Mean girls

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Asutherland723, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Asutherland723

    Asutherland723 In the Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2018
    We just acquired a new flock of chickens. A total of 8 came together and we already had one hen and a rooster. One of the newer hens is an amercauna. She is smaller then all of the rest (red sex link, black sex link, silver laced, favorelles) and they all seem to pick on her. She plays dead (she will lay right down and put her head down for a couple minutes) when they go near her. Any suggestions to get them to stop picking on her?
     
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    How much space (coop and run) do you have per chicken? Did she get along with the flock before they came to you? Is your rooster stepping in at all?

    I've only ever heard of doing this (so I'm repeating the words of a...well, let's just say his clothing hadn't been washed recently, and he hadn't shaved in a while) but he talked about isolating the bullied hen and a rooster together so that she'd become his favorite, and then re-introducing them to the flock. Rooster almost always comes out on top of the pecking order, and the hen gets some status from her association. It at least sounds logical to me. Anyone have experience with doing this?
     
    Asutherland723 likes this.
  3. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    No experience with this, but I read about this on BYC, from another poster that had done this: put rooster with bullied one for the association. Only other idea I have seen mentioned many times, is to remove the primary bully for 1-2 weeks, so that bully has to regain her status.
     
  4. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    Sounds like the entire flock is doing the bullying, though. So probably not a valid method in this case.
     
  5. Asutherland723

    Asutherland723 In the Brooder

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    They have ample amount of space in the run and coop. The rooster doesn’t seem to step in at all he pretty much ignores her. I wasn’t sure if it was the breed. I have never had an americauna so I was unsure if it was typical for them to be picked on. She’s very sweet towards me (allows me to pick her up and carry her around and pet her) I feel awful they ALL pick on her. She is a little more high strung running around the run then the rest.
     
  6. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    What (in feet) is an ample amount of space? I'm sorry to bother you, but there's quite a bit of misinformation out there on what's a good amount of space for a chicken. TSC sells "sixteen chicken" coops in which I might be persuaded to keep four bantams. Google's top result used to say you needed 0.5-1' per chicken. Total. But minimum's actually about ten feet each in the run, and four in the coop. if you go under that (depending on breed) you're more likely to have disease and bullying issues.

    A good rooster should step in and separate fights. The fact that he doesn't means he doesn't even see her as part of his flock--just as an interloper. Sounds like they all think she's "special." Chickens don't tolerate that, generally.

    You could try to house her with one of your other chickens and give her a fresh start by reintroducing her with a friend. Maybe look up chicken toys (a cabbage ball. A ball with treats in it that they can peck. A swing. You get the idea) to distract the other members of the flock.

    If that doesn't work, I think your best option might be to rehome her before they go too far and kill her.

    EEs tend to be flighty, and my pullets are bottom of the pecking order. The actual hens are bosses. So that's normal.
     
    aart and rosemarythyme like this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    This^^^
    Really, dimensions and pics would help immensely.

    Also, @Asutherland723 , how did you integrate the new birds?
    How old are all the birds?
    How long have you had the new birds?

    Some tips 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.
     
    sylviethecochin likes this.

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