Vicious bullying and now I need to introduce another bird - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by smilla1978, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. smilla1978

    smilla1978 Hatching

    Oct 16, 2017
    Hi there,

    About a month ago we had six chickens: two black australorps (one is the boss), a light sussex (second boss), two isa browns (brown battery hen breed in Oz) and an IB/LS cross. All similarish ages. They got on well for about a year then they started bullying one of the isa browns until half of her feathers were gone. I pulled her out and put her in her own pen until she was back to full health then I tried to reintroduce her, but they were so horribly vicious I removed her and gave her to a friend.

    Now, a month later, I noticed them out there today viciously attacking the australorp that is middle of the pecking order. They were out freeranging in our large backyard in the area that they dustbathe. When I ran over and shooed them off her she was in such a bad way I thought she had been either bitten by a snake or had her neck broken (she was upside down and when I gently went to move her she was jerking and kicking but couldn't even lift her head out of the dust). I went to get the axe to put her out of her misery but when I got back she was sitting up, so I put her in the stable until she recovers (or not)

    Now I have two issues. One, I'll have to reintroduce her when she's better but that went very badly with the last chicken.

    Also, our friend asked us to take their pet light sussex as they are moving and can't take her. We agreed.

    How can I try to integrate these two into the flock without hell breaking loose?

    Below is a pic of our chicken house. About five days a week they get out to freerange in our huge backyard for about five hours per day.

    My thoughts are that I let the australorp recover for a week until the new chicken arrives. Then I remove the two top bullies and isolate them in the stable and return the injured chicken and the new chicken to the chicken house. After a period of time I reintroduce the two bullies one at a time to the flock.

    Any other approach I can take? Is our run large enough for six chickens? They do pace the run if they don't get out every day.

    Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far.

    Attached Files:

  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Without measurements I can't say if the run is big enough or not. I do notice there doesn't appear to be anything for the chickens to hide behind or on top of, if being picked on by the others. However since you noted the picking was happening while they were free ranging, I'm wondering if there's some other dynamic at play - is the bird being picked on molting, or recovering from illness, or broody? Something that would make it suddenly seem different to them.
    aart likes this.
  3. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

    Aug 18, 2014
    Manhappiness, Kansas
    My Coop
    What and how much do your chickens eat on average. Protein deficiency can sometimes cause feather picking. Also, is there anything in the run to block line of sight or stave off boredom? A head of cabbage on a string is an easy boredom buster, as is treats frozen in a block. Also, slow introduction is key for happy reintroduction. You cannot simply add a chicken into the flock. There are articles on it around here, you might look one up! Hope this helps.
    aart likes this.
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    What's the protein content of your feed?.....Deficancy in nutrition can cause behavioural problems....Cut back on all snacks and free range time....

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