Will my hens keep attacking other hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shamn, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. shamn

    shamn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2013
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    I apologize if this a redundant post, but...I started with 7 hens and when they were about 6 months old (mixed NHR and BA), integrated 9 (mixed variety) 3 and 1/2 month old hens with them with no major problems. Typical sorting of the pecking order. My neighbor then gave me 5 Red Sex Link hens and same thing, a little squabbling but no feather loss or blood. I had 3 other hens that are about 3 1/2 months old now. I attempted to integrate them in the same way I did the others, put them in the coop with the big girls at night and in the morning, everything seemed fine. They were bullied a little more but no feather loss that I could see. On the 2nd day (yesterday), the smallest of the 3 new girls was missing. The other two had huddled themselves together into one nesting box. I have a camper-converted-coop and thought maybe the other hen was roosting on one of the axles, which sometimes happens. Today I found her dead under the coop with all the feathers off her head and a hole pecked in her head. Inside the coop, there were blood smears on the waterer and feeder where the culprit(s) had fed. I found dried blood on one of the sex links. I stayed in the coop a while and noticed a few other of the sex links seemed to be pecking and bullying the remaining 2 smaller hens more so. I did remove those two back to the brooding area. So, what should I do? Wait until they get bigger to mix? Get rid of the one hen I know for sure killed the other? I have read comments that Red Sex Links can be bully birds. Anyone's thoughts, opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's a good idea to wait to integrate young pullets to when they are about the same size as the other hens. You have a couple options to try. Pull the bully out and put it in a dog crate and see how the others do with the young pullets. If they seem to accept them with no problems - keep the bully out a couple weeks and then try adding it back in and see if it does better. Or divide your coop and run for a few weeks so the young birds are safe and the older birds can get used to them. You need to understand if, chickens see red on another bird they ALL will peck at it and they are all cannibals. If the other two young birds have any blood showing it must be covered with Blue Kote (purple spray) or something so, it doesn't trigger the other birds to attack.. Good Luck
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Agreed. Mixing different-aged and different-sized birds is often not a good idea. And birds have an instinct to peck red, so you do need to cover the red.

    How much space do your birds have? One of the most common causes of cannibalism is over-crowding.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm also wondering how much space. You're at, what, 20some birds? That's a lot, and they need lots of space just to not get on each other's nerves.
     
  5. shamn

    shamn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Sorry I haven't posted back. I have 20 birds since the one died and the camper is approximatly 8x10-maybe 8x12. They've all established their pecking order now with no further "major" issues. I really believe it's the red sex links, they just seem to be more aggressive than the other birds.
     

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