VERY aggressive hens.....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenWisperer, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Songster

    Jun 30, 2008
    I recently built a new coop, and got new hens and poulllets. I originally had one RIR hen, but got anouther RIR hen, BR hen, SLW poullet, GLW poullet, Black Comet poullet, and Black/Red sex-link poullet. They were put in my old coop before the new one, and no aggressive behavior was displayed, which i was thanful for. Suddenly, once they were moved into the new coop with my very young poullet Ashi and cockerel Cairo, the hens became very, very aggressive. Java, the original RIR, and Mocha, the other RIR, Are the two lead hens, and then there is the other hen, the BR (who STILL doesnt have a name [​IMG]). At first, it was just Java. She would grab the back of Cairos head, and then repeatedly peck him. This only happened the first day, because i quickly put a stop to that by picking her up by her feet and hanging her upside down. She aslo done this to Ashi. After that, she has incited the other hens to be aggressive as well. Mocha, the tamest and calmest of the three, only charges the babies. Even more, she only does this when the other hens are around! The BR als charges and pecks the babies. We try our very best to stop them when they do this. Java and the BR are also very aggressive around the old poullets....the BR will actually grab the poullets tailfeathers, and pull them out! She also pecks and charges them. Java has charged and pecked them so much that they often make a wide swath around her now. Mocha still being the calmest, isnt aggressive at all towards the older poullets, unless she wants to share food.

    Is there anything i can do to stop this behavior? Is this natural? Whats causing this?
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You are seeing the establishment of their pecking order. Your older new hens have taken over. If your other younger chickens are under 16 weeks old or are alot smaller than these new hens you need to separate them. The older hens will bully and starve them out as well.

    This behavior is programmed into them by nature. It is a cold cruel world when it comes to chickens and how they establish and live in a flock.

    I would suggest you separate them again.
  3. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    Derby Kansas
    i agree i would separate them don't take a chance, of them really hurting your chicks.
  4. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Songster

    Jun 30, 2008
    See, thats what worries me....their about 24 weeks along. Should i just seperate a corner of the coop, and make a separate run for them?
  5. Gindee77

    Gindee77 Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    QCA, Illinois
    We put three younger chickens in with eight older ones (the older ones are 4 and 5 weeks older) and it takes a long time for them to get used to each other. I have one younger EE that I'm considering getting rid of because she still freaks out and runs all over if any of the older chickens even look at her and this is after being together for months!! That sets the whole coop off and the older ones go after her then. The other two young ones (black sex-links) do fine, the will get down and eat with the older ones but they are very timid and way down in the pecking order.

    The three young ones stay up on the top of the nest boxes and they have food and water up there so they have a place to eat and drink. They also get up on the roosts. I'm also considering putting a shelf next to the roosts to put another feeder and waterer on so I will be sure they are getting to eat and drink.

    They don't get to go out with the older ones when they go out to the tractor all day, but they usually get a turn sometime during the day. We're in the process of making a small tractor for those three so they can get outdoors more often and for longer periods of time.

    They all do fine together when they are inside at night and roosting and when they wake up in the morning!
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:That is a sure sign that she is at the bottom of the pecking order and takes the brunt of the punishment from other chickens. Once you remove her another chicken will be relagated to the lowest of the low and will be picked on and tortured. Pay very close attention and you will see the flock order is a way of life.

    Being a chicken is a life in a cold cruel world.
  7. ChickaD

    ChickaD Songster

    Aug 6, 2008
    central Vermont
    I'm fairly new to figuring out how these threads work, so I'm not sure if I should post my similar problem here or start a new thread.........moderator?

    Our established flock of 7 older hens who have been together at least 4-5 years, has started acting brutal towards one poor hen. They pick on her mercilessly and seem to take turns running her off the roost, etc. When they free range, she stays off by herself and hates to come back in at night. This didn't always happen. The picked on bird, Jewel, and the worst offender, a nasty white bird, Pearl, are both originally refuges from a neighbor's flock, who joined ours years ago. Two things have changed in our chickens' routine lately: we added a small flock of 5 week old chicks to the smaller fenced-off half of the coop (where some of the older gals used to enjoy roosting, etc before the chicks needed that space); and we have reduced the amount of free ranging for our older flock since we have had a coyote kill and a hawk attack they are in their run more often and only free range when we're nearby.

    What can you suggest I do for the poor tormented bird? I haven't seen any bleeding or wounds. She appears to be heavily molting, which is odd, since no other hen is molting. Perhaps the others pulled out some feathers, and now they are growing back in? We don't have a separate part of the coop for this hen, except for something I can arrange at night. During the day, all the hens would need to go through that area to access the coop.

    Tonight I caught the main offender, Pearl, and held her calmly for quite a while, talking quietly to her.......then set her down on the coop floor, where she just sat quiet, unheard of for her. Normally, she doesn't allow anyone to catch her (I suspect neglect/abuse in her earlier life before we got her) Do you think I should keep doing this, if she's the alpha female?

    In 9 years of raising chickens, we've never had this kind of bullying. Help, please!
  8. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    ChickaD, I don't know how to help you, but I wish you the best.
    ChickenWisperer, I'm having some integration issues too. I've introduced 5 young but large Marans with an established flock of 13. The BR hens are by far the biggest bullies in the yard. Sometimes, I really think they mean to do damage.

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