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Why are my hens fighting?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We have a normally very happy chicken coop.  We bought chicks this past April and raised them together.  We have six hens: 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Dominiquer (?), 2 Golden Buffs, and 1 Cochin Bantam.   We also have a Cochin Bantam rooster.  At first, the Cochin Bantam hen was the dominant hen.  Now the other girls have started to fight with her.  They are very aggressive and peck her feathers out.  She's absolutely terrified and won't come down out of the coop. She is very small, she only weighs about a pound.  The other hens are full-sized ranging between 3-5 lbs.  I am worried about her because she is so small.  Will this stop or is it some phase they are going through?  I don't want the other hens to hurt her badly.  I need some advice as I don't know much about chicken behavior.  Thank you!

post #2 of 9

welcome-byc.gif  I'm a little surprised they are not getting along as I've always found that birds raised together tend to bond for life.  I have a couple of tiny bantams in my flock whose place in the pecking order seems to be based on their age more than their size.

 

How much space do they have?  Are they laying yet?  If they are not laying yet, they must be getting close if they were chicks in April, and its possible the start of laying is causing some new pecking order issues, if space is limited or access to nest boxes is limited. 

 

Is there a way you can separate the two Cochin bantams into a smaller coop/pen or tractor of their own, to give them some peace?

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks HeChicken for responding.  The girls having starting laying eggs recently, but, the Bantam cochin hasn't started laying yet.  Maybe that's it.  We do have limited space for laying, maybe I need to make some more nests (we only made two).  They have plenty of room in their cage; it's probably 10' x 30', and we let them free-range sometimes.  I can and will definitely separate the cochins if I have to (they're my favorites!).  I just didn't want to have to do that.  Oh well, chickens will be chickens.  Thanks again!

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEChicken View Post

 

How much space do they have?  Are they laying yet?  If they are not laying yet, they must be getting close if they were chicks in April, and its possible the start of laying is causing some new pecking order issues, if space is limited or access to nest boxes is limited. 

 

 

This was my thought as well. Also take a look at your roosts and make sure there is ample space. Crowded roosts cause bullying issues. Sometimes they will also fight over food so perhaps adding a second feeder and water if you have the space would help them spread out a little.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys so much.  I've been worrying about my little Cochin girl all day.  Now I have some good ideas as to what I need to do to make them all happy again.  Thanks!

post #6 of 9

your chickens might be fighting over food or who is the leader of the flock.my hens fight a lot but i just let them work it out.also why is one of my chickens sitting in her egg box all day???? if you have answers let me know


Edited by Checkers1558 - 6/22/13 at 2:42pm
post #7 of 9

i have a big food dish, my roost in my chicken coop are big, and i have two water feeders. i dont know why my 3 hens are still fighting. the oldest chicken ( checkers) is pecking one of my chickens when it is in the egg box. please help me . i need some answers.

post #8 of 9

I have the same problem, they are all picking on one chick, I feel so sorry for her I brought her in my house, can I ask you what you did about your chick? I"m new at this, I have 16 in their coop, all picking on one, I"m wondering if something is wrong with her. Can you help me?

post #9 of 9

I have the same problem as well. I have have introduced three new hens all different breeds to an already established but still young (3 months) flock. One of the new hens is a Leghorn and has stood up for herself quite well. The other two a Sussex and a Dark Brahma are at the bottom of the pecking order for sure. I am thinking I will build them a small run beside my main one for them to run around without being pecked all the time. Maybe you should consider the same? This will still give them the chance to see each other, but not beat up on them. I will let them roost at night together and free range an hour or two before dark. Hope this helps. 

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