New addition to flock seems scared to death

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jamie78, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. jamie78

    jamie78 Out Of The Brooder

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    A friend "blessed" us with a very sweet silkie hen. She is healthy and seems to enjoy her new home. However, my other chickens (one leghorn, two rhode island reds, all 6 months old) aren't too fond of her. They don't pick at her nonstop, nor does the silkie have any injuries, large amounts of lost feathers, etc. They will peck at her and take a feather or two here and there, but it doesn't seem to be a major concern. (Unless I am mistaken about that!) It may just be her shy nature, but she seems terrified. She will hug the corner of the coop or hide under the nest box. Do you think my birds are being meaner to her than what I suspect? When they are free ranging, they chase her a bit but generally leave her alone. She does her thing and they do theirs. Is there anything I shold be doing to help them get accustomed to each other? They've only been together about a week. Thanks!

    Jamie
     
  2. 5parrots&zoo

    5parrots&zoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Hopefully, in time things will work themselves out. It is really tough on the new one when only one is introduced to an established flock. Free-ranging is definitely an advantage, since there are plenty of places to escape to. Plus your new silkie has the disadvantage of being smaller than the others. I read in one of my books that silkies seem to do better if they are not mixed in with other breeds...sorry to have to pass that along...but I would bet that there are plenty of members here who have silkies and other breeds together, hope you get some feedback from some of them! Good luck, oh, and a week is still early on so hopefully all will turn out great.
     
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Give her a good safe place to hide or to get away from them and give her some time to adjust.
    sharon
     
  4. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of ours was picked on by a white wyandot and a NH red. If it happens in front of me I smack the perp. When they tried to push her around the roosts, I knocked THEM off. If they peck and bite her, wallop them off the roost. Not sure if they mess with her when I am not around, but they sure as heck don't mess with her when I am there. She is in the middle as far as pecking order now from what I can tell. Anymore they don't really get after it aggressively at all. I don't really know, but I think they learned that that kind of stuff is not allowed so they just kind of peck not bite and pull.

    I try to keep in mind that I am the head rooster (wife is the real leader) and so if something is going on I don't like, they find out pretty quick. Just remember you only have about 3 seconds to make attitude adjustments or the effort is not recognized as a behavior correction, just an act of dominance.
     
  5. flspnr

    flspnr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am still a newbie, but I was in a similar situtation not too long ago. I originally had 2 bantams, and was given a third. The third one was such a sweety. After the quarantine, I put her in the coop with the other two and they started picking on her. When she saw me coming, she'd run to the side of the coop to say hi, and Peep would start bopping her on the head. So she stuck her head in the corner and "buried" it there. So Peep pecked at her butt. At first I "tsked" Peep and it worked, but she would just continue the harassing when I went inside. I felt horrible, but I had read to leave them alone. So I did. After about a week, week and a half, all of that stopped. She now sleeps right in the middle of the other two at night, and they all stick together when free ranging in the morning. I did check her about 400 times a day to make sure she wasn't hurt, but she was fine. It just took a while because she was a sweetheart, and the other two wanted to make sure she was at the bottom of the pecking order. Every now and then, when she gets over zealous and tries to get to the cabbage before the other two, she gets a tiny peck on the head, but she's staying in her spot on the pecking order, so it's just a light tap to reminder her that the other two go first. Brats. All of 'em.

    So, give it a bit of time. It's hard, but as long as the Silkie isn't getting hurt, the pecking order will be established and she should be fine. From what I've read, it can take up to 2 weeks or so.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  6. jamie78

    jamie78 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone! I'll just keep monitoring them like I normally do and see if things settle down. With the weather getting cooler, they will be cooped up more together. I have tried giving them a firm "No!" or a light swat on their fluffy bum, but wasn't sure if that worked with chickens! lol They're my babies, and they know it!
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Bigger chickens pick on smaller chickens. Sometimes it works out sometimes it does not. Provide her with hiding places and a safe place to eat and drink. Monitor closely since this behavior can escalate and result in the death of the 'picked upon.'
     
  8. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:^This is true.

    If it seems like it is getting bad, you can try pulling the bully/bullies out of the coop and putting them in "chicken jail" for a week or two. Sometimes that will knock them down a peg or two in the pecking order.

    Good luck,
    Imp
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Older chickens pick on younger chickens... or anything new introduced to the flock..

    My silky hen, Lorraine was the ONLY one out of my 11 never picked on.. I guess I was lucky. I introduced her at 8 weeks old - my other hens were 3-6 months old.

    ETA: Give her some time.. She will get used to everyone. It took me a couple weeks for my new six to get used to the old five.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Are you saying you will lock them in their coop? Not sure this is a good idea, especially with this going on. Lots of folks never lock them in even for snow. We get some heavy rain and wind at times, particularly when there is a hurricane on the coast, and I don't even lock them in then; they go in during the worst of it then go out in the rain.
     

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