Should I take in my friend's aggressive birds?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MamaGina, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. MamaGina

    MamaGina In the Brooder

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    I have an established flock of mixed breeds (14 total: 2 leghorns, 2 barred rock, 1 wyandotte, 4 americaunas, 2 buffs, 1 black star, 2 buckeyes). I have a pretty large run (about 350 sq ft) and all my chickens get along great.

    My friend recently got a chicken tractor-type coop with an attached run (like this http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/e/ef/efd15b28_57568_dscf4867.jpeg). Supposedly it will accommodate 12 chickens but that seems like way too many for the space. She bought 6 chickens (2 leghorn, 2 RIR, 2 cal gray or barred rock) about a month ago. Last week the two leghorns have attacked the RIRs and caused half-dollar sized wounds on their backs along with lots of missing feathers. I have the two RIRs at my place now, separated from my flock, so they can heal up. They are doing fine together.

    She wants to get rid of the leghorns since they're now attacking the other two remaining chickens. Do I dare take them? Will they be low enough in the pecking order to keep from hurting my girls, and should the behavior stop if they have more room to run around? They would be the youngest and smallest of my flock (although size didn't seem to matter with her birds). I have a large run but not a huge coop, and pretty cold winters, so I'm a little worried about them in the winter. I just have never had any aggression issues so I don't want to take any chances. Either way, I told her I'd keep them here (again, separated from my flock) until she decides what to do but haven't offered to take them permanently yet. I'm tempted, though, because leghorns are such good layers.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I wouldn't touch those leghorns with a 10' pole. They might do well in a situation where they could be out to free range EVERY day, but IMO leghorns are not good candidates for confinement.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    x2! They will be good in the crock pot, or as soup. You also don't need to introduce any health issues from another flock. Mary
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

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    If there is room in the coop and you want them for the eggs, you could consider using Pinless Peepers on the Leghorns, they generally do a pretty good job of stopping that sort of aggression.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    You are looking at a very complicated issue. Aggression stems from both heredity and social pressures. Leghorns are typically an aggressive breed. They are great layers, thus are selected most often for commercial laying. However, great measures usually are taken to cope with their aggressive tendencies.

    In my flock I have an aggression issue that was becoming so severe that normally docile breeds were "learning" this disruptive behavior and causing near pandemonium. It has driven one hen, in particular, to a state of chronic neurosis.

    I finally resolved the problem by partitioning off one coop, that has several entrances and pens coming off it in two different directions, and moving the four aggressive hens into these new quarters. In effect, I now have two separate flocks that no longer mingle with each other. When they are let out to free range, they do it in shifts.

    You are fortunate in that you know what kind of behavior you are going to be dealing with and can approach it with creativity if you choose. But to think you can toss these aggressive birds into your flock and expect to have bird song and sunshine is to be unrealistic.

    Sometimes a free gift is not a wonderful thing to accept.
     
  6. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Songster

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    [​IMG]I agree.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would say....nope, sorry. I think you know the answer, but it's hard to tell a friend you can't bail her out. Hard lessons and strained relationships.

    That tractor is barely big enough for 4 birds, especially if you have severe winters.
    She'll need to read up on integration before reintroducing the RIR's after they heal......
    .....and also think about having a segregation enclosure also...for the integration and in case she needs to separate birds for any other reason down the road.

    Introducing those two LH trouble makers into your harmonious flock would not be a good idea at all, IMO.
    You may think you'll gain a couple eggs a day, but if (when) havoc ensues you may end up with less egg per day due to the stress.


    Hopefully the leghorns can be rehomed somewhere more appropriate.
     
  8. lovemy6hens

    lovemy6hens Songster

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    Absolutely not.
     

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