Please Advise: Fighting Hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dustbath, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen I've been trying to reintegrate with my very small flock (3 hens, one rooster total). She was in a brooder coop until a week ago, when I moved her into her own area of the coop, separated from the others by chicken wire.

    I now want to move her back with the other birds. I put her back last night, well after dark. After the sun rose this morning, she and one of the others started fighting and kept it up until I separated them and moved her back into her own section again. They were'nt drawing blood (yet). They were grabbing each other's beaks and holding them and pecking each other.

    Do I need to ignore this, as long as no one is bleeding? Is it hopeless? Any suggestions (I don't have much experience)?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:Hopeless? No. Ignore it? Yes, but remain watchful.

    You can try separating them with a fence and let them look at each other for a while. Then bring them together. This should reduce their earnestness to a mere scuffle.

    They gotta do it, though, one way or another. It's part of the pecking order ritual, even though they were former flock mates. It's said that chickens can recognize up to 100 of their flock mates. What isn't mentioned is that they have the attention span of a flea, and so must be reacquainted each time one is gone away for a while.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  3. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    As long as they arent doing permanent damage, I let them work it out them selves. Its that pecking order thing that they have to go through again after each separation. [​IMG]
     
  4. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ooh boy. Any ideas how long they will keep it up? Days non-stop? Hours?
     
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:Couple of days, on and off.
     
  6. birdy_num_nums

    birdy_num_nums Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a similar situation with my 6 week old chicks. Cukoo Maran was getting pecked one day and got a small sore on her back, so I removed her and she's been in her own place for about a week now. Healing nicely, so today I thought I'd put her in with 4 of the others in my temporary outside run with close supervision. Sure enough, within seconds another chick, Silver Laced Cochin, hustled over to her and *hiiiiYA!* jumped on her back visciously. No pecking, more like a hawk with talons:eek: Cukoo Maran didn't seem too upset, but the attacking Silver Laced Cochin then seemed ready to take everyone on, even the three she's been housed with with no problems for a week (I have the 11 split 1-4-6 to alleviate crowding while our coop gets finished). I removed Cukoo Maran and she got to spend time in the yard with people, instead.

    When it is time to put them all back together, I should just make it so they can see each other but not directly attack? Does their relatively young age make a difference in how I should handle reintroducing Cukoo Maran to the whole flock?
     
  7. oldegger

    oldegger Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:What you discribe is normal. untill you get them all together they won't get there pecking order sorted out.
     
  8. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If this will last a few days, I can't watch them constantly. How closely should I monitor them? Should I separate them if I have to be away from the coop for a couple of hours?

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:Wherever you are keeping them, place some sort of duck-in shelter for the pestered ones to dive into.
    But by niow you should be getting a feel for what is going on. Whats the latest news?
     
  10. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not going well. Today I tried putting the two hens who fight together outside in the backyard, rather than in the run and coop, on the theory that with more space, they might be less inclined to lock onto each other. I separated them when one was bleeding (I think it was just a cut on her toe: she's not bleeding now but favoring her foot).

    Do you think it would make any difference if I switched the two fighting hens and put the one who has been separated from the others back with the passive hen and the roo and moved her enemy to the separate area, which is just the other half of the coop, partitioned off with chicken wire?

    I really have to get them all together: it's too difficult managing them like this.

    Thanks for any advice!
     

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