New chickens beating up old ones

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Katastrofy1967, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Katastrofy1967

    Katastrofy1967 New Egg

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    Oct 12, 2012
    Danville Kentucky
    I combined my pullets with my year-old hens and rooster. The rooster has taken to the new hens and the pecking order has changed to where the new girls have killed one if the original girls , the rooster won't let the original top hen even eat and has nearly pecked her to death. I have had separated all but two of the original hens. Why would this happen, I let everyone get to know each other by free ranging together before combining the coops, I did wait till they were 4 months old before combining the flock together completely at night but they were together all day without any problems. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. The new birds are RIR a red comet, a salmon faverole, and a black Astrlalope the Roo is also a black astralorpe. The older girls are RIR, barred rocks and , black astralorpe. Theykilled one of the barred rocks already. They are in separate coops now.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us, just wish it were under better circumstances. :frow

    I can’t explain what is going on. It just does not sound right. Usually the more mature hens will dominate the younger so it is the younger in more danger. And that rooster’s behavior sounds really strange. You are looking at them and I’m not but are you sure that is what is happening?

    Chickens have developed ways to handle these types of social flock problems. These usually involve the weaker running away or avoiding the stronger to start with. I don’t know what your conditions are like so I’ll make some guesses. Is your coop pretty small? Do they have room to avoid each other or to get away from each other if they have a disagreement, especially on the roosts?

    I integrate 8-week-old brooder raised chicks all the time. I let then sleep in a grow-out coop until they are about 12 weeks old, then I usually move them in the main coop. I’ve had a broody wean her chicks as early as three weeks and they live with the flock in the main coop. During the day these chicks form a separate flock keeping their distance from the older chickens. I have extra room in the coop and I put up a separate roost lower down and away from the main roosts so the younger ones can avoid the older at night if they want to. They usually want to. The time mine are most brutal is when they are settling in for the night on the roosts.

    A good rooster will protect all his flock, not attack them. Not all roosters are good however. I really can’t explain his behavior.

    What I suggest is that you give then as much room as you can, even letting them sleep in separate locations for a while longer. Set up more than one eating and watering station so one chicken can’t keep the others from eating. And wait even longer to try to merge them at night.

    It’s possible you just have a brute in your flock, but my guess is that your coop is too small. Lack of space brings out the brutality in chickens.

    Are you sure the chickens killed that older hen? That really sounds more like a predator may have gotten her than the other chickens. If one is killed and raw meat exposed, the others will probably eat her.
     
  3. Katastrofy1967

    Katastrofy1967 New Egg

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    Oct 12, 2012
    Danville Kentucky
    Well being too small is not the problem, they have too coops with two large runs with a community run in the middle connecting the two together, they have two separate feeding stations. I have the older hens in the one coop now separated from the rooster and the rest of the flock. The rooster earlier in the year got super aggressive with one of the other autralopes and almost killed her so rehired her, but now he is doing it again. I am wondering if I should rehome the rooster. He is great when he is behaving withis favorites but when he decides he dislikes one, for whatever reason, he just becomes mean. He isn't aggressive towards me. Towards me he is super sweet, but he hates my hubby. :-/ as for the younger birds I think once the Roo was out of the picture and everybody was allowed to intermingle again maybe they could work out the pecking order. But they literally have about pecked this poor astralorpe to death. She is hiding all the time and is skinny and scared. She used to be one of my most aggressive beautiful birds. One of best layers. I just hate seeing her like this. Poor thing just hides all the time. She hides with one of the RIR and will only come out when she sees me coming and knows she is safe. Even now after I separated them. In the new coop they can still be a part of the flock and not be totally cut off. I know they are social animals and don't want them to be lonely, just safe. I hatr to see my beautiful Roo go, I know he keep everyone calm and serves a purpose but right now he isn't doing that. It seems since his spurs grew in (early fall late summer) he has gotten more aggressive with my older girls. He came with them so I don't know what is going on. Thanks for all your help.

    Cat.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you are probably right. Time to get rid of the rooster. Though I'd probably put him in isolation and see what happens when you combine the others. Make sure they are all healed first.

    Chickens are living animals with their own personalities. Most of the time they can work things out but occasionally you just get a bad one.
     
  5. Katastrofy1967

    Katastrofy1967 New Egg

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    Oct 12, 2012
    Danville Kentucky
    I hate to get rid of him. He does serve a purpose but if he is going to continue to hurt his girls then he leaves me no choice. He does seem to go after the astralorpes first. Which is weird because that is what he is. He just about killed the one I gave away first. I just don't understand his behavior. It seems he likes all hens but his kind. Today all the hens were up against the side of the coop together side by side so they could all be together threw the fencing separating them. But the roo was standing off to himself to the side. I found this odd too. I think because of this behavior that the girls will be able to make a go of it without him. He is beautiful, but beautiful is not a good enough reason to keep him around. He loves me and sits on my lap but since the spurs have been growing in he hasn't done it as much. Maybe he is just getting mature and needs to be taken down a notch or two and my hens aren't aggressive enough for him. :(

    Confused in KY
     

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