What IS typical bossy hen behavior??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by harewizard, May 10, 2009.

  1. harewizard

    harewizard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 5, 2009
    Maryland
    I know...I know... Nothing is typical in the poultry world![​IMG]

    I picked up 3 laying hens( 1 RIR, 2 Red Sexlinks)yesterday (from a fellow BYC member)[​IMG] to add to my very small flock of 2 leghorns.

    "Bertha", one of the Sexlinks, is definitely TOP HEN of the flock. Her behavior is one of a mystery to me. (I'm a newbie)

    No other hens can be within 3 feet of her space . She will go after them and peck them in the head or back.

    The RIR and other Sexlink, integrated beautifully with the 2 leghorns. I did notice that Bertha was bossy with the 2 that came with her.

    I have Bertha in a cage, by herself, next to the run with the other girls. They did sleep in the coop last night together. This morning, I let them out and for 5 minutes, all was good. Then Bertha started her charging and pecking. The poor girls won't look at her, and hide in the corner.[​IMG]

    I realize there is a pecking order. And it seems the 4 other hens know that Bertha is Top Girl... I just think this may be a bit of aggression, rather than normal bossy behavior.

    What do you think? any suggestions?
    Lisa
     
  2. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    First of all, for biosecurity reasons, you should have quarantined the new birds AWAY from your flock for at least 2 weeks if not 30 days.

    However, what you are describing is typical pecking order behavior. It should settle down in the next few days. I brought home a trio of Cochins, and one pullet would not allow the other to stand on the same floor, much less be near the other birds. The lesser pullet stood on top the waterer for days. However within 4 to 5 days after bringing them home, they are now eating and laying together harmoniously.

    IF you are insistent in merging them without a quarantine period, you may try taking all the birds out to an unfamiliar area for a day or two. By putting them in an area that NONE of them know, they have to restablish the order without territorial rights. This method has worked for me in the past.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  3. harewizard

    harewizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    214
    3
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    Apr 5, 2009
    Maryland
    Thank you for your advice and info. I honestly had no idea about quarantining new hens when integrating them into an established flock. [​IMG]

    I did some searching on the boards about quarantine and am rather embarrased now that I posted my question. I'm also surprised this info wasn't shared to me, but maybe they were also unaware.

    The 2 new hens have been with the Sexlinks for about 16 hours. Is it too late to separate them now?



    [​IMG]
     
  4. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

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