"Mean Girls"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Miss Pearl, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Miss Pearl

    Miss Pearl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2013
    I am new to raising chickens. I have 3 Barred Rocks that are a year old. I bought 3 more 5 months ago and added them to the hen house last month. I really had a hard time integrating the new girls with the older girls. The older girls just intimidate the heck out of the younger ones. Unfortunately I lost my first chicken (one of the younger) 2 weeks ago, and yesterday I lost a second (also one of the younger). I free range them only when I'm outside and can watch them. I went inside both times for less than 15 minutes and a coyote got them. Now the surviving younger one is scared to death of the older girls and is all alone in the yard. At night the older girls run her out of the coop and she has to sleep at the very end of the roost by herself. They are at the the opposite end all snugged up together. I just hate "mean girls", don't you? I need advise as to what to do. Should I try to find another chicken her age, size, and/or breed to be her BFF? And how do I make the others like her and be more inclusive of her?
     
  2. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe you made a major mistake. Before introducing new hens they should be separated but where they can see each other. The new hens are intruders and are usually not readily accepted into the flock.
     
  3. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe you made a major mistake. Before introducing new hens they should be separated but where they can see each other. The new hens are intruders and are usually not readily accepted into the flock.
     
  4. Miss Pearl

    Miss Pearl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for replying to my question. I kinda felt like that was the problem. I had been given so much advise and sometimes it was not the same advise. I really hate that I've messed up so badly. All I want to do now, is to try and fix it. Would you or anyone have any advise how to maybe re-introduce her to the crowd? Do you think I should build her, her own yard & coop?
     
  5. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that her own yard and coop is a little extreme and costly. They have short memories I would remove her completely for a few weeks. Then put her in where they can see each other but separate for a few weeks. After that try to reintroduce her again.
     
  6. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally I'd try and rehome her and start again with different chickens. [​IMG] Good luck!
     
  7. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you get rid of her the introduction process is the same so why not try it again.
     
  8. GoChick

    GoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Miss Pearl,

    Sometimes it is hard to give advice because each setting is different, so what works for me may not work for you. I've introduced new pullets to old ones several times, without first letting them see each other. Of course, only introduce new members to the flock after they've been quarantined to make sure they are healthy.

    What they really need is space. If they have enough space to run away from the older "mean" girls, they will do fine. It will take a while, but at the end they will be OK. I understand you only let them outside when you're present - so you have to make sure the young ones will have a place where they can run away from the old ones.

    If I have to introduce them in a pen or closed run, I add roosts so the little ones can fly up to them - the old ones usually don't follow them there. I also add some concrete blocks and some obstacles where they can run around or on top. Add waterers and feeders - no need to spend money buying new ones, any dog bowl or bowl will do for the time being. Add a flock block - the old ones will have so many opportunities to eat that the young ones will find a bowl or flock block where they can feed as well. I make sure there are no places where the young ones could get trapped and pecked by the big girls without being able to escape - that can be really dangerous.

    at night, the old ones will defend their places in the roost and peck at the small ones, so they may have to sleep on the ground or on the poop board but little by little, the young ones will find their places within the flock. they may never become bff, but they will learn to live together.

    And after all - the "mean" girls are not mean at all - they are only teaching the younger ones their place in the pecking order.

    Good luck!
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Mathew544

    Mathew544 Out Of The Brooder

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    Chickens are creatures of habit and don't like change but eventually they will get used to the "new" situation. I have integrated other chickens into my flock before and for several weeks they would peck and pull feathers and make all kinds of noises but eventually they all got along. They have to develop a pecking order which takes time. Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Because they have already been together for how long? And she'd have to be by herself for how long before trying again? Chickens are flock animals and the ones that spend so much time by themselves have trouble becoming part of the group. Getting new chickens that the old timers have no experience with and attempting the process again seems a lot kinder to me
     

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