What can I do about my nasty hen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken Cake, May 25, 2016.

  1. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2015
    Technically she’s still a pullet but an egg should be coming any day. I have two 20-24 week old girls, two 12 week old Brahmas and two 10 week old Barnevelders, all looking like females. The 4 younger ones had been separated within the covered run for weeks before I tried to introduce everyone while free ranging. Nasty Hen (NH) will not get over it and leave them alone. Any time they are within eyesight, she’s on it. My other hen does pick and chase when they come near but nothing like NH. I understand the Barnies are probably too young but the Brahmas are her size and particularly upset when she goes after them. I had wanted to integrate them first and wait on the smaller two but they seem a little more confident in a group of 4, and none of them wants to be locked up anywhere with NH.

    The run is 70+ sq. feet and I have 3 sources of food and water, plus some wood leaning up against a couple walls for hiding spots. 30 days of rain has delayed the 4X8 “proper” coop but it should be finished this weekend. In the mean time they are under the playhouse, protected from the elements/predators and get 4-6 hours of free ranging every day. If it’s raining too hard for them to come out, I still open all the doors so they have the choice. The chicks always stay in their area unless NH decides they need to be chased out of it.

    I understand the pecking order will have to be reestablished every time they are separated and put back together but this has been going on for weeks and I don’t see an end in sight. A few times I swapped the areas and put the big girls in the smaller section where the chicks go but the other hen needs to get to the nest box. Should I try putting NH in there alone when they aren't free ranging and let the nicer hen work it out with the chicks? The other option is to remove the Barnevelders from the equation until they are older but I’d like them to stay friends with the Brahmas.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Definitely remove the bully and house her separately for at least a week. Then things may go better when she's introduced. If not, separate her for another week.

    Established flock look upon new birds as a threat. They instinctively feel they will complete for resources and can possibly bring in disease. They try to drive them away to protect the flock.
     
  3. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    If the coop is finished soon, should I try introducing there since it will be foreign to everyone? Or is that too small a space? Should I put the chicks in there for a few days before letting the big girls in so they “claim it”?

    NH has been squatting for over a week and I saw her in the nest box this morning. Will she hold her egg until let out for free ranging or should I put a temporary box in with her?

    This is the monster a couple weeks ago. Chase and separate. Chase and separate, then corner one. Over and over.

    https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/s...1O9JYTIrm0B?v=grid&ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    She won't hold an egg. Once ovulation occurs, the egg will be laid in about 24 hours. Pullets at POL usually try out the nest box a few days before the first egg.

    Should I put the chicks in there for a few days before letting the big girls in so they “claim it”?

    Put the chicks in there a couple days and then add an older bird every couple days, starting with the most docile and lastly, the mean one.
     
  5. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2015
    In some weird twist, I heard horrible squawking right after my last post. That has never happened before and I saw the nicer hen bolting across the back of the yard to get home. All by herself. For 20 minutes I searched for NH and found nothing. She is a loudmouth so I was sure she must have been scooped up and taken away.

    After locking up all the chickens and calming down, I let the dogs out for their turn in the yard. NH popped out from behind the AC unit next to the house and one of my dogs went after her. Thankfully the dog, a Pitbull, has good (frantically screaming!) voice control because she only yanked out a few feathers.

    NH is by herself now and the other 5 seem to be getting along well enough. My nerves are shot, though.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    85% of the time, dogs and chickens don't mix.

    Did you check behind the AC unit for a secret nest?
     
  7. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had to separate my bully hen for a day or two one time. One day she decided she wanted to challenge the lead and and started to draw blood. Mind you they were already about a year old and have been together since day old chicks. But the separation helped a lot. I put a dog crate in the run and she had to watch the others get along and play. That set her straight after 2 days
     
  8. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    The dogs and chickens are never loose in the yard together. It only happened yesterday because I thought NH was gone. I looked for an egg, or even some type of nest, but couldn’t find anything. Something made the big girls go to opposite sides of the yard and make all that noise, though. Better a first egg than close call with a predator.

    The other 5 got along very well last night. Chicks are much less stressed than I’ve seen them in a while and Nice Hen was great. NH is being her usual squawky, fussy early morning self so I don’t think any major damage was done by the dog.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just keep juggling birds and spaces...isolating nasty girl for a time out when she misbehaves too badly.
    It would be good to have a portable floor nest with bedding and fake eggs for isolation area,
    just to get in some nest training at this delicate time.
    It's not necessary, but I've found a portable floor nest to be handy...just like some wire dog crates are handy when chicken juggling.

    Benefit of the doubt for nasty girl....
    .....pullets have hormones streaming(screaming-haha) at POL.....they can be very cranky and she will probably settle down after laying for a while.
     
  10. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    I don’t know if it was the dog attack, whatever happened before that or the change in dynamics but none of them wanted to free range this morning. I had let NH out of her jail cell to co-mingle and she seemed like a changed woman for about an hour. Then the torment started again and she went back on lock down. It would be nice if she settled down eventually because this is not the only issue I have with her and my patience is wearing thin. She better give me a huge, blue egg very soon. LOL

    I have fake eggs and these mats. Would it be okay to just set those on the floor or should I try to fit a box of some type in the jail cell?
     

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