My chickens are picking on my "newbies"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nieceharr, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    I was hoping that you could offer advice, as we are new to having chickens. We bought 6 day-old pullets in March and they are now 14 weeks old. One of those pullets turned out to be a rooster, but that is fine, as we totally love having him around. Our local feed store was selling 19 week old New Hampshire Red pullets and we stupidly bought 3 of them. We bought them around noon on Sunday and did wait until the others went into the hen house to bring in the newbies, but I don’t think that we waited long enough, as they are still being picked on. One of the new ones is very timid. She feels safe in the nesting box and won’t come out unless we take her out. These 3 had their beaks clipped – we never clipped ours, so the newcomers have an unfair disadvantage. All but 2 have now seemed to accept the new ones. I have 2 rabbit cages and took the wire top off and periodically put them over the 2 biggest bullies, keeping them with everyone else, but caged so they can’t attack the new ones. We have a 4x8 hen house and 8x8 run, plus they all get 1-3 hours to free roam in our yard when we get home from work. We don’t see any blood and have the Blue Coat just in case. Is there anything else we can do? I feel so awful – I would never have gotten these 3 if I knew that they would be picked on. It’s only been 2-1/2 days. Will it stop? Thank you for any advise you can give me.


    Wife and mother of 3 children, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 1 rabbit, 8 hens, 1 rooster and a variety of koi and goldfish.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    New chickens should not be put in with your current flock until quarrantine.

    It is too late now to prevent any type of out breaks but please read this thread.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=30851

    Quarranrtining them now probably won't help as you hens are exposed to their germs already.

    Watch your hens closely. If they show any signs of illness in the next 6 weeks you will know it came from the new hens.

    For introduction they need to be separated into a penned area where they can be seen but not touched by the older hens.

    Your hens can starve them, bully them, and make their life miserable.

    After a week in a penned separate area you should be able to go in at night and put them on the roost. they would all wake up together and the squabbling, bullying and such wouldn't be as bad as they are familiar.

    Good luck with you flock. I hope things settle down and work out fine.
     
  3. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    Thank you. I read about keeping the new ones quarantined after I put them in. I should have read this before! Also, I don't have a separate pen to put them in. I have a dog crate that I can put in the pen. I'll do that. Do you think that they will all eventually get along?
     
  4. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    my new hens still get minamally picked on but eventually it will lessen and lessen untill they are total members of the flock.

    Good Lucks I hope the new ones did not have anything!

    Henry
     
  5. s6bee

    s6bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Miss Prissy,

    Can you suggest the distance one should quarantine away from one flock from another? What is considered safe? I plan on getting some new pullets in July and need to make a new set up for that period. I can't keep them inside the house.

    Thanks
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    As far away as possible. Handle, feed, water, etc your current flock before doing anything for the new birds.
     
  7. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    How long does it take for the picking to lesson? It's been a week and 3 continue to pick on the new ones. It's not bad, per se, as no blood has been drawn. But I'm very upset about anybody getting picked on. Two of them kept chasing the new ones out of the hen house last night, so I put those bullies in the dog crate (which is inside the chicken pen). I think that one of the problems is that the new ones had their beaks clipped and therefore can't ever defend themselves. Whenever I let all of them out into my yard, they go off into 2 separate "clicks". If the new ones get close to the others, they get chased away. Ironically, my rooster hangs out with the new ones - why is that? The new ones are older than my original group - they are 20 weeks old and the others are 14 weeks old. Is the rooster hanging out with the new ones because they are older (closer to egg laying age), or is he protecting them? (He's a really great rooster). I'm obsessing about this, I know. But it really bothers me. I should never have gotten these new ones - first off, I put them in with the others without quarantining them, and they keep getting picked on. If I knew that this would happen I would never have done it. [​IMG]
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    They 14 week olds aren't big enough to defend the attacks. They are most likely trying to stay as far away as possible to prevent flock attacks. Watch them careful. The older birds can starve them if they take a notion to. As long as no blood is being drawn you are witnessing the cold cruel world of chickens on an average day.
     

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