strange behaviour from new pullets!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sjcoops, May 20, 2007.

  1. sjcoops

    sjcoops Hatching

    May 20, 2007
    can anybody help me with this problem? six months ago we bought 11 chickens which I'm glad to say all are well and very happy! The problem that has arisen is that last week we decided to incresase our flock and bought a cockerall and two pullets from a poultry auction. We put them straight in the pen with all the other chucks but imediately all our other girls jumped on them and started bullying them. The cockerall was left alone but the two little hens just got terrorized! Realising we'd made a mistake we isolated the two pullets and put them in pen where the other chickens could see them but couldn't get to them. The silly things just hid in the nesting box all day and then at night when all the other hens had gone in to roost they came out and bedded themselves down iin the run - just waiting for mr fox to arrive!! This went on for a couple of days until I closed the hen house door up during the day so they couldn't hide and so they had to come out and see the world.
    After a few days we put them back in the main pen to try again. This time they did get picked on a little bit but only for a few minutes then the rest of the chucks seemed to get bored and left them alone but the two new ones just ran and hid again. That was a week ago and the same thing is happening every day - during the day they hide in or underneath the hen house and at night they come out and sleep on the ground! Is this normal behaviour? Incidently the cockerall also doesn't roost at night just sleeps on the floor of the hen house but at least he ventures out during the day!
    Has anyone any ideas about this type of behaviour?
    Last edited: May 20, 2007
  2. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    I think alot of this has to do with the shock of innitially being thrown in with the other birds immediately. I would have them seperated for at least a few weeks, before introducing! They now are going to need some adjustment time, and they should come around!
  3. sjcoops

    sjcoops Hatching

    May 20, 2007
    thanks for the reply - I've just checked them and they are roosting with the other chickens so we have a bit of progress - at least they have come in tonight ! Do you think just leave them hiding during the day or shoo them out ?
  4. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    I would just let them do their own thing. They will come around.[​IMG]
  5. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    sjcoops, One needs to realize that the existing flock considers the coop, waterers, feed, and basic living space theirs and to just plop newbies in their space doesn't work well. Pecking order is real in the chicken world, and they take it serious.

    Health reasons should also be reason to keep the new birds in quarantine to make sure they are healthy and not spreading any sickness to your healthy flock.

  6. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    Something else to consider is this. When the actual introduction is being done, it is much easier on everyone if you have scratch or a treat for the exsisting flock to be excited over. That way the introduction is a positive thing. Don't beat yourself up over it. We all have made mistakes and learned from them. Your booboo will be a valuable learning lesson for someone else. I'm glad they are starting to venture out a little more. It just takes time. Best of luck to you and btw...WELCOME TO BYC!
  7. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Glad everything is going better.

    I am constantly changing my flock and adding newbies can be tricky. Girls are much easier to add then boys, especially grown up boys who think they know everything. [​IMG] What I like to do is keep the newbies completely separate from my flock for about a week to make sure they don't have any obvious diseases or mites and such.

    Then I put them in an area where the other chickens can see them, but can't peck or scratch them for a few days. My main flock free-range so they can go and investigate the newcomers, but can't hurt them, because they are in a pen. Once the flock is less interested in them I sneak the newbies in the coop at night, while everyone is asleep. I put some goodies in the coop, so when the flock wakes up there are treats that are far more interesting then the newbies and everyone is happy. It works well and since the main flock has already met them, viscous fights rarely happen, usually just a few "hey this is my space" pecks and everyone learns their place.
    I must say, I wouldn't add anything younger then 20wks, they have to big enough to be able to defend themselves.

    Luckily yours got away with a few minor scratches. I have to admit I did the same thing when I first started out with chickens. I bought a beautiful SSH cockerel and just tossed him in with everyone else. Well, the next day I found him torn to pieces, my other roos (who had grown up together and got along well) had taken care of an intruder. It was sad and a hard lesson to learn. [​IMG] But its all part of the chicken experience. [​IMG]
  8. chrissieg

    chrissieg Songster

    [​IMG] Somebody told me you should always introduce new chickens in similar numbers to your existing ones (if that makes sense) and at night.

    It may work (say), if you had three to add, to separate three from your existing flock and put them together until they were used to each other and then put them with the rest. I've only dealt with adding twos and threes when I've been down to ones and twos!
  9. CHILLbilly

    CHILLbilly In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2007
    Northern Ontario Canada
    Last year I adopted 3 silki cross pullets. They were about 4 months old i think.
    I did the same thing........put them in with my 2 ISA brown hens. They were ok at night but during the day the 2 hens ganged up and tried to beat up the poor little silki.
    Now they are separated and its been a year and I am still to scared to put them together. They can see each other and chat but no touching.
    The 2 silki girls ( we ended up with a rooster:rolleyes:, who is such a gentleman so I am glad she turned out to be a he) are so gentle with each other I can't see them "holding" their own against my pushy but lovable ISA hens.
    I am going to an auction this Sat soooooo I am going to try this advice.
    I just wanted to add my experience so the original poster doesn't feel to guilty
    The main reason I am adding to my trio of because it seems the rooster ( silverlaced cochin i think) favours the black hen as she resembles him better then the white silki. I feel bad for her when the other 2 snuggle.
    So heres hoping I have a successful "introduction".....
    My question many do I get?[​IMG]
  10. earthy_chicks

    earthy_chicks In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2007
    I just added three newbies to three existing girls and they are adjusting. From this experience I would agree about adding the same number you already have. And also I gave them chamomile clippings from my herb garden to chill everyone out. I have no idea if chickens respond to herbal therapy but hey it's worth a try! [​IMG]

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