"Old" hens don't like new hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KCNC06, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Central NC
    We bought four new hens that have finished their quarantine period and ready to introduce into our little flock. Two of our original three hens seem to really dislike two of the new hens. Or original flock is 1 Barred Rock, 1 "Easter Egger" (not sure if she's Americana or not quite), and one Leghorn. The new hens are 2 Partridge Rocks and 2 Golden Spangled Hamburgs.

    The BR and EE have apparently decided they don't like 1 of each breed of the new hens. The one little Hamburg girl will fight back...neck feathers puffed up, feet kicked out and everything. Once they all got in the house together (minus the Leghorn who decided she'd rather roost alone in the now empty quarantine house rather than deal with the drama in the main coop) the EE was okay with everyone else, but BR started pecking at the poor Partridge Rock that she dislikes. I put my hand out to stop her from pecking at the poor new girl and she (the BR) bit me! She's normally a sweetheart and will climb into my lap to eat when I hand feed them.

    Is this normal behavior when you introduce new birds to an already established flock? Will they get over it?! I feel SO bad for these new girls. Last night the new girls all got into the "loft" nest box area to sleep. BR seemed fine once the new girls were off her preferred roost.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Sorry, but this is normal chicken behavior. Your existing flock has an established and complex pecking order, and adding the new hens into the mix will cause much drama until they work it out among themselves. If it seems that one of your "old" hens is causing most of the trouble, you might try sequestering her from the entire flock for a few days. Good luck!!
     
  3. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Central NC
    I figured I had witnessed first hand where the saying "establishing the pecking order" came from. Sad that my favorite hen turns out to be a jerk. [​IMG] I guess it shouldn't surprise me, a chicken that's bold enough to jump into your lap to steal crickets must think she's pretty hot stuff. [​IMG]

    The second meanie (EE) seems to just go along with what meanie number one does. In everything. She's a total follower. Hopefully head hen here will get over her meanie-ness quickly.

    Thanks!
     
  4. juliecox

    juliecox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 27, 2009
    Arlington, TX
    Oh yeah, sometimes the hens who are the sweetest and most affectionate to us humans are the real meanies to their flockmates! I imagine it has something to do with their confidence. My Australorp will walk right into the house with me if I let her. And boy does she boss the other hens around!
     

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