My chickens were ganged up on

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ct99, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. ct99

    ct99 In the Brooder

    May 8, 2015
    Hi, just recently I adopted 3 ex battery hens. I already had an existing flock of 7 hens and 1 rooster. At first I let them free range together, but while they're in their coop and run, my roster and australorp hen gang up on my 3 new leghorns.. They chase them off when they're at the feeder, my new ones get scared and freeze in their spot when they see my rooster and australorp, and it seems like my existing flock has been starving my new ones.
    Today when I went outside to check on them and give them some pumpkin, my leghorns were in the coop. While the existing flock was busy eating the pumpkin, the three ran out and were eating nonstop for about 20 minutes. Only time they left was when my australorp would chase one Zane pin her down and peck at her comb, while the rooster ran over to add in on the pecking. My leghorns seemed so desperate for the food. How long till everything settles down? It's been 3 days since they've been with each other but it seems like it's gotten worse. I don't want to end up with a dead hen one morning. It's sad cause the leghorns are debeaked, so they can't defend themselves. What can I do to make the bullies stop bullying? Tomorrow I am going to put blue kote on their combs and blood spots. Would it be fine if I sprayed it all over the entire comb, to prevent the pecking? Any advice would be very appreciated

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    There are many threads on introducing new flock members so i would suggest you research those. I would suggest however that you ensure that you have multiple feeding / watering stations (out of eyesight of each other) while they are free ranging as this cuts down competition / bullying for food. I have two stations in my garden, so if mum with her chicks chases the rest of the flock away from one feeder, they simply amble over to the other one and so the game goes on!

  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    CTKen makes some good points about the feed.

    The bluekote won't stop the pecking in this case, it's about territory defense rather than attraction to blood.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

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

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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