Newbie in NH

Ratherbwarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
35
1
36
Strafford, NH
Hi All, just bought a new home and along with it came 5 hens. They have been used and abused by the previous owner who was a breeder (more of a puppy mill for chickens), but are coming around and getting used to me after 4 weeks of showing them I'm not here to hurt them. It's taken lots of treats and cleaning 12 or so inches of cement like poop, but they are less timid each day. I am having an issue with bullying or I should say mauling. I've had to quarantine 2 of the 5, since they have been mauled almost to death. I'm thinking of free ranging them to give then more space. I'm a new chicken Mom, so not sure what else I can do. :/
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Congratulations on your new home! Glad you were able to take the birds and give them some decent care. Are some of the birds picking on other ones? Lack of space is a big reason for aggressive behavior so if you can give them more room and things to do for entertainment that should help, if they are in poor shape a higher than normal protein food (20%) or more like a chick starter or flock raiser might be a good idea (have oyster shell on the side if they are laying), feather picking is sometimes because of that. If you know which hens are the trouble makers, Pinless Peepers often help stop the behavior pretty quick two nice articles from the Learning Center on pecking order and bullys that have a lot of suggestions of things you can do to help. www.backyardchickens.com/a/bullying-behavior-in-chickens and https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/a-guide-to-understanding-the-chicken-pecking-order
You might also want to consider worming the girls since they have been neglected and who knows what they have, also check them over really closely for lice/mites.
You might also like to check out the BYC Learning Center, lots of good articles on all aspects of chicken keeping. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,952
61,824
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

So sorry your birds had to suffer so much before you got them. But at least you are giving them a good life now. As for the bullying, they have probably developed attitudes for survival. So you many never get this out of this particular bird or birds.

Make sure they have plenty of space, things to do and a good diet. If you have one that just will not tone herself down, you might do the pinless peeper route. I have a hen that when she was young, she was a tyrant. Just rough with the other hens, ripping the comb and biting faces. I used pinless peepers on her for a few years on and off....



I was finding blood all over the coop walls and everywhere. Eventually as she aged, she is much better and has not needed to wear these peepers. The bird can see up, down, and to the sides. But not directly in front of them to aim and fire off the beak. They will need to wear these for about one month at a time, and any time the aggression gets too bad.

Good luck and if you have any more issues, that is what we are here for. Welcome to our flock!
 
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Ratherbwarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
35
1
36
Strafford, NH
Thanks All! They have plenty of room...a 12x16 coop, split into two areas as well as a 16x20 outside run. There are 2 that I can see what seem to rule to roost and they are now preventing 1 from even going outside. I did open the doors this morning to let them free range. I am hoping that this will help with the aggression and I am sure that it is from survival considering the conditions they were in with the previous owners. It certainly isn't going to be the soft cuddly chicken love that I was expecting from them! lol They are petrified of me and I have to be truthful in saying I am a bit intimidated by them as well. We will see how free range does, hopefully they will be better.
 

Ratherbwarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
35
1
36
Strafford, NH
Thanks for the tip! If they don't get any better with Free Range I will absolutely try these. I assume they can still eat and drink properly with this attached correct?
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,952
61,824
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for the tip! If they don't get any better with Free Range I will absolutely try these. I assume they can still eat and drink properly with this attached correct?
Oh yes. It takes them a day to figure out how to really work their daily routines, but after a day or two, they forget they are even wearing them. Make sure they are centered in the nostrils, not up high or down low. They sell pliers to get these things on, but you can have someone help you get them on if you have to. I just towel up the bird. I soak the peepers in very hot water to get them pliable. I shake off the water and of course they are cool when you put them on. But with a bit of learning, you can get these on quick yourself. They will try to scratch them off for a few minutes and of course give you the sad eyes. But don't fall for the eyes!! LOL Remember, there is a cranky bird under these peepers! LOL The birds will adapt and this will help to keep peace in the flock. Leave these on for at least one month. This will help to tone the bird down and allow the flock to reorganize. Good luck!
 

Ratherbwarm

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
35
1
36
Strafford, NH
PERFECT! That's it...THE EYES get me every time!
Even though I know there is a little feathered demon under there that is cannibalizing the others.
LOL
 

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