Well...I was told to just put them together and they'll figure it out, so that's what I did. Once again, I was worried about my single girl, it never crossed my mind that she would be the bully! We live in a suburban area so having multiple coops is not an option.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    She's not really a 'bully', she's just doing what chickens do in their 'society'...she's merely asserting her dominance as the resident bird.
    Now if she was chasing them down to the point of them being trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly...that would be bully type behavior.
     
  8. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Crowing

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    This is perfectly normal. Chickens establish dominance by bugging each other and pecking. Once they figure things out and that they are all friend then everything should go back to normal. If a hen starts bleeding or seems injured then you may want to seperate for a little bit
     

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