New hen being picked on

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by autumn123, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. autumn123

    autumn123 Out Of The Brooder

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    So I was able to trade in the unwanted rooster for a little RIR hen (about 12 wks old). The two hens I still have (14-16 wks old) are picking on her viciously! I have them separated but this means either she or the other two have very limited space. When I tried to put even just one of the hens (I've had for 3 months) she attacked the new one and it got loose on the thorny brush! It took me, my husband, and my neighbor 30 minutes to get her back into the yard. Big problem - I do not have separate secure sleeping areas I can put them in. She is so much smaller than the other two I am afraid they might actually kill her. HELP!!!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If you don't have a place in the coop for the little one, just keep her overnight in a dog crate or box something for now. Let them get used too each other while on separate sides of the fence, it looks like your coop had a small run that was part of it and another part that was inside the dog kennel? Just let them take turns being inside/outside. That way they can see each other and get to know one another. The picking on is not unusual until they get used to each other and get a pecking order established, the older ones will win for now but the RIR may eventually take over.
     
  3. autumn123

    autumn123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you Kelsie! That's what we decided to do for now so I hope it works. The two bigger ones are sleeping in the closed part of the coop and the new one is in the bottom part. She was very upset about this at first as we hadn't fixed a roosting post for her yet, so we put a brick under the end of the ramp to make it more level and she is roosting there. Poor little thing has had a lot of stress today being transported in a dog cage to the new place, not being liked by the others, then getting loose in the brush. My hubby and I are covered in scratches from the brush it took 30 minutes to chase her back into the enclosure. I put the big ones in the small coop run and let her have the entire rest of the kennel until bedtime
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Poor little girl has had her whole world upset, fortunately chickens are forgiving creatures and she should get over the trauma pretty fast. Now getting the old girls to accept her, hopefully it will go pretty fast even if she is quite a bit younger since she is a fairly bossy breed. Keeping them separated like that with the two pen set up you have for awhile should work fine. I would keep that up for a few days at least (you want the new girl to feel more settled anyhow) and see how they behave with each other across the fence before putting them together again. Do you have any different place you can let them out together where they can't get away? When you do put them together, for the least drama, it is usually best to either have them on neutral territory (where neither old nor new chicken is at home) or put them where the new one is, so the old ones are not at home. When you do put them together overnight, be careful to open the coop up really early in the morning, you don't want them locked up in a small area if they get into a fight.
    If it is easier, you can keep the little one in the dog crate or a box overnight, just put some shavings on the bottom and cover the crate. Chickens are so easy because they do that zombie thing when it gets dark, you can keep them about anywhere.
    Sounds like you guys had quite an adventure chasing a new chicken around, you're not a true chicken owner until you've spent half an hour chasing a chicken through the underbrush.
     
  5. MalMom

    MalMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been trying to get my two hens to accept my new one for a week now. Tonight is the first night they are spending the night together, but I know she is still getting picked on. I'm hoping by morning they will forget they didn't like her. I've had her in a wire dog crate next to the chicken run. After a few days of that I took out the hen that picks on her the most and put her in the chicken run and the hen in the dog crate. They are allowed to free range together and she is mostly left alone but does still get chased from time to time. I think it will just take lots of time for them to get use to each other. Make sure they can see each other so they learn to like each other.
     
  6. autumn123

    autumn123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Kelsie and MalMom. I am still keeping them separate, but they can see each other and get very close together with just the hardware cloth of the interior run below the coop between them. I have been switching out who gets to come out and who stays in. I see some progress today as they were very near each other. The big ones are not making the scary angry noises they were yesterday (they really sounded indignant!) and the new one (Little Red) was less timid and not making frightened squeeks. I let one in her area for a few moments and there was no conflict, but when I allowed the second one in, she immediately attacked Little Red. The first one actually got between them! So, I think in a few days things will settle down.
     
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Sounds like things are going pretty good. I would just keep doing what you have been, and hopefully they will all get along in a week or two. Your girls are also probably upset because their brother left and that upset their pecking order, and as a rooster he was probably helping a little to keep peace between the girls.
     
  8. autumn123

    autumn123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: There has been some progress with the hens. They all go into the nesting and roosting box and don't fight in there. I have to get right out there in the morning though. But still keeping them separate during the day.
     
  9. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Glad to hear things are progressing in the right direction, sounds like in another week or two they will have everything sorted out among themselves.
     

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