Readjusting the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mattemma, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    How long would I have to keep out 3 older hens to set a new pecking order? Remove all 3 or just one at a time?

    I have 3 year old (2 in May 2011) sex link hens that beat up on my 5 teen hens now for weeks now. The teens around over 20 month old now. The teens run when any of the 3 come near them. The 3 older hens will chase and peck the teens constantly. I was hoping attacks would stop as it have been closer to 3 months now. Also,now some of the teens are starting to squat,so when an older hen attacks the teen squats and get pecked over and over instead of running away.

    I was thinking to put the older girls in a metal dog crate in the garage for a day/night,and then add them back.Would the teens be more likely to hold their ground,or would I need to keep the older hens out of the coop/run longer?

    Last week I found blood splatter in the coop,but could not find any injury on the teens.I know someone got it bad. I need some peace with them,because they will be spending much of their time in a 6 by 8 shed for the winter.

    Should I mess with them or just ignore and hope no one gets seriously hurt?
  2. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    24 hours probably won't help much. I have mine in and out for various reasons fairly often, and they all get welcomed back to the fold with little fuss unless they've been gone at least a week. I would remove at least two of them (the remaining one will then be heavily outnumbered and may make a truce for that reason alone). If you remove all three of them, returning them one at a time with at least 24 hours between returns seems to help, too.

    I'd bet your blood spatter was a comb; they tend to bleed a lot immediately, heal quickly, and be awfully hard to track down after the fact.
  3. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Ya i would say remove them for a few days. You can do it 1 at a time or 2 of them. I wouldn't do all three cause then they are still together and there order is still set and nothing really has been changed. So i say at least 3 days.
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I removed all 3 after they seriously pecked another new squatter. We are on day 2 of them being in the dog crate in the garage. I am thinking I will add one back tomorrow,and see how things go before I add another in a few days.Ending with the head hen. It is hard to pick who goes back first,becasue all 3 hens are equally brutal in their attacks. I will keep the crate set up for any *bad girl* behavior requiring a time out. Thanks for the input!
  5. GoldenCometLover

    GoldenCometLover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2010
    Freeville, NY
    Hi - I really don't mean to hijack the thread but really wanted to ask advise on re-integrating a hen that has been confined for a leg injury!
    Uzuri - you mentioned the less than a week not being a porblem, well my girl Rocky has been separated for 2 weeks as of tomorrow.
    Today is her last day of separation/confinement but I am very worried about re-introducing her to the family (her 3 "sisters").

    She is in a separate crate in the run during the day and then in another at night, but she broke free a couple days ago during her "prison transfer" from the inside crate to the outside crate and they completely went crazy and attacked her! [​IMG]

    I was in shock and so was she, she ran right to me for help....she is going crate crazy as it is and I need to get her back with her group...any tips on how I do that without anyone getting hurt??

    Any advise would be awesome - tomorrow is her freedom day and I know she wasnts to run... [​IMG]
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I think that you need to take a look at your run. What is in there? I have seen a lot of pictures of people's set up here, and most have nothing in the run but the feeder and waterer. Put up some roosts, put some heavy wire cages kitty corner to a corner of the pen, put in a huddle box, but get some different heights that the birds can go to. It may look like there is less room in the run, but really there is more, it is like putting shelves in a closet, you can get more stuff in them.

    If the picked on chick can get out of sight, out of mind for a bit, it helps, if there are some safe places only smaller hens can get into, these all help. Also by having the different heights, I think it really helps with boredom.

    I think it is in the run, that most people have trouble, unless you have such a big coop that the hens stay in it for most of the day. Mine is small, so my girls and roo spend the day in the run, unless free ranging.

  7. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    GoldenCometLover -- you might try putting her somewhere with *1* of the others for a little while so that she can get somebody on her side. When I integrated chicks this year I actually ended up swapping three chicks for three of my six adults so that they had even "sides" as such. It worked pretty well.

    In the crate she's been in, can they all see each other plainly? Sounds like they can. It's a little odd that they won't accept her back if she's really been right there all this time (separation within sight doesn't seem to do much to the pecking order; I've do it a couple times for outdoor layers -- shut them in a special small cage that encircles part of the nesting box for a couple weeks). Is she still a little "off" maybe, from her injury? Sometimes chickens get weird about other injured chickens, too, and they might not take her back until she's 100%.

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