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mean hens pulling out feathers

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I've got two red sexlinks just over one year old and I've been trying for around a month now to introdce them to my two new plymouth rock pullets. They are currently in separate coups and runs - it would be so much simpler if they could all live together!!! The red sexlinks are so mean, and I don't mean just by the occaisional peck. They search out, persue and pull chunks of feathers out of these two plymouth rocks. Just so you know, the cook pot is not an option for the red sexlinks - they are my very spoiled pets! The weird thing is, it seems like the red sexlinks think they are doing the right thing by chasing down the plymouths - if i try to corner and pick up a plymouth to get her out of harms way, the red sexlinks will come and 'help' me by chasing and pecking the plymouth.

 

I've read that other people say just to leave them to work it out themselves... but it's the feather pulling that really worries me... the plymouth rocks will end up with no feathers and possibly bleeding. it seems extreme behaviour given that the plymouths are clearly not trying to be dominant - they do their very best to hide away but the red sexlinks quietly sneak up on them and surprise attack them. It might be kind of funny if it wasn't so cruel and followed by the pulling out of beak-fulls of feathers!

 

So far I've tried:

- putting one red sexlink with one plymouth rock (to separate the bullies), no change in behaviour!

- distracting everyone with scraps, treats and fresh hay 

- putting the plymouths where they can be seen but not pecked (nearly 2 weeks like this)

- introducing the sexlinks to the plymouth's 'territory'

- giving them 'play dates' so the plymouths only have to deal with it in short bursts

 

They are introduced in a large run of approx 25 square metres with perches and places to hide away

 

Any suggestions?

post #2 of 8

Obtain some Pin-Less Peepers and affix them to the red sex links until they learn to behave.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 8

Your red sexlinks are actually doing what they should be doing, as the established flock in a 'territory'. Their behavior is perfectly normal, and while it may seem cruel to you, it is essential for a stable flock. They need to work out who is in charge, and that can't happen if you keep intervening. Let them sort it out. And make sure there are multiple food and water stations.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I realise they need to sort it out at some point - but isn't feather pulling a bit extreme and dangerous for the plymouths?

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 


hmmm might be worth a shot! I'm not sure that the feathers are the red sex links ultimate goal - they seem to be in it for the violence rather than eating the feathers. I'll have to see who sells pin less peepers around here

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISA brown hen View Post
 

I realise they need to sort it out at some point - but isn't feather pulling a bit extreme and dangerous for the plymouths?

It seems extreme, but unless they are drawing blood and causing actual, physical harm you need to let them be. A few beak-fulls of feathers missing is hardly going to kill a bird.

post #7 of 8

I can't agree with the part about "letting them sort it out".   I only had 4 to start, they pecked one to the point where I had to put her put of her misery, both legs paralyzed, got one more to replace her, then the biggest one in the batch (an Austalop) was pecked so bad one leg was paralyzed. Vet said it was she wouldn't survive with them.  Now it seems my 2 Buff Orpingtons are pulling out the feathers on my only Laced Wyandotte.  The coop is plenty big for 3 chickens and I let them out for an hour before dusk to free range but I swear one seems to act worse when she has more room.   She is not first in charge but it's clear she wants to be second. It may be peepers for her.

post #8 of 8

Last year I had the same issue.

I contacted the hatchery for info about the red hens being so mean.

I was told that red Chickens can be aggressive with other hens of another colour.

I sold all my red hens and everyone got along great.

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