So when does pecking order cross the line to bullying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NotSuperWoman, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. NotSuperWoman

    NotSuperWoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2011
    My Humble Manor
    Long story short. We recently moved to this home. 1 am a novice chicken owner, owned chickens only since the end of June. Our 5 hens we bought over the summer were "chicken sat" by friends on a farm until we got a coop. We got a coop soon after moving here, and it came with 1 Buff Orpington. We quarantined and observed her before we brought our old chickens home.

    Problem is, even though she is the same age approximately (we think she is about 20 weeks), she is bigger than my 3 Astrolorps (Approx 20 weeks), and definitely bigger than my Golden Lace Dottes (About 12 weeks). The Astrolorps and the Dottes had their own pecking order, which is fine, and all 5 lived in harmony.l

    We Introduced our 5 existing birds to the new coop and the new bird. And the BO is definitely establishing herself as the roost queen, which is fine. It was her coop before it was theirs. But I am wondering if it goes beyond pecking order to bullying. She will chase them around the run and attack them. They seem scared to go into the coop if she is in there.

    I isolated her to a dog run with a dog crate for Sunday, and all day Monday, hoping that will help. But I just put her back in (Tues eve) and she is at it again.
    I have brought out my 2 GL Dottes and put them in the dog run with the dog crate. And the Astrolorps have even begun pecking on each other again. Are they just re-establishing pecking order?

    What should I look for? What advice can you give? And at what point to I determine it is bullying, say enough is enough, and put the BO in the crock pot for dinner?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    It's a pain in the backside but what I would have done would have been to keep them in a temporary pen next to her coop/run for a couple of weeks so she could get used to them and then try moving them in. Having a hoard of new chickens invade her space has stressed her out and royally ticked her off!

    At my house if the pecking order business consists of chasing and a few well aimed pecks then I'm ok with that. I'm not ok when it goes so far as drawing blood, it just escalates from there. I do have one hen that never was able to integrate despite months of effort. They nearly killed her.

    If it's not too bad you might just give it some time and let things settle down. If anybody gets bloodied you may have to separate them and let them get used to each other through a fence for a while before trying again.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    At least there are more pick-ees than pickers...lol. Seriously - that's a plus. I'd say enough is enough when blood is drawn or when someone is being plucked bald.
    As long as that's not happening, give them another month or two to work things out. DO make sure there are more than one feeder and waterer (set apart) available so that all birds (especially the younger birds) have access to food without being bullied.
     
  4. NotSuperWoman

    NotSuperWoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    108
    Aug 14, 2011
    My Humble Manor
    Quote:Thank you. I have the two younger hens separated. And I also have food and water in the coop and out in the run.

    I plan on letting them all free range in the back yard by the end of the week, and I really hope this eleviates some of this.
     

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