New chicken being bullied by one hen in particular

suecharp

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2019
10
28
41
I have a mixed breed flock of about 10. I recently added a bantam Cochin, but my black Sumatra (who is also fairly new to the flock) picks on her mercilessly to the point that the Cochin won't leave the coop. I know some of this is normal, I'm just wondering how long I let it keep up before I isolate the offender. I'm not sure if it's relevant, but I have no roosters in that coop.

When we brought the Cochin home, I put her in with my ducks so she was separated from the chickens by a chain link fence. They could see but not touch. After a week I put her in the chicken coop for a day by herself (closed everyone else out) but when I opened the door later in the afternoon and she went outside, everyone starting picking on her. I let it go for awhile but when she wasn't getting any relief (and was literally trying to climb my leg to get away from the others), I put her back in with the ducks.

I left her with the ducks for another week then tried another strategy to integrate her. I put her in the chicken coop at night after everyone else was roosting. She settled in fine, and when I let everyone out in the morning she stayed behind and it seemed that all was well. Once she ventured outside they started going after her again but it didn't seem quite as violent so I let it go so they could establish their pecking order. That was about a week ago. Now, when she tries to go ouside my black Sumatra is on her, which gets the others going. She ends up going back inside and just hanging out in the coop and goes into a corner or the nesting box if anyone else goes inside. She seems to be eating and drinking and I know I need to let them work through it, but how long do I let this go on before I put the Sumatra in time-out for a few days or put Cochin back in with the ducks where she appears to be happy (although she did chase them from time to time - I have call ducks so they are just about the same size). TIA!
 

suecharp

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2019
10
28
41
Lone chickens added to an existing flock almost always suffer bullying.
The best corrective measure is to remove the bully or bullies until the new chicken makes friends with the remain birds and then return the bullies one at a time.

It doesn't sound like you quarantine when you bring in new birds.
My ducks are pretty accepting of everyone so typically I put new chickens in with them. It has worked fine in the past. I haven't had to quarantine because usually I am integrating young ones that I have raised myself from chicks so I know they are healthy. This is the first time I integrate one that is grown that I haven't raised, and I didn't need to quarantine her as she had to be health certified to be at the show where she was purchased from. It seems to be only one chicken that is causing her angst, so I'm thinking I need to put that one in time out but I'm not sure if i'm giving it enough time since it has been just barely a week.
 
Last edited:

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
7,315
7,070
536
western South Dakota
Try this, add the victim and another bird to the ducks. Let them duke it out, but it will be one on one (I think, not sure how the ducks act?). Let them become a pair, might take a couple of days. Now add another pair to this group. Hope it is not too crowded? After the foursome settle down for a couple of days, pull the single bullying bird, and add the foursome back to the remainder in the main coop.

There will probably be a dust up, but it will be over several birds, and probably both ways... which tends to settle much faster than when just one strange bird is added.
Then add back in the bully bird.

If is does not work then, you need to cull something.

Mrs K
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
Nov 23, 2010
29,037
18,331
867
St. Louis, MO
The concept of removing the bully from a flock - out of sight, out of mind, is to do so for long enough that when they are returned, they are then the new bird. Truly changes flock dynamics, at least for a while.
They may end up working their way back up to the top of the totem pole but by then the current new bird should be an accepted member of the flock.
 
Last edited:

suecharp

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2019
10
28
41
Try this, add the victim and another bird to the ducks. Let them duke it out, but it will be one on one (I think, not sure how the ducks act?). Let them become a pair, might take a couple of days. Now add another pair to this group. Hope it is not too crowded? After the foursome settle down for a couple of days, pull the single bullying bird, and add the foursome back to the remainder in the main coop.

There will probably be a dust up, but it will be over several birds, and probably both ways... which tends to settle much faster than when just one strange bird is added.
Then add back in the bully bird.

If is does not work then, you need to cull something.

Mrs K
Interesting approach! I was going to isolate the obvious bully, but your approach never occurred to me and makes sense! Lilly (the Cochin) is absolutely petrified of the bigger chickens, even if they mean no harm and just want to check her out. I put her back with the ducks last night, so maybe I will put one of the younger laid-back girls in the duck pen with her. The ducks are very laid back and will accept anyone.

I will say, this is the last time I will try to integrate just one bird. Usually I have 2 or 3 new ones that I'm putting in with the rest and while there is some squabbling for a short time, it always resolves itself. I have read that you should integrate in at least pairs - now I know why.
 

chickens really

Crazy Call Duck Momma
Premium member
Sep 8, 2015
59,397
102,241
1,617
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
Hello...Separate the victim and a lower bird into a look no touch pen in the Coop for about 4 days. Do that and remove the bully into that look no touch pen for about 4 days once the new ones are released back.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
Nov 27, 2012
71,149
72,166
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Top Bottom