New hen getting picked on, newby myself

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by camelidae, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. camelidae

    camelidae Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2011
    Hello,
    Im new to keeping chickens. I was given 2 silkie hens and a rooster last year and they all got a long great. I had no problems. My rooster died recently and I decided to get another hen for my ladies. I got the hen from the same friend I got the others from and she is about the same age. All aged 2-5 years. I put her in the coop with my ladies Fri night and they slept and snuggled great. The next day the ladies began picking on her and it hasnt stopped yet. They have been pecking her in the back of neck and try to get her face. They got along much better when out in the yard but as soon as I put them up one hen in particular gets ugly. She is not wounded, no blood. A few friends have said this is normal and to just let them work it out. Is this reasonable. I have separated them for several hours every day so far so the new hen can rest and eat. Not sure what to do with them while at work 8-12 hours starting back tomorrow. Keep them separated or leave them to pick her? Will they work it out? How long could this take? Is it possible they will never accept her? My chicken set up is currently coop= a 4 foot by 8 foot cage off the ground about 4-5 feet. Their yard is a portable pen about 4 foot by 6 foot that I move around depending on where the sun and good grasses are. It has no roof. I keep them in portable pen because I have dogs and a hawk that completely ignore them when in this. However they are watched and wouldnt last long outside of it currently. I have tried to keep them busy together with treats and fun dirt to play in but it only temporary peace. Any suggestions apprecited [​IMG]
     
  2. dweder

    dweder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2010
    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    Quite a difficult question to reply with the perfect answer.

    In most cases, it is best that they are introduced through a fence for about a month before integrating. Especially when the established flock are no longer pullets. If you have the ability to keep them seperated for some time, this may help them get used to her before putting them together.

    If not, all you can do is hope they work it out. As long as shes eating, not wounded and laying eggs it is going to be ok. Just remember, there always has to be a hen at the bottom of the pecking order. Its not easy to watch but there will always be the top hen and the bottom hen.

    I recently had to take an established hen out of my flock because she was injured. Only gone for a week and when I returned her to the flock, they brutalized her. It was terrible to watch so I would also give her a break for awhile during the day and put her back in at night. After about 2 weeks, they are all back to normal again.

    Best of luck!!
     
  3. camelidae

    camelidae Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2011
    Thank you for the advice! I think I may rotate them in the yard during the day and put them together at night for now. I will fix a roof for their yard pen as it is supposed to rain for a few days. Oddly enough my new hen really wants to be with my mean ladies! Shes been watching and pacing and trying to figure out how to get to them all day [​IMG] At what point do I decide to give her back to her old flock? Weeks? Months? Will she then have a problem going back to her old flock?
     

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