Aggressive Hen HELP!!!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vagabond, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. vagabond

    vagabond Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2013
    I know I can't be the first with this problem but I don't know what to do. I have 4 hens, Stella, the oldest and mother of Zoey and Pi, is very sweet and usually gets bullied a little by her own children, she was raised inside for almost a year and now she is in the back yard, I should add these are all pet chickens, Pi was hatched by Stella and has been with her ever since, Zoey, is from the same hatch but was hatched in the incubator and raised inside until she was about half grown. From the first day I put Zoey out she became the dominant one, she never really hurt anyone, they were all just a little scared of her. Its funny because she is my sweetest girl, she loves to cuddle and would sleep with me every night if she could. Anyway, I have a new hen, really a bitty still but size wise almost as big as the others. Polly, is a silkie and was hatched and raised inside, it is a long story but she was the only egg to hatch and it was very traumatic. She is very skittish of everything and has never seen other chicks except for mine. I have been trying for awhile now to introduce her to the outside. The first time Stella saw her she pecked her on the head and then stayed away from her. Pi doesn't really seem to care at all, but Zoey will attack her if she can get to her. Not a simple "I'm the boss" peck, she will jump on top of her and pull her feathers out. Poor Polly is terrified and she is already at a disadvantage because she can't see well at all (not sure if it is her hair or something that happened at birth but she can't judge distance and will peck you to death trying to get a piece of bread out of your hand).

    Sorry for the long backstory but I need some advice on how to make them all get along. They stay in a fenced backyard during the day and at night Stella and Pi have one house that they go in and eat and sleep and Zoey has another, The pen Zoey has is a little bigger and has three nesting boxes and a larger roost area. The original plan was for the three of them to stay together but nobody wanted to stay with Zoey so now the plan is (was) for the new hen to stay with Zoey. We let them all out in the yard every morning and they can go in and out of their pens as they like but Polly is still inside. I don't want to buy or build a third pen for only 4 chickens. What do I do? Please help.
     
  2. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 29, 2012
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    I think we're it me I would do two things. First I would trim the feathers round her face so she can see an attack coming and isn't at such a disadvantage. They will grow back next moult. We keep our silkie trimmed all the time as she can't seem to run in a straight line otherwise.

    Then secondly I would put zoey in the second pen on her own and keep her segregated and away from the other three for a few weeks and just introduce her to the two less aggressive hens with an aim of getting them to all sleep together . A peck on the head is quite normal and is just to let her know her place in the group.

    Once she is established in the little flock in a months time and has had a chance to learn some normal chook behaviour from the other two ( and is able to see her coming ) then I would let zoey out when they are free ranging and see how she goes. Zoey will now be the odd one out not the new hen so hopefully that will tone down her aggressive behaviour.

    Keep an eye on them though to make sure she doesn't do more than a bit of a peck. That is fine and normal chicken behaviour, jumping on her and attacking is not ok.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  3. vagabond

    vagabond Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2013
    Thanks, that sounds like what I need to do, I just hate to pen Zoey up because she is the most human friendly of them all (just hates other chickens) She is used to being the odd one out because Stella and Pi don't have much to do with her. I guess that's why it upsets me so, I was hoping she would have a buddy but she doesn't want one I guess.
     

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