1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

New to the flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AllyJane, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. AllyJane

    AllyJane Chillin' With My Peeps

    134
    2
    91
    Mar 19, 2012
    Good afternoon, today i went and bought three pullets from the produce store.
    Two blacks
    One white (All sussex or something)
    I also have a rooster and two other casual red chickens for about two weeks now...
    And this afternoon i put our new chickens with the other three, half and hour of being in the white female got attacked.. alot
    so we took her out and now she is in our bathroom as we can't get another coop. Any ideas into why the red female is only attacking the white one?

    (If you live around the gold coast area (Australia) and wish to donate coop or run supplies feel free ^^"


    Regards, Ally
     
  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    28,606
    5,174
    576
    May 11, 2010
    [​IMG] I love the term 'casual chickens'. Sound rather relaxing. I've heard of flocks of similar colored birds attacking the odd colored bird. Might be best to find the 'odd' bird a new home.
     
  3. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The other option is to give it time. They may well just be establishing a pecking order and this can take up to a month. By removing the hen being pecked, you're simply moving her to the bottom of the pecking order when you put her back.

    Is there some way you could put up a little dividing fence so that they can see each other, but not get at each other? Then in a week or two, remove the fence. But my guess is you will still have the problem of the pecking order being established. It's not nice to watch, but it happens in every flock.

    Just watch out for damage to the white hen. If blood is drawn, put an antiseptic cream on, or some petroleum jelly. When chickens get a taste for blood they will do considerable damage and you don't want that.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,934
    3,090
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There could be a few different things going on. Do you know the ages of the chickens? Is perhaps the white one a little young? Mature chickens will sometimes pick on immature chickens a lot. Dominance in chickens is determined more by the spirit and personality of the chicken than by size, but immature chickens don’t have the maturity to hold their own dominance wise in the flock. I’ve had chickens as young as 15 weeks be mature enough to stand up for themselves, but that is really rare. I’ve had some almost twice that old before they matured enough to stop the bullying and find their place in the pecking order. It just depends on the individual chickens involved.

    Another possibility is that chickens can be territorial. They learn who is a member of the flock and might defend their territory from them. You’d think the established red chickens would defend their territory from all the new black and white new chickens, but I don’t know what is going in in there birdbrains. It might be color, but I suspect personality or maturity. This is where housing them within sight of each other for a few days can help. A lot of times this does not happen, but it can.

    Sometimes the flock will attack a weak chicken. They can be real bad bullies. This weakness could be an illness or injury, it could be a young chicken without the will to defend itself sort of like I talked about above, or it could just be a mild-mannered chicken. A lot of times, there is one specific hen that leads the attack. Once she starts, the others join in.

    Possible remedies, depending on what is actually going on:

    Understand that a pecking order has to be established so they know their place in the social structure. If no blood is drawn, they can probably work it out. But if blood is drawn, you need to intervene.

    If you can house then side by side for a few days, where they can see each other but can’t get to each other.

    Give them as much space as you can. Thee way the pecking order usually works, if a chicken invades the personal space of a more dominant bird, the dominant one has the right to peck the inferior to put it in its place. The inferior runs off and the proper order has been restored. If the inferior does not have enough space to run away, that is considered a challenge to the dominant one and a serious fight can happen. Also, if space is tight, they will invade that personal space more often. This is why you often see separate flocks when you try to integrate new chickens. They are trying to stay out of each other’s way.

    Give them extra places to eat and drink. This cuts down on conflict points.

    If you can identify a ringleader in these attacks, isolate that ringleader for several days. This can knock her down in the pecking order so when she comes back she has to regain her status in the pecking order. This way, she does not pick on one specific chicken but has to look out for the rest of the flock. Some people on this forum say that their dominant hen is the one doing this, but when I’ve observed this behavior, it’s been the hen lowest in the established pecking order. I’ve never had this type of problem with a mature rooster. It has always been a hen or immature cockerel.

    Another possible remedy, if you can manage the space, is to only add one or two of the more docile hens to the newcomers at a time. Let them work it out before you add more aggressive chickens. This way the ones being added face a more united flock. And if possible, add them on the new chicken’s home turf so the others don’t feel like defending their turf.

    I don’t know if any of these will help. Each chicken has its own personality and we all have different set-ups. I do think space is real important. If they don’t have room to get away or avoid each other to start with, integration is a lot harder. You can maybe create some space by giving them places to hide behind or under. Often, I’ll see the immature ones staying on the roost in the coop while the mature ones are on the ground. They are just trying to stay out of the older one’s way.

    I wish you luck. Sometimes integration goes so smoothly you wonder what all the worry was about, and sometimes it gets really bad.
     
  5. AllyJane

    AllyJane Chillin' With My Peeps

    134
    2
    91
    Mar 19, 2012
    Whoa! Thanks for all the advice guys! We left her in the bathroom and during the day we shall let them play ect and again away at night, we don't have any chicken mesh so it's hard to make extra space.

    This white beauty is a sensitive one, she's older then them (20 weeks) when she gets attacked she freezes and puts her head down and just submits... I've had her a few hours and she loves oats and cuddles! I've spotted the ringleader and I've seen the other red one jumping in if she attacks right next to her.


    Also while I was out before I noticed the fighting I came back and saw the 'alpha' female had blood down her wattle... So I don't know who did it, but she's still boss. Does it make anythings different when the rooster has all its attention on the white one, as soon as she got in he tried mounting her...lol this didn't happen with my red hens...
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,934
    3,090
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The rooster mounting her is just his way of welcoming her to the flock. It's a dominance thing, not really as sexual as a lot of people believe. I've seen hens mounting hens to show dominance when there was no mature rooster in the flock. Occasionally a rooster will mount another rooster to show dominance.

    The black ones may be too young for his attention since they are younger. Maybe the other hens see the white one as a potential rival since she might be pretty close to laying. I really don't know.
     
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    192
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    the separation doesn't have to be wire or even in the run. It can be wood planking or pallets blocking a corner of the run. It could be a wire dog crate or a rabbit cage setting in or next to the run. The only requirement is that they see each other without being able to physically mingle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  8. AllyJane

    AllyJane Chillin' With My Peeps

    134
    2
    91
    Mar 19, 2012
    Thanks den!
    The black ones are the biggest o_O 20 weeks while the reds are at about 17-18 but yes the red one mounts the poor thing too :eek:.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by