Advice for a having a bullied hen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kichimiangra, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. kichimiangra

    kichimiangra New Egg

    Jan 23, 2017
    One of my hens is being chased around relentlessly. A few weeks ago one of my hens passed away and since then one of the other hens has become a victim of bullying. She is an extremely docile, very large in size, almost 3 year old Rhode island red.

    She's not not getting pecked too bad (that's not to say there isnt plenty of pecking happenning and she is prone to having blood feathers bleeding has occurred)

    The problem is she is being chased around mercilessly since her sister died by the other hens, they don't let her leave the hen house and even then they take turns running in there and chasing her around and off of the feeders. I dont think there's a food shortage as there are plenty of feeders and waterers for the amount of birds i have.

    I had to bring her inside my house for 2 days simply because she was hungry and dehydrated and she did nothing but eat and drink. We put up a separator in the run (we have 2 joined coop/runs) and i put her in the small coop with 2 of the most docile birds other than herself only to find today that even THOSE TWO are chasing her back into the small coop now. Which wouldnt be as bad if the birds werent chasing her off of the food and water INSIDE the coop as well.

    I need to brainstorm something to do about this because I really dont want anything to happen to her...
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Once a hen begins to act odd and frightened other birds will start attacking her just because. You lost a bird which messed up the pecking which is probably being reestablished. Your frightened hen is probably bottom bird. I have a horse tank in my shed where bottom birds will go in to hide and I can feed them there, also I have an elevated area where I can feed them also.

    You may just need to separate her out within the coop and leave her separately for a few weeks until the others calm down and she can build up some confidence. You could allow occasional supervised outing for her to see how it goes. Your flock just needs some time to cool off.
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    OHLD has given you good advice here.

    Might be good to know more about:
    -your flock (numbers, ages, genders)
    -your coops and runs (sizes in feet by feet)
    -what and how exactly you are feeding them

    Blood feathers, or pin feathers, indicates she may be molting.
    Molting birds often 'don't feel well' and can isolate, be easier to pick on,
    and those blood feathers are tasty especially if birds are deficient in protein in general and also animal protein.
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    First of all, your instincts are very good, and you are already doing the best thing for this timid individual.

    Old hen has provided further good advice. Your bullied hen needs time to get her mojo back. A vacation. Time away from the constant stress of trying to outrun the bullies. Time to recover her self confidence.

    I had such a hen some years back. Joycie was a Buff Brahma and was very timid by temperament, like your girl. I have a partitioned run and in one of these partitioned spaces, I am able to isolate an individual that may be causing problems for others in the flock or may be a victim of bullying. The beauty of having a space such as this is that the individual is still present in the flock and doesn't disappear only to reappear a few weeks later as a stranger, necessitating re-integration.

    I took Joycie out of the coop each morning and she would spend the day in the "jail" with her own food and water. When evening came, I returned her to the coop to roost with the others. Joycie spent about three weeks in jail, recovering her self esteem, and getting a good rest. When I let her back with the others, she was changed. She began standing up for herself against bullies, and refused to back down when challenged. In no time at all, the flock adjusted to the "new" Joycie.

    I was new on BYC when this occurred. I started a thread and asked the old timers at the time if this was possible - that a timid hen could go through such a drastic change. They said certainly.

    So continue what you've started. Your timid girl just needs some time out. By the way, if she's laying, a dog crate with some straw or shredded newspaper makes a good temporary laying nest if you have a pen for her to spend her days in.
    2 people like this.

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