Aggressive Hen

Blue Bubbles

Chirping
May 18, 2016
15
2
62
Northants, UK
Hi Everyone

We have some serious chicken drama going on.

In June we got 2 ex batts to go with our remaining 2 hens. We did the introductions very slowly. Starting by having them separated but able to see each other, then putting them together for a increasing amounts of time each day until they appeared to be getting the pecking order sorted and then getting along.

About 4 weeks ago we noticed our top hen Pumpkin was being aggressive towards one of the new girls. Honey had barely any feathers and is very submissive. I thought it may have been due to illness so chesked her over and there was no obvious signs of anything and apart from Pumpkin being a meany she was fine.

This behaviour with Pumpkin has continued so we have tried distraction, putting more treats in the garden, several eating and drinking points and extra dust bathing space.. Still no improvement so we took the decision to seperate her just over a week ago. She seemed to have calmed down so we decided to reintroduce her to the flock. She went straight for Marmalade (the other ex batt), who she has not been aggressive to before. At first she chased her away then she went after her, Pumpkin managed to pin her to the ground and had her beak on her come. I intervened as soon as it happened and Marmalade seems fine (no wounds and her behaviour is normal). My partner suggested that we keep Marmalade seperate and out of sight of the other girls. His theory is Pumpkin will completly loose her place in the Pecking order so the other girls might stand a chance at standing up for themselves when we reintroduce them.
My question is are we doing the right thing? I'm worried about Pumpkins mental health with her being completely seperated from the flock. Also is that display of aggression too much and are we at the point of having to have 2 coops for 2 sets of 2?

Advice is very much welcome

Thanks
 

chrissynemetz

Psalm 91 ❤
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Dec 19, 2013
20,250
132,267
1,827
Olathe Colorado
I always separate the aggressor for however long it takes. I've had good success doing it this way. Some hens take a LOT longer than others though, be prepared to put her in 'time out' more than once. So far, it's worked. I've never had to build a separate coop for anybody. :)
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,702
138,795
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I agree that removing the aggressive hen from the group is the best option under the circumstances. One solution that may not be possible for you is to introduce a rooster.
The roosters here tend to keep the peace between the hens; or at least break up the fights.
I think the notion that a hen loses her place in the pecking order if you remove her from the flock is not correct. One only has to consider a broody hen sitting, hatching and raising their chicks which can mean up to three months separated to a greater, or lesser degree from the flock. Here when such a hen introduces her chicks to her group she rejoins the flock at exactly the same position in the hierarchy she was in when she started to sit.
Another thing I've found helps reduce bullying is to keep same breed and preferably related chickens in their own flocks.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom