Mean hens....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Keenonf, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Keenonf

    Keenonf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2010
    Dallas area
    So I have 3 RIR hens and i recently got some silkie chicks. I thought to make things easier, i'll introduce them now so that it won't be so hard later. So i take my little silkie chick ( about a week old ) outside. The past few days i have shown him to my hens on the over side of the chicken wire. They seemed calm and curious about the little guy so I decided that maybe it was time for them to actually get close and personal with him. So i let my chickens out and they've gathered around me. So i put down him down and one of my hens proceeds to peck his little head. I understand that it is wrong to hit animals. I know that there defenseless and so on and so on. But i'm not going to lie, I punched that hen as hard as I could. I didn't even think about it. It was just instinct. So I pick the poor little guy up and hes crying obviously. I check for blood or a bald spot but hes fine. I know that introducing new chickens to the flock isn't exactly a smooth transition but good god, its a baby chick! How can my full grown reds possible see that little baby as a threat?

    So i guess what i'm asking is how can I get my hens to not treat my chicks like a punching bag?
  2. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    Tiny fuzzy things that they do not raise from eggs appear to be food. Keep them separated until they are near the same size.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It sounds like you're expecting your grown hens to react to a baby like human adult women would to a newborn. Let's just say they aren't impressed with any babies other than their own.

    Here's what I did when I got my original three Light Brahmas at age three weeks and I wanted to introduce them to my two adult hens. I partitioned off the pen, and everyday for three weeks, I put the young pullets into one side of the pen, and the hens were in the other side. They got acquainted with one another through the safety of the chicken wire. When a youngster would get too close to the fence, it would often get a sharp peck from the adult on the other side. They were only out during the day, since they were still sleeping under a heat lamp at night.

    After three weeks were up, I merged them. But I built a "panic room" in the pen, about 3 feet by 4 feet, that had two small entrances that the larger hens couldn't fit through. The youngsters quickly discovered their safe room, and got very quick very fast at escaping a bullying hen. I also placed their food and water inside so they could eat in peace and so the big girls wouldn't eat it.

    When they got too big to fit through the hole in the panic room, they were big enough to fend for themselves and I took it down.

    Introducing the youngsters to communal living in the coop was a whole other challenge, and I'll tell you about that if you're interested.
  4. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    The youngsters need to be big enough to be able to hold their own! I like keeping them seperated by a fence for several weeks, so they are completley visible to each other but can't do any harm to the smaller ones. Eventually they get used to seeing each other and the transition to living together isn't so brutal.
  5. evonne

    evonne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Las Vegas
    Quote:i like that panic room idea... and the food and water in there... my 11 week old leghorns, and 8 week old marans and my D'uccle roo are all on the bottom of the pecking order and get shooed away from food.. i might have to try this as a permanent addition to my pen area... so he banties and the babies always have a safe place to eat...
    i also have peacocks who thing they're at the top of the pecking order.. little do they know i'd take them out if they hurt the chickens..

    i spend a few days with my 4-5 week olds in their little cage out in the yard during good weather where the bigger birds are free ranging... they come over and investigate... and then after a week or so of this i start letting the babies out for an hour or so when i can sit and shoo away any big bird that gets onery..... then after a few days of the big birds getting shooed, they get over the whole thing and the babies start learning their place in the pecking order..... they are last.. the way nature goes... i feed twice a day... and add a little extra about an hour after the last feeding so the bottom of the order still gets enough to eat.. cause the top birds have gone to roost already..... it works for them.... they're all happy and growing...
  6. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    RIR tend to be more aggressive than silkies. Once you introduce them for good make sure the silkies can get away from them. Some hens will take to chicks that are not their own, however these are usually broody breeds, cochins frizzles and silkies. my frizzled turken will adopt anything, the day I bought her I also bought some three week old silkies chicks, by the time we got home they were HERS they still sleep clustered around her. They are as big as she is.
    super hen
  7. jaboo81

    jaboo81 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2009
    New Braunfels TX
    That panic room is a good ideal. I have always put my little ones in a run built next the the big birds pen inside the coop. I let them get used to each other through the chicken wire. Then when they get big enough to handle the big birds (like they said) I will then put them together. I have never had a bird get hurt. It is fun to watch the pecking order begin.

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