Rescue batts not doing well together

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
Long story.... we have a little Arucuana who was bullied by the existing flock. We removed her, she recovered, tried re-introducing and each time, she ended up being beaten up.

So we decided to build a second coop and get her some company. We got three rescue battery hens. Initially they were in a small cage together whilst we finished off the new one (2 days) and seemed OK. One was particularly dominant, so we separated her.

Then we put them in the big new run. Chaos!

Our original hen (Nella) was attacked ferociously by the dominant one to the extent that blood was drawn and she was very disorientated. So the dominant one (Scarlett) was put into an isolation cage (a small self contained run & coop). This left 3 hens, of which Nella actually established herself as head hen.

Our big problem now is that one of the new hens is incredibly timid. She is getting on OK (just normal "it's mine" peck from Nella) but is terrified of the other new hen (Rosie) who is picking on her mercilessly. I have to intervene and most times the timid one just hides upstairs in the nesting area until Rosie comes up. She is continuously shaking. She runs over to me for protection and at the moment I am having to feed her wet mash to ensure she is eating and getting moisture. She won't venture down to get food or drink unless turfed out by Rosie. Then Rosie follows her downstairs and she runs back up to hide.

We have multiple feeders in the run but she is so timid, even the wind makes her jump and run.

Is there anything we can do to make her calmer and settle? It is pitiful watching it and I am not prepared to allow her to live a miserable existence. She will calm down in my arms and is a lovely little thing but it's the other chicken she has a problem with. Goodness only knows what it will be like when I try to reintroduce Scarlett back in in another week's time. If only she wouldn't run, they would probably peck her and then ignore - but the running all the time is making her an attractive moving target.
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
The run is more than enough for 5 hens and there's 3. The problem is a serious dislike of one her for another and because the timid hen runs away all the time, she is chased. I've seen this before with a timid hen but not as bad as this. She is a quaking wreck.

Gets to night time and they all sit on the same perch in the sleeping area. By daylight, the peace is broken.

Someone suggested lavender or oregano essence, plus a radio to calm them. Trying the radio now but will need to get the other two things.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,777
552
Did you say you have 2 coops, with 2 flocks of birds? Would the other flock be kinder to her?
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
Thanks all. The coop is built from scratch and is reasonably large. At the moment, the timid one is just staying in the coop. We are having to feed her mash upstairs - wet because otherwise she isn't going to get fluids. She won't drink much at all, so wet mash seems to be OK.

However, each time the bully comes upstairs, she runs downstairs and is fine with the other chicken. The moment the bully comes down, there is a fight and she runs back up there. So my thinking is that I should block off the coop so they have to resolve it. It may be unpleasant for a while but I hope it will settle down. I will sit with them for a while to make sure there's no serious attack. But if I don't do this, it is just a running away issue which means each time they see each other, they react because they don't spend any time together.

Does this sound like a good idea?
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,777
552
You should really turn their lives upside down by adding a few more chickens!! The current contenders will probably band together for safety, lol
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,998
6,505
666
Contra Costa county, Ca.
Could you possibly integrate the 2 "bullies" into your main flock, and leave Nella and the timid one as a pair? I know that leaves you with the "what if something happens to one" scenario, but that could be addressed when it happens. Good on ya for rescuing ex-batts, BTW.
 

MANNA-PRO

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