New Chick Being Bullied

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheHenHen, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. TheHenHen

    TheHenHen Chirping

    Aug 4, 2012
    Canada Amaranth
    We were gifted a chicken from a friend because her flock did not accept her and she was always being picked on. She is smaller than the flock we put her with (ours are almost 13 wks) and they are really ganging up on her and letting her know her place. I'm not sure how old she is, but she is fully-feathered, and maybe a month behind ours.

    How long does this behaviour usually last? We are checking on her every hour or so to make sure she is okay. I have noticed a little blood on her comb, face and foot, and there are some feathers in the coop. The coop is small, though, and she has managed to find a hiding spot, but if they look for her, she's basically stuck and easy to peck.

    My heart says to bring her into the house to escape this, but then would she ever be accepted by flock? Do some chickens end up always being picked on? I understand there's a pecking order, but will she always be bullied?

    Thank you.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It will happen any time a single bird, especially one smaller is brought into an established flock. To them, she's a threat.

    The only thing you can do is to pull out all the bullies and let her bond with 1 to 3 others. Then every couple days return another bully. Some combination of the above will work eventually. You'll just have to toy with numbers and times.
  3. First chickens don't bully other chickens. The pecking order is designed to maintain order in the flock.

    In every flock there is theoretically one hen who by virtue of her strength can peck every other chicken in that flock

    This means that theoretically in every flock there is one hen who by virtue of her weakness is bossed around by every other hen in that flock. It sounds like your new chicken has found her niche in life, at the bottom of the pecking order..

    The good news is that this place in life may not be permanent. The bad news is that it may be permanent.

    As long as chickens had large runs or walks to live on it isn't usually a problem. The problem is when hen are confined in coops, runs, and pens. This is the reason that commercial laying hens have their beaks trimmed.

    In fact I believe that in a true wild natural state the pecking order is useful for dispersing chickens into different living areas or environments thus reducing pressure applied to any one part of the population by diseases or predators.

    At least that is my beliefs and I'm sticking to my guns on this one.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Single bird integration is the toughest for sure.
    Any chance you can partition your coop into 2 halves separated by wire?

    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:

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