Scared Pullet

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Sneaky Chicken

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2016
The Garden State
Right now, I have 5 pullets in my coop from 2-3 months old. 2 NH Reds, 2 Black Copper Marans (maybe, still trying to figure that out), and 1 Delaware. Soon, my other babies will join them, but for now its just the 5 of them.

My Delaware (Margaret aka Margie) is close with my NHRs, especially my biggest girl, Martha (who is twice the size or Margie). I got the three of them from the same farm on the same day.. they were actually hatched on the same day (I got them at 4 weeks old). Im not sure if that has anything to do with how well they get along or not.

Anywho, my two BCMs (Dottie and Priscilla) like to pick on Margie, chasing her away from treats, especially. She still gets plenty of food and is healthy.. but shes extremely skittish, even with me. She is the only one of my girls who doesnt seem to trust me, even when I have treats. Shell slowly tiptoe over, snatch the treat from my hand, and dart away, then eat the treat. Sometimes she wont even come over and Ill have to throw it to her. Shes definitely the bottom of the pecking order.

How can I lessen her stress level?
She's probably bottom bird, someone has to be. As they get older she will calm down and pecking from others will lessen.

It can help to have things in your coop and run where she can hide or get away. I always scatter treats widely on the ground so everyone can get some, feeding them individually from hand can make more dominant chickens jealous and cause them to punish the ones below them. Keep multiple feeding and watering stations.

Once you introduce more chicks she won't be bottom bird anymore, someone else will get that position.
Ditto what OHLD posted.
Your present 'low bird' might be the most aggressive when you introduce the new birds..
How many and how old are the "other babies "?
How much coop/run space do you have (feet by feet)?
Whats your integration plan?
I am in the same situation......almost. I bought a Crele juvenile hen that turned out to be a rooster. He was the dearest little chicken. I became attached to him almost immediately. But after several weeks , when I found out he was a rooster, I contacted he breeder. He said he would send a replacement but they couldn't take he roo back because of NPIP regulations. I couldn't keep the little roo because of city ordinance. So I found a home for him and ordered 2 pullets. It was very lonely for the little chicken and I thought with two it would be easier for them. Two days before the new hens would be here and the other chicken had a new home, I went to let the other 3 out to free range and take the cover off the kennel, I started talking baby talk to him, he was in the corner of the cage. To my horror I realized he was dead!! He was mauled and only his rump was left compete. I was (am) devastated.i had gotten so attached to him. I cried for 2 full days and still do not like talking about it. The sight of his innocence the little body laying there I will always remember. Then I got the pullets 2 days later. They are the most beautiful red Orpingtons. Much bigger than the rooster. All their feathers, making chicken noises not chick noises and about half the size f the 3 grown orps. More work of having to bend over, half crawl in their cage to get them. (Pardon he pun, but I ain't no spring chicken myself) it killed my arthritis trying to clean the cage, taking them to a "Peck and Play" chicken playpen so they wouldn't be confined completely. The other hens took little notice of them. By this time I am beginning to be completely worn out with chickens. Yesterday evening as I was sitting outside with them I decided just to let them out for a few minutes before dark to see what the other chickens would do. I soon found out. The battle started as soon as the lowest chicken on the totem pole saw them . She immediately rushed over and attacked them. I had the garden hose and I sprayed her and got her off of them. And scolded her and I know that is a completely worthless option. But I responded as a human who cannot stand to see things like this (this is the first time I have tried adding a pullet to my "flock" (3 orps hens). And it will be my last I can tell you that. For the next hour it was almost constant harassment except for the alpha hen that did not take a lot of notice except to give the hens the evil eye. I read on this
site about letting the younger chickens out in the morning, let them graze a little bit, put them up and let the other chickens out. This might be a better option, except they are not wanting to the caged up anymore and they fuss a lot. And hen there is the struggle of having to catch them and move them.bI know they have to go through their ritual of deciding pecking order but it is tearing my nerves completely up. These little chickens are my family, I live alone so they take up a good portion of my time and as Rodney King said back in the 90s, "why can't we all just get along" I am about ready to send them all packing (jk)
Chickens are brutal. They don't like change or new members. A flock of chickens has a set territory which they will defend to keep. When we add new members that are older they are seen as intruders who are trying to take over the territory. So the established birds will attack them. Integrating any thing over 8 weeks can be harder and take longer. You need to basically wait until the hens forget the new birds were never there. Chicks are expected to show up and are mostly accepted, except if the area is too small, than there can be troubles.

Smaller set ups can be nightmares to add birds to because the size of the territory will determine how many birds can live in it. Put too many birds in any set up and there will be attempts by dominant members to drive out bottom members to make more room.

So always give your birds plenty of room both inside and out to avoid conflicts and troubles. It's always best to stock at half the suggested rate or less.

I'm sorry you had that happen. I too had a similar situation years ago when my birds pecked a polish rooster to death because I confined them for too long. It is a devastating thing, and since than I have 100% free ranged my birds and have not had any behavioral problems.
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