What is the best way to deal with aggression?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JLS, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    I have noticed my some of my pullets (19 weeks old) showing aggression. By aggression I mean: they are actually ripping out some feathers from which ever pullet they are pecking at. I have not noticed any wounds, bald spots, or blood. When does it need to be addressed and how? I have seen two techniques - debeaking and the metal beak rings. Both make me uneasy but I realy don't want any of my ladies stressed. I would love for them to co-exist peacefully. Any advise?
     
  2. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    Well when they usially start attacking each other it means that they dont have enough space in there coop or run.Do you freerange them or have them in a run?
     
  3. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
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    My Coop
    Quote:Yes, I have made the coop and run just the right size, free range them whenever possible, give them hay and hide bits of dry food in the shavings on the coop floor. I tend to baby them I think.

    I am not sure if it is safe for them to free range without my supervision. My back yard is fenced in with 4' stalkade. I have not seen many hauks but I am a big worrier. They are Buff Orps anf Salmon Favs. I dont know if a hauk could even take one? Their run is covered so I dont worry about them in there.
     
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
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    As pringle says, aggression is not normal, and probably indicates that they are stressed in some way. Do they get enough protein and calcium in their diet?--at that age they should have oyster shell available at all times as they prepare to lay eggs. Do they have food available at all times? Has the weather been extremely hot? Do they have nestboxes available for laying? If you could give the actual dimensions of the coop and run, that might be helpful, some "minimums" given are really not adequate for stress-free chickens IMHO. The peepers and beak trimming are absolute last resorts that should not be relied upon until all other issues have been addressed.
     
  5. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    I have not been giving them oyster shell. The feed store said it wasn't nessesary unless they had trouble laying. I have been giving them layer pellets for a couple weeks now (as suggested by the feed store). The food is always available for them plus daily food scraps and treats. I guess I will have to give them the oyster shell.

    As for the weather, I live in Maine so it has been chilly about 40 at night and low 60's during the day. Tonight there is a frost warning.

    The coop is 8'x8'. The run is 8'x13' (They cannot be any larger). I have 14 girls. In the coop I have oversized nesting boxes along the whole back wall. There is 2 roostes - one just in front of the nest boxes and one just above, each running the whole length of the back wall. The girls have the entire floor available, plus the roostes, and the top of the boxes which are 14" deep and flat.

    My fenced in back yard is 40'x40' with no trees. There are other structures that they can go under if they choose.

    I know there is a pecking order. Is this what is going on? As I stated, they are not drawing blood nor are there any bald spots. Not all of them are acting this way either.
     
  6. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    It may be a temporary thing. At 19 weeks, they're still adolescents, and there are going to be periodic squabbles as they re-work their social structure. Got any roos in that mix? They start getting problematic as they mature sexually, and the hens get stressed dealing with clumsy "affectionate" roos, too.

    They might also be a bit crowded. It's best to have a minimum of 10 sq feet per bird in the run, so you should have at least 140 sq feet, and have somewhat less.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  7. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    May 29, 2009
    Maine
    My Coop
    I do not have any roos, which is surprising because 3 of us went in on an order of 50, all female chicks, from McMurray. Not one turned out to be a roo!!! I thought we would have got at least 5.

    I have a question: I thought that Orps and Favs did "well in confinement". If they have enough coop space (4' per bird), why do they need more than double the space outdoors? I would think they'd be content with 7.5' per bird in the run.

    I don't know what to do now. I love them all. I truly do. I sit outside with them, hold them, kiss them, sing to them. I know it's a bit weird, but I do.
     
  8. wombat

    wombat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2009
    10 sq ft. outside per bird would be better, in my opinion. If you can't expand the run, try putting a small roost outside as well, maybe even one at each end of the run. If some are perched contentedly, there's less on the ground to stir up a fuss.
     
  9. goldielocks

    goldielocks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 2, 2009
    I think things will work out just fine. They are just getting use to each other and trying to establish a pecking order. Later on if there is one that is still pretty nasty you might want to give her to someone who has chickens.

    I have an 8 x 10 coop and a 8 x 22 sand run with 22 hens. I shouldnt have bought 7 more pullets to add to my 1st flock but i just couldnt help myself. There is a little bit of pecking order going on with my girls too but nothing horrible. Just a feather or two pulled now and then. They have been together for 3 days now and its more peaceful than the first day. Just give them some time. [​IMG]
     
  10. RonB

    RonB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    Woodinville
    JLS

    Your coop and run are about the size of mine. coop is 7 1/2 ft by 9ft. run is the same 8x13. I have 8 pullets and one roo in that space. I don't think I would want to put another five chickens in that space. along side my enclosed run is another pen 12 x14 ft. with not top. I am in the process of putting an electric fence around that.
    But hey what do I know I'm a rookie. got my first egg today and it was broke in two. I think my girl dropped it from the roost! my flock is 18 weeks old
     

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