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Squawking Hens -- please help!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AllisonM, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. AllisonM

    AllisonM In the Brooder

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    We live in a neighborhood and have 4 hens. Two are 2 years old. Two recent additions are about 4.5 months old -- we got them as 6 week pullets and kept them separate for the first 3 or 4 weeks. At this point the young ones are nearly the same size as the older ones. The older two are Buff Orpington and Plymouth Barred Rock. Younger two are RIR and Delaware.

    They've now been integrated for about 2 months. The older two do a lot of squawking, seemingly at the existence of the younger two. They seem to treat them as intruders and chase/bully them. How can we make them all feel like one flock so the squawking will end?? No other predator issues that would be the problem.

    I'm due with a baby in 3 weeks and honestly considering giving all 4 away if we can't get a handle on this. As it is now, if they are squawking early in the morning we put one or both of the older ones in a dog crate in the garage for a couple hours so they aren't upsetting the neighbors. Not an ideal solution and not sustainable.

    Is there anything we can do to fix this or do we just have loud obnoxious hens that aren't suited for neighborhood life?
     
    chickens really likes this.
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma Premium Member

    Sometimes adding in new Birds won't work. Definitely if it's an issue get rid of them.
     
  3. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg Premium Member Project Manager 7 Years

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    Take the most aggressive of the two older hens out and keep her in a separate cage for a couple of days. A Dog kennel will work. Put her back and the pecking order should re work itself. Hopefully it will stop the squabbling.
     
    Chick-N-Fun, AllisonM and casportpony like this.
  4. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] Songster

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    Squawking is natural for chickens. I have a brat that squawked for at least a month. She was unhappy and wanted all the attention. She bossed them even plucked out a few tail feathers. All completely NORMAL chicken behavior. IF they are being injured you could try a pen within your pen to separate them for a while so they can see each other yet be safe and try a reintroduction after. Don’t know how you chose to do that the first time. There is always a restructuring of the pecking order when new ones arrive. If they’re not being injured...let them be.
     
    Chick-N-Fun and ronott1 like this.
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg Premium Member Project Manager 7 Years

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    Yes!

    The big problem is if they draw blood.
     
  6. AllisonM

    AllisonM In the Brooder

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    Thanks everyone -- they aren't drawing blood, not even pecking at the younger ones at this point. They did some pecking in the beginning, but now they just chase them, and otherwise just squawk a lot. The noise is really the issue. It's more than I personally find tolerable and more than I think our neighbors should have to deal with. It's beyond "pleasant chicken chatter" if that's a thing.

    I'm going to try the recommendation of separating the most aggressive of the older ones for a couple days and see if that helps.

    I'm trying hard to not be a failed chicken keeper, but part of me thinks you have to be very lucky with exactly the right personality birds to be able to keep them in a neighborhood. Our neighbors have never complained, but I personally find it unacceptable and annoying, and not something I want to continue dealing with when our newborn baby arrives. At this point they are just causing us stress and not providing much enjoyment beyond eggs, and I'm at the point where I'd rather buy some decent eggs at the farmer's market and have peace and quiet at our house.
     
    ronott1 likes this.
  7. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg Premium Member Project Manager 7 Years

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    You can make them a toy to distract them. A good one is to hang a cabbage for them. Since it is moving into fall, they love working to eat a pumpkin. Cut a hole in the side and they will eat inside from the hole. Hens also love piles of leaves! If you put out a pile, they will spend days breaking it down.

    They like to do stuff other than eat and lay eggs. It is fun to watch too
     
  8. TheLittleFarm18

    TheLittleFarm18 Chirping

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    Could be a pregnancy thing. My husband pointed out how I "hated" the dog right before and after I had my 2nd baby. Personally don't think I hated the dog and do not remember ever thinking that. I guess I just had a change in priorities and didnt treat the dog the same. Becoming a mom, no matter how many times over, can really make you change in ways you wouldn't think or even notice.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road Premium Member 8 Years

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    I would say if you're not enjoying them, why keep them? You're going to have your hands full when the baby comes anyway. Really - it's OK not to keep your chickens if you don't want them. It doesn't make you a failure. As a matter of fact, I think you're a better person for it. Giving them up to a home where they can squawk to their hearts' content and not bother anyone is a good option.
     
    aart and granny hatchet like this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    Ditto Dat^^^

    Those younger birds won't be a true part of the flock until they start laying.
    The squawking may never end...chickens can be loudly noisy.

    Boy, that's for sure!
     

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