Boss chickens don't let others off perch, not at all, not ever!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bluebirdlane, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. bluebirdlane

    bluebirdlane Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 24, 2016
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    I am new to chickens and brought home five 4-5 month old pullets on Wednesday evening. I have 2 Cream Legbars, 2 Wyandottes, and 1 Rhodebar. I bought them all from the same place but were not necessarily raised together in the same pen.

    I have them in an 8'6" x 12" pen in my barn, so 100 sq ft for the 5 birds. I don't have an outside run yet but it is bitter cold outside here anyhow.

    Right now the only furniture in the pen is one 5' long sawhorse, 3' high, and a plastic step stool I put to help them get up there (but they don't need it :)

    They have one rubber feed pan with their feed, and one water bucket to drink from.


    We are almost 2 days in, and here's my question. The 2 Cream Legbars will not let the other 3 chickens down to eat, drink, walk around, dust bathe, whatever. Not allowed! They chase the chicken until she hops back on the sawhorse, then they leave her alone.

    On the perch they seem to get along and cuddle together at night.

    If I go in the pen, the 3 will come down and eat and drink while I stand there. The Legbars are a bit afraid of me and won't let me get close, so when I am there the other 3 can eat. The 2 Wyandottes and Rhodebar will let me touch them but the Legbars won't let me near.

    Is this normal? Will it resolve eventually or will the other 3 chickens not get enough to eat and drink?

    I spent all day yesterday and all of this morning in the barn working and I could watch them, they are seriously never able to get down unless I go in, so adding an extra feeder won't help. Or will it? I suppose it's an easy thing to try, but they don't even allow them to walk around, so....

    We will be building nest boxes this weekend and a permanent roost, is there anything I can build that would help give the submissive birds a chance at a life?

    I appreciate all advice!!

    PS - I got my first (blue) egg this morning, from one of the Cream Legbars.

    (post edited to show off egg)


    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  2. animalgrl

    animalgrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2015
    I had the opposite problem - my CLwould not let the other two girls on the roost. She would peck their toes until they got off and slept on the floor. Things you could try: Can you separate the two legbars in a large wire dog crate or area sectioned off with chicken wire so they can see the others but not pick on them. Give the legbars their own feeder and waterer within that pen. Maybe leave them in there for a few days to a week. Maybe that will give the others time to gain some confidence and give everyone time to get used to one another without any bullying. Once everyone seems to be getting along or ignoring each other through the wire, you can remove wire and see how it goes. Also, adding at least one more feeder and waterer might help. It might give the others a chance to eat and drink while the CLs are eating and not as occupied with guarding the floor.
  3. bluebirdlane

    bluebirdlane Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 24, 2016
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    Thanks so much. I also talked to the breeder and she suggested caging the bossiest of the two, but I would have to figure out who that is! They work as a tag team.
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Since you're still in the process of building the infrastructure, how about building a feeding platform at about the level of that saw horse? Years ago, I had a problem of a bully hen not allowing chicks to go into the coop at night, and that's when I learned that to foil bullies, you need to make it so that it's impossible for them to be two places at once. I got busy and cut a new pop hole into the coop so the chicks had an alternate entrance.

    If you have two feeding stations, one on ground level, and the other three feet above ground level, everyone will have a chance to eat in peace.

    It's good you're keeping an eye on them so the victims get enough to eat. Eventually, they'll become used to their new home and their self confidence should return, but you may have the problem again in the future, so two feeding stations are still a good idea.

    I have three Cream Legbars, and am finding out that they do have a bullying streak, however there are lots of breeds worse than they are.

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