Agressive or normal behavour?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crazy hen quartet, May 3, 2009.

  1. crazy hen quartet

    crazy hen quartet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have five hens who - for the most part - get along nicely.

    There is one hen, a black Aus, who has always been a bit of a bully. She has worked her way up to #2 in the pecking order and picks at everyone but #1. I have had to separate her once and hobble her a few times to keep her from picking, specifically on the runt of the bunch, occasionally she gets downright mean and will spend her day chasing other hens for no apparent reason. I hobble her for a day or two and she calms down.

    Our number one (victoria) is a very gracious leader, she is not aggressive and will watch out for all the girls, especially the runt. perhaps she is just the boss because she is the biggest?

    Today, while they were out free ranging, I noticed the bully fluffing up and going after Victoria. She was puffing her neck feathers up and grabbing Victoria by the comb and pulling her around. Victoria didn't really seem to be defending herself, she would just pull loose, run away and then once she was separated, flap her wings around.

    The other hens seemed very curious about all this activity and would follow the two of them around with their necks craned. Once, the runt even ran up beside Victoria after she got lose and seemed to try to escort her off into the bushes. the bully would aggressively chase after victoria, it wasn't like she was just going after her when she was close.

    Any thoughts as to if I should let this work itself out? Or should I separate/hobble the bully again? It would seem perhaps Wilma (#2 aka bully) is finally trying to jockey for lead in the pecking order. I wonder, if she was #1, would she would calm down or get worse? Hmmm.

    Anyway... any experience in this field is appreciated! I don't know if I should let this go or stop it.

    Thank you!
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My normal motto is if they aren't drawing blood, let them work it out.
    If Wilma is being that aggressive, I think a few days in chickie jail would do her a world of good.
     
  3. undermywings

    undermywings chicken chaser

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    Pecking orders are formed for good reason, the stronger hen leading the weaker ones. But if you have a particularly aggressive hen, separate her for about 3 or 4 days then reintroduce her. If she continues, you can use Stockholm tar on the feathers of the other hens and this will reduce her pecking on them. There may be other products you can use so do your research.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Not sure how old these are but I agree with Gritsar as far as if they are not drawing blood, let them work it out. Sounds like they are adjusting the pecking order. Once they get their growth, size of the bird is less important than the spirit of the bird.

    If Wilma does get to the top of the pecking order and still is a vicious bully to the point you need to constantly interfere, I'd rehome her or stew her, whichever bests suits you. You can try isolating her for a few days them putting her back with the flock, but that might only be a temporary solution. It is worth a try.

    Chickens are not supposed to stress you out. But it is totally up to you how you manage your chickens. Only my personal opinion.
     
  5. crazy hen quartet

    crazy hen quartet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are probably around a year old, I purchased them just before they started laying last September.

    I guess maybe Wilma is just trying to maneuver to head of the flock.. and I'll let it go and see what happens unless it gets really bad. I hope that if she achieves #1 position she will calm down! She acts like everyone is a constant threat and is always after someone. There are two food dishes in the pen - we have one hen that she will go out of her way to chase away from the food dishes, even if she wasn't eating out of them herself. It's like "I don't want it but I don't want you to have it either". [​IMG]

    It's sad to see cause everyone else gets along so great! *sigh*

    Thanks-
     
  6. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Get a rooster. They normally keep the peace between the girls.
     
  7. crazy hen quartet

    crazy hen quartet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can't have a rooster... only hens allowed in the city where I live. [​IMG]
     
  8. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Quote:Bummer. I love watching roos bak up hen spats. Its really cute, and nobody gets hurt.
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Bummer. I love watching roos bak up hen spats. Its really cute, and nobody gets hurt.

    Though my roo has walked away shaking his head a couple times when he's intervened in a girl fight and got kicked in the head for his troubles. [​IMG]
     

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