New Flock - Aggressive Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CluckerTim, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. CluckerTim

    CluckerTim New Egg

    Oct 1, 2012
    Hi all -

    Though I grew up with chickens it has been 20 years since the farm and several hundred free rangers. Now I live in a very small town in Colorado and just built a coop out of a playhouse. It's a nice size coop. 18 sq ft inside, 4' ceiling, 3 nesting boxes. and a 65 sq. ft run outside with a 6' ceiling.

    We just got four 18 month old hens from a gal down the way who is trying to thin her 250 chicken flock. We have 2 golden buffs, 1 leghorn, and 1 ancona.I should clarify - - I *think* we have 2 golden buffs - -one definitely is and the other is extremely similar to the first but has a black cowl or neck.

    Anyway - - we've had them for 3 days - and we got them when they were molting. We had 4 eggs on day 2 and thought all is well. But then the leghorn starting pecking the 2nd GB (Rainy) - and really aggressively at that. To the point where Rainy hides in one of the nesting boxes and won't come out even to eat or drink. Then the leghorn starting pecking the other 2 birds as well if Rainy was anywhere in the vicinity. If Rainy doesn't come out of the coop, the leghorn pretty much leaves the other 2 hens alone. So right now I have Rainy *free-ranging* outside of the run and the leghorn is for the most part leaving the other 2 hens alone.If I put Rainy back in the coop - all of the other 3 attack her - - constantly.

    I just got some meat based feed this morning and all 4 have had their fill but I still can't put all 4 birds together. I understand the pecking order thing but this seems much more aggressive than that and is non-stop - -

    BTW - -like I said before - -these chickens come from a free-range situation.

    I have lots of thoughts on what to do (e.g., currently building a tractor but not sure which bird to put in it, slaughtering the leghorn, slaughtering the GB). I don't know. I do know that the ancona and the 1st GB both have been wanting to lay but seem stressed out. I also know that whenever one of them goes to lay there is a 50/50 probability that the leghorn will follow them up to the coop and hover around them. I should also say that although we had 4 eggs in one day - -one of them had been pecked and I am 99% certain it was the leghorn that did the pecking.

    I also have only 1 roost in the coop - which only the arcuna sleeps on even though it is 4 feet long and 18" off te floor of the coop. Should I put another roost in higher up?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  2. CluckerTim

    CluckerTim New Egg

    Oct 1, 2012
    I should also add - that I just discovered a bit more about the leghorn. I said before that the leghorn hovers around anybody trying to lay and that I found one of our 4 eggs pecked. The acuna has been trying to lay all morning and every time she goes to a nest to lay the leghorn follows her and runs her of her nesting box. I finally shooshed the leghorn back into the run and closed the coop door and guess what - the acuna laid her egg. It took her about half an hour and the entire time the leghorn was at the top of the ramp, at the door, clucking to get in the coop. Can the leghorn have a predisposition for eating/pecking eggs? Should I just *do something* with the leghorn? Will isolating her help? If it weren't that one of my kids had named that particular bird - -we would already have soup stock going.


  3. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Tim,

    I'm not sure I can help you, I don't have the 'same' situation. But, I am currently trying to deal with a bully GLW. Right now I am trying by isolating her from the rest of the flock. The idea seems to be that the flock will adjust the pecking order while she is gone and when I reintroduce her, she will have to fit herself back in and MAY not go back to bullying as she lost her original flock position. I don't know if it will work or not. Also, your coop is much smaller than mine and would be difficulte to segregate her in, but you might try thinking of ways for some kind of isolation.

    If it comes down to making that kind of a choice, I would definitely get rid of the bully bird. Sounds like she will be bullying all of your birds sooner or later.

    You're invited over to the Colorado thread.

    ETA: AND, as you can see by my start date, I don't have a lot of experience, either. I'm winging it a lot.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    I agree. I've dealt with bullies and just getting rid of them is the best, least troublesome way. But complete separation from the flock for a week or so can work, too.
  5. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

  6. smedly9921

    smedly9921 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2012
    North East Ohio
    I agree with the above posts, My leg horns are very aggresive twords my other chickens. I have seperated them in another coup because they were always so mean. They lay allot of eggs but they are super flighty and mean. Seperate the leghorn and let your chickens start a new pecking order. With so few chickens it might not be long before your leg horn makes it back to the top. Also your meat based feed will make your chickens more aggresive. Try a different layer feed. Best of luck.

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