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Resident hen NOT accepting new hen :(

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by allmypeeps, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Ok, I have a dilemma... [​IMG]

    Delilah is a two yr old sexlink. I found her on the side of the road a while back and when integrating her into our tiny flock of two she immediately was the bully. I didnt like that as I didnt want my favorite hens being upset. So I pinned Delilah and allowed the other two to step up, which they did- she was put in her place and all was fine in a day.

    Well, our top hen died last winter, brining our flock of 3 back down to 2 and now Delilah is the top dog (err BIRD) apparently. She and the other hen are fine, neither dominates over the other- BUT I am trying to now introduce Nellie, a 4 month old light brahma hen to the two and Delilah is pure EVIL to her.

    Nellie is sensative and freaks out- it is rather endearing how she immediately runs to me as if I'm 'gouls' and she will stand between my legs, behind me, perch up on my shoulder...anything for protection.

    She's only 4 months old but because of breed, already the same size as my other two hens. She has lived in an adjacent pen, even was living in the same coop as I had divided it down the middle with wire. So basically they have been residing practically together for 2 months. When I take down the wire Delilah chases Nellie and grabs her feathers and won't let go and hunts her down until she corner's her. I tried the tough 'love approach' and just slipped Nellie into the coop one night and kept the coop real dark until mid afternoon, but the squawcking got way too bad! Since I live in the city I cant risk a complaint.

    I tried doing what I did when I initially intoduced Delilah (now AKA Birdzilla) but Nellie is passive and just won't step up and defend herself, and me defending her just makes Delilah attack her more when I am not around. The wierd thing is, when Delilah is completely involved in foraging, digging a hole, or eating she practically ignores Nellie's pressance- Nellie follows her around trying so hard to be accepted then Delilah just 'looks at her' and Nellie freaks out running and baggocking looking for an exit hole in the fence and I have to come rescue the poor thing before she has a heart attack or angers the neighbors. (We do NOT have compassionate neighbors).

    I hate to rehome my birds, as they are so friendly and I love them, but this just can't go on.

    I have a small city yard and I built a tiny coop for Nellie at night and during the day I place her next to the other two. With the wire fence there is no incidence- but I cannot keep this up with a Maine winter comming...

    Any advice??????? I would just let them work things out amongst themselves, but I've seen Delilah in action and she is relentless, and Nervous Nellie the skitzo chicken is getting flighty and paranoid and I am afraid my neighbors will complain to animal control (again).

    Should I wait until she is full grown to attmpt the intergrtion?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009

  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    OH, goodness - what a predicament! I'm so sorry you're having trouble. This is natural behavior, some just think they need to "remind" the lower ones more often. How long has it been since they've been together?

    I think you answered you own question when you stated:

    ...when Delilah is completely involved in foraging, digging a hole, or eating she practically ignores Nellie's pressance...

    Try to find things for them to do - keep them busy, and eventually, they should work things out. Not knowing what your run situation is, some things that I do are to hang a suet feeder filled with large chunks of goodies (such as watermelon, squash, halved cucumbers, etc.). They have to work at it to get the good stuff out, and it occupies their minds & time. I hang it from the top of my run - my run is covered, so I have 2x4's that I can hang light things off of. It swings back & forth as they try to get the goods out, making it even more difficult. I also have plastic boxes (automotive parts bins) that I arrange in different configurations around the run. I change it up every few days so it seems different to them. I have also purchased Flock Blocks (by Purina) - they are large blocks of seeds specifically for chickens (there is also oyster shell and grit in them) and it's all squished together, and is very firm; they have to work at getting the little seeds out.

    Hope you are able to get things settled soon!!!​
  3. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    ..unfortunately they do not stay entertained with goodies for long!

    I have cucumbers, zuccini, squash leaves from the garden, and tomatoes out there right now, I even pick bags of clover and dandilions when I come across a field that has some and toss them out there...the novelty doesnt take long to wear off I'm afraid.

    I have just the 3 hens and an 8' X 8' coop that has about a 16' X 16' penned in outside area for them. (used to be grass but they've devoured it), there are rasied garden beds along the perimeter of their pen which I forfeited to them long ago to give them more space, which they enjoy dirt bathing in.

    Delilah is just a meany and Nellie wigs out far too easily! Half of it is she is so paranoid Delilah will chase her that she acts wacky which causes Delilah to think she's a freak - thus attacking her- what a vicious circle!

    I think I will hjave to wait until my neighbors are mostly gone away and then just toss them together int eh coop and hope it doesnt get bloody.

    They have been practically living together for 2-3 months now and I figured they'd be over all this nonsense by now. It took but 2 days for the RR to accept Nellie. Delilah is just a jerk!


  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Well, what about getting a friend for Nellie? Maybe with four things would settle down. It'd have to be a quiet hen and preferably same breed or color as her, but, of course, you'd have to go through the same procedure with the new hen that you already have with the others. But, it might help. Or you could make the two adjacent pens so that each has a shelter for weather/ night, and still get a friend for Nellie...dunno, we have that problem with two of our roosters, they can't go out with the others without getting pounded, because once the others sense fear, they will take advantage of that. For our two roosters we just house them separately from the flock, and they take turns going outside everyday in the tractor. We have the time and accomodations to fool around with that, but some people don't. They are both older and we have had them a long time, otherwise we probably wouldn't go to that effort.
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have not tried them myself - but what about the "pinless peepers?"

    Lots of posts on here about them. Slap a pair (or place) [​IMG] on Delilah and put Nellie in the run.

    Also try re-arranging both coop and run -- add a large pot with dirt, a lawn chair -- helps make the area "new" to all.
  6. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Why not try putting Delilah by herself, and leave Nellie with the other hen. Just switch their places for a few days. Then, when Delilah rejoins the group, she will be the new one.

    I dunno, may be worth a try.
  7. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    good ideas from all...I will have to look up pinless peepers as I have never heard of them!

    I have a limit of 3 hens (living where I am) so I am at my limit...(if you don't count the 'indoor silkie roo I have that was supposed to be a SHE)

    Anyway, Its day 4 of having just let them be and its been 'so-so'.

    Nellie is so flighty around them now that she freaks out whenever they are remotely near her and then they both gang up on her.

    Today I had to lock Delilah in the coop by her lonesome but she would'nt stop baggocking in anger about it. So I put her out and she continued her annoying repetative squawcking so eventually had to put her in my basement in a crate, since bread, corn cobs, clover and such did not appease her. I let her back out after a while and then again had to coop her for attacking Nellie to the point where I had to further snip Nellies feathers because she's been flying over the boundaries out of fear and everyone starts baggocking.

    Nellie had a separate pen for a while but my yard just isnt big enough to accomodate two coops as is the dogs have less room than the chickens (but justify it because they get to go for rides and walks etc and chickens dont)...LOL

    Also, despite how petrified of the others Nellie is, she will baggock if she is in her own coop/run because she wants to be with everyone else...

    Its getting rediculous! I have actually thought of throwing in the towel and rehoming everyone with the feeling that chickens just arent working out in the city...but we have been trying so hard to move our house has been for sale for a year now and it looks liek e are stuck here another winter and who knows how long after....

    My luck, I'd rehome them and my house would sell the very next day! ARG!


  8. dftkarin

    dftkarin Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Since Delilah is 2 years old and the biggest troublemaker, what about just re-homing her?

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