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Older Hens picking on Newbies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JessRyan, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. JessRyan

    JessRyan New Egg

    Mar 13, 2013
    I have two 2.5 month old hens that were raised together and are bonded. I have 3 one month old hens that I am trying to introduce. The older birds are significantly bigger and stronger. I let them all roam around the backyard together and one of the older hens is pretty ruthless with the young ones. I haven't allowed it to get to the point of drawing blood...but the babies are afraid of her and avoid her. The other hen leaves the babies alone for the most part, but she sometimes joins in pecking them as well. The older ones are outdoors and the little ones are indoors at night still.

    Does separating them at night cause them to fight?

    I thought introducing them when they were younger would be better. Should I wait until the babies get older and better at defending themselves??

    Am I dooming them to never get along???

    Please help!
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    [​IMG] You might have success by putting the young ones in a kennel cage in the coop at night if, you have room? I have done this and after a week they got along fine. Also sometimes taking out the bully for a week can help the others except the little ones. Hope it works for you.
  3. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    I would not introduce chicks to older birds until they are 6 or 7 weeks old. Ours are in the garage brooder for 6 weeks and then they get moved outside to the coop. They are isolated in the coop another 2 weeks with a brooder lamp and they have the ability to see the BIG birds and get acquanited with the flock. At 8 weeks, they are fully feathered and they can join the flock. There may be a small squabble here and there as they sort out the pecking order. A large coop and run space is ideal for the peace. Mine also free range.

    Chicks in a 3' x 4' brooder space

    Same chicks at 6 weeks of age. A few weeks isolated from the flock. If you don't have the space to isolate your birds then introduce them to the flock while you feed breed or treats.

    Hope this helps! [​IMG]
  4. JessRyan

    JessRyan New Egg

    Mar 13, 2013
    Thanks for the tips! I'm happy to report that all my hens have flocked up and are all thriving! There are still a few random squabbles here and there but never anything alarming. There was only one more serious injury...one of my hens ended up with a "snipped" comb...the back end of her comb was clipped off by another hen. While it was bloody and I was worried, she turned out just fine after using some antiseptic for a week.

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