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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brightonchicks, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. brightonchicks

    brightonchicks Chirping

    Jul 29, 2014
    Near Springfield,MO
    We moved our 3 laying hens into the big coop where my momma hen is with her 8 week old chicks on Saturday. Keeping them seperated but able to see each other and putting them together for short visits while supervised and have them roost together at night and then seperated next morning just before daylight. Things are going pretty good except for the top hen, she has always been top hen but she is jumping on the momma and pulling out feathers and eating them! Momma hen is a smaller chicken and has a hard time defending herself. Top hen also is very mean to the chicks so I moved her back to the small coop where she was before. Is this ok to do for a few days or so and maybe when I put her back with the others she won't be so mean? She doesn't seem to mind isolation at all. I need them to be all together before winter so they will be more protected from the weather and can have fresh non frozen water.

  2. brightonchicks

    brightonchicks Chirping

    Jul 29, 2014
    Near Springfield,MO
    Come on please help! Is this a good idea or not, I don't want to make things worse!
  3. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    Chickens eating feathers could be a lack of vitamins, likely protein. If there is no serious disputes, I would leave them together.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Leaving the mean top hen isolated for a couple of weeks is a good idea...takes more than a few days.

    Everyone else can settle into their pecking order, then when the meany gets put back in she will have dropped in rank......there will be skuffles tho, as it changes the pecking order again.

    Adding some animal protein might be a good idea.

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

    Integration of new chickens to flock.

    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.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
    2 people like this.

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