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Bully chicken

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've got 5 hens  and one of them is developing into quite a bully, but really only picking on one hen in particular, maybe two. They are about 1 1/2 yrs old, adopted from a friend, and they all got along quite well until this past month.  The bully hen will go so far as to stop eating snacks just so she can chase the other hen away to make sure she isn't getting any. The victim hen has bald patches all over her head...I'm assuming from pecking because I don't see any evidence of disease, etc. I recently notticed that a second hen is developing bald patches as well. I haven't seen the bully attack her, so I'm drawing a bit of a conclusion on that one. The aggressiveness of the bully hen has been escalating alarmingly. They free range most of the day and quite frankly are spolied rotten, so space and resources are not an issue.

These three hens are all from the same group...the two others are from an earlier batch of chicks and are not invoved at all in this bit of backyard drama.

I stuck the bully hen in a dog crate for a time out, and things couldn't be better in the yard. No pecking, victim hen is happy and not as nervous, and its even significantly quieter in the yard.

But...I need to figure out how to get the bully hen back into the yard.

Am I overreacting? Should I just let them work it out? Should the bully hen be left in chicken jail for a while? If so, how long?  I read on a few posts that keeping the bully out of the population for a while might reset the pecking order, but it's breaking my heart to see her in that cage all alone. I have her in the garage right now....I could put the cage in the coop but I am not sure it its crueler to let her see outside or not. I am worried about her not getting enough light.

I think I need a chicken therapist. Help?sad

post #2 of 6

I think you should keep her in jail a few days without being able to see the others. This way she has to find a new place in the pecking order. Maybe she will stop all this bully business.

Love many trust few... always paddle your own canoe!
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Love many trust few... always paddle your own canoe!
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post #3 of 6

On the other hand, when she goes back out into "general population" it may start all over in her little chicken mind, and she may want to reestablish her top bird status all over again...which is probably why this all started when they moved to your place to begin with...new place, reestablish the "rules" with her underlings...blue kote the bald spots, so hopefully she'll stop pecking the same spots anyway, so they don't start bleeding.  I'd say if she doesn't stop soon, I'd rehome her...it's not fair to the other birds to be getting bullied all the time.



And, welcome-byc

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

they have actually been at my place since last summer, the bullying thing only just started in earnest in the past month. I'm so bummed out abot it as I see how much calmer things are with her not out there

post #5 of 6

Ooooooh, well, I hate to say it, but that doesn't bode well for things working out....  hugs

post #6 of 6

The same thing happened to me a few months ago... I had only three chickens at the time and they were best friends.  Then all of a sudden the top chicken (Pearl) was molting and hurt her leg so another hen (Mabel) decided to step up as top chicken.  They were so mean to Pearl for about two weeks and then they were fine once the new pecking order was established.

Same thing happened when we just added three more hens about three weeks ago- major battle for about 2 weeks and now they are all fine.  I think sometimes the pecking order changes and they just have to reestablish their roles.

I hope some peace is established with your chickens soon!

1 Buff Orpington, 1 RIR, 1 Black Astrolorp, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Americana, 1Barred Rock
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1 Buff Orpington, 1 RIR, 1 Black Astrolorp, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Americana, 1Barred Rock
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