New layer being picked on: Should I relocate?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jmc, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA

    I have two small coops. One is 6X3 another 5X4. The first holds 3 pullets (1 NHR and 2 RIR), the other 4 birds (3 RIR and 1 NHR).

    The most aggressive bird of all seven is in the 6x3 coop with just two others. She just started laying last Thursday. The NHR in that pen also just started laying yesterday, Sunday.

    Problem: The dominant bird really has aggression toward this NHR. She is often driven out of the coop as soon as the NHR enters. I am amazed that the NHR could even get into the nest box this am to do her duty. She is not constantly terrorized but she is clearly intimated now in the RIRs presence.

    In winter these birds will be shut up in here most of the time--in cold MA. This coop is a bit more confined than the other, and I don't like the idea of the aggression that could go on. I am also concerned about negative impact on egg laying.

    My proposed solution: Either get some hot pick to spray on the inferior bird--but that's no solution, really

    OR, simply move the aggressive bird to the other, larger coop. And bring the other NHR from the 5x4 coop, who is compatible with the inferior NHR, into this smaller coop. Follow me???I am seriously considering doing this.

    But if I move the aggressive RIR to the other coop, will that screw up her laying? I am sure she can find the nest box just fine. If I just swap this RIR with the other NHR I think that can work.

    This is what I think will be the positive result: The inferior NHR won't be intimidated out of the coop and will therefore have easy access to the nest box. The aggressive RIR will have more room, will be with other RIRs (she seems to dislike the NHRs, actually) who will keep her more in line. She will still rule the coop for sure. But she also will be able to find the nestbox in this coop.

    I should add that this tough RIR used to live in this coop until 6 weeks ago, so it won't be totally foreign to her. Any thoughts??
  2. DTchickens

    DTchickens Crowing

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    shouldn't stop her laying. and i probably would. RIRs are known for being bullies.. and of course their beautiful red color/big eggs.

  3. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    thank you for the reply. sometimes hard to get here, as we are all clamoring for attention!!
  4. Featherland

    Featherland Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    There could be some adjustment time in any move but you do need to protect the weaker ones sometimes.
  5. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    I would say keep an eye out to see if the other hen is just asserting her place in the pecking order. However, if it appears excessive, I would relocate one of them.
  6. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    Quote:Thanks, the other hen, the NHR you refer to--is very timid already. I'd say she is def. not asserting herself re. peck order. But in the other coop, Queen (the tough RIR) has her challengers--though they would never rule over her. But I think her being with them will help to keep a better check on her. They are not so cowed--even though inferior--unlike the NHR, who is almost afraid of her mere presence now.
  7. chickenlady

    chickenlady Songster

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    If this were me, I would take the bossy rir and switch her into the other coop right away. As long as she gets along there, things should be fine. Who knows, maybe no one will want her, lol. This should not disrupt the laying cycle. Your still the same person caring for them and she isnt going far. Some birds will just never get along no matter what you do. If for some reason Miss Bossy doesnt work in the other pen, you will have to make the decision on which pen she works the 'best' in.

    When you make the switch, i would recommend putting a nice bowl of treats in there at the same time. This way, the first time they are together will be positive and they will have to share the treat which in the end, will help them get along better. This is how I put new birds together, although, I dont do it in the coop to start with, I use a fenced off area that is large enough for any bird to get away if it had to. It seems that when they are concentrating on food, they pay less attention on who is around them.
  8. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    Quote:Gee, I wish I had read this before I made the switch. But I did toss em some of our homemade bread--not much of a treat.

    So Queen, the tough little rir is now in the 5x4 coop. And Violet, the calm but athletic NHR, is now in the 6x3 with one huge RIR (Wimpie) and the real timid other NHR (whom Queen used to intimidate) who is called Beautiful.

    Queen immediately put all under her foot when she arrived in the 5x4--I knew she would. She has also spent some time in the nest box, already, to my delight.
    BUT in the 6x3 all is not well. The two original occupants are terrorizing Violet something serious. Wimpie, who is huge just walks around making this scary roaring kind of crow. I'd be terrified, really! And the formerly 'timid' NHR (Queen's old punching bag) ain't timid no more. She too is willing to pound on Violet. And to think when all were together, Violet was inferior to Queen only!!! I didn't anticipate Violet's being attacked so. I wonder if she'll fare well in the coop with the other two. She'll have to.

    I realize this is a new pecking order that is coming about and it will take a bit of time. But I just don't want Violet now to be in the same place that her fellow NHR was in until the switch was made--that is, terrorized and forced to hide in the nest box. Yes that's where the other NHR would hide from Queen.

    Babbling as usual
  9. chickenlady

    chickenlady Songster

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    I'm glad one coop worked out so far. If the violence does not stop towards violet, maybe you can put her in a wire cage, inside the coop so she is safe, yet still able to see the others and be seen by them. In a couple days, you should be able to remove the cage altogether.

    During the day, are they still in this coop or do you have an area for them to run/freerange in? I ask only because if you have a run/freerange area for the day, let her run free. Only keep her in her 'safe cage' during times locked in the coop.

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