My Hen is Being Aggressive!

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,843
35,716
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
They don't have a lot of hiding places unfortunately. How can I add some "places of refuge?"
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/

Example of my run layout, with various types of clutter:
obstacles2021.jpg
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,499
3,620
346
Sacramento Area, California
Integration is slow but it sounds like you are doing all the right things! I have a chair in the run, a planter box on its side, and a kiddie pool for dust bathing in their run plus the roost bars and nest boxes in their coop to hide. I found the biggest change in the older chickens attitudes came from letting the little chickens out first while the older ones had to stay in and watch them. It helped them feel more confident, set less of a territorial tone that the big chickens had to defend, and gave the babies time to enjoy without any harassment. I supervised their interactions for a couple weeks and now they all share the run together and everyone deals with each other, but my hens still enjoy chasing the babies when they’re feeling sassy. No injuries, just asserting dominance. The bottom of the order Silkie who is the nicest chicken ever even gives them a hard time once in awhile. But they are mingling and everyone is behaving but it really helps a lot for them to have hides, perches, and such to escape to. So maybe just a little time with the mean hen in an area where she has to watch everyone else will help with her issues too? Good luck! Sounds like you are on your way. I agree that as they get bigger it will get better. Mine are 4 months old now so they’re almost equal sizes and I think that has really helped.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,542
26,941
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
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chickencoop57

Songster
Aug 24, 2019
254
477
167
Pipe Creek, Tx
I built a separate pen inside my enclosed coop run, where I'll put the baby chicks, after about 2 weeks in the brooder, thus the see-don't- touch rule. I have a piece of plyboard, about 8" x 4' on the bottom of it, that I raise little at a time, as the chicks get older, where they can come out and mingle with the big ones, but can also run back into it if they start getting picked on. Works pretty well. 😊
 

ringaring

Songster
8 Years
Jan 14, 2013
182
46
146
Norfolk, NY
Time. Mine are also 9 wks old & the geese, muscovies & rooster will threaten them occasionally. It's much better now than when they 1st came out of the weeds with Mom. Now they also have 2 Moms who herd them to safety or defend them. The chicks are at a stage when they are vying for top position with each other & I'm sure the rest of the flock senses this competitiveness. As with most teens; it will get better with time. Keep them apart but within sight & sound of the adults until signs of aggression abate. Since all my birds free range 24/7, allowing chicks to hatch naturally (surprise!) & allow Mom to raise them made integration much easier. Good luck.
 

catballou

Songster
Feb 12, 2021
169
167
126
Michigan
I just put my chicks outside at night for the first time. They are 9 weeks old, so they are plenty old enough. The problem is that I have one aggressive hen who will chase them around the pen and grab hold of their feathers. She is so much bigger than them, and I know she will hurt them! My other 3 bigger hens seem to be doing fine with them....except her! I am keeping all four of my adult hens separated (except when they have to lay), but I would like to find a way for my aggressive hen to accept them. Thank you for your help!

IIRC, that's the usual recommended time.
I had my 8 pullets next to my two adult hens for three months and they all ran around the yard after 5 or 6 pm. The older hens always chased them away but when I separated one hen for one day, it made a huge difference. It wasn't the dominant hen either!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,629
143,618
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
The older hens always chased them away but when I separated one hen for one day, it made a huge difference. It wasn't the dominant hen either!
Usually the lowest hen is the most aggressive to new birds.
They are either protecting their place in the pecking order,
or just exult in having some lower to beat upon.
 

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