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chicken bullying

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Away at camp this summer, we went to a flea market and my friend and I bought two beautiful Barred Rock laying hens.  I kept them at camp for about a month and I brought them home.  So I've had them for about two months, and I decided to get two more chickens.  I decided to get older chickens so my current Barred Rocks and my cat wouldn't bully the chicks.  I got a Silver Laced Wyandotte and a White Rock (at least that's what the guy told me).  Both were about the age to just start laying.  The Wyandotte immediately became part of the group and now roams the yard with my Barred Rocks, but all three of them pick on the White Rock.  It isn't vicious bullying, but if she's too close to them they chase her away and peck at her.  Sometimes they go out of their way to chase her when she isn't even nearby.

I knew that bullying was a possibility when getting new chickens, but I've started to worry because I haven't seen her eat.  She wouldn't eat out of my hand either while I held her or when I put food infront of her on the ground. (I'm not sure if it's the food, I'm feeding them crumbles). I have to put her in the coop with the others at night, and I have to take her out in the morning.  Other than that, she just roams the yard hiding in bushes separated from the other girls.  I feel really bad for her, but I don't know what to do.  I don't know whether I should wait and let them establish their pecking order or not because I'm afraid it may kill her.

Since this morning, she's been limping a little and having a hard time jumping (which the hens need to do to get out of the run and into the free range of my backyard).  Now she's just standing still wherever I put her.  I'll hold her for a little while to check on her.  Then I'll set her down somewhere, and an hour later she'll still be in the same spot.  I'm getting really worried, please help!

 
post #2 of 5

im so sorry poor lil girl.. i wish i had an answer for you but im in the same boat with 1 of my hens. i hope it gets better for her & you both. let me know if you find anything that works

post #3 of 5

I'm not really a big help either, with advice, but I can tell you we've got a barred rock roo who's a real bully to the other chickens.  He's around 18 weeks and there are 8 other chickens that age.  The rest are around 14 weeks.  He will stand in the door of the coop at night and let the other chickens his age in.  The other chickens he chases away, pulls tail feathers, etc.  I am pretty sure we're going to have to get rid of him, which will be hard since he's my 6 year old's chicken.  We're taking the 6 year old to the next Chickenstock at TSC to hopefully allow him to choose a hen.  Good luck to you!  The bullying stinks!

post #4 of 5

Give pinless peepers a shot.

 

We've got a BR with a bad attitude as well.  She was constantly singling out our BA and puttin' the whoopin' on her, badly.  We quarantined her and reset the pecking order twice.  Both times, she eventually went back to doing exactly what she had been doing.  We were one peck away from culling her for the dinner table, but we tried the peepers and they worked.

 

We had her in them for two weeks and several of the others did peck at her for her weird wear, but nothing serious.  Eventually they left her alone and she wasn't so keen on kicking anyone's butt any more.  So we took them off and while she still pecks the BA now and again, it's on par with normal pecking order behavior and not murderous rage-kill psycho any more.  She's also NOT top hen any more.  That position goes to our DOM and her cohort, our wellie; either of them can and will whip the BR, even though both are smaller than the BR...especially the DOM!
 

post #5 of 5

Barred rocks are active foragers and can be intolerant of others in their space. They need a lot of room or can be the bullies of the flock. But, since the BRs accepted one, but not the other new hen, I suspect that the outcast has a health issue that exacerbates the situation. I'd separate her for a day and see if she is eating and pooping. See this FAQ: http://hencam.com/faq/diagnosing-a-sick-chicken/

If she's fine, then you might find some ideas here for integrating the group:

http://hencam.com/faq/introducing-new-hens/

Terry Golson

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Terry Golson

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