Bulling the Youngest Chicken

jeanpr

In the Brooder
Nov 3, 2018
6
15
31
East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area
We have 5 chickens. One is very old (8 years apx) Two that are 1 year 9 months (Easter Eggers) and two that are 9 months (a Sex Link and Plymouth Rock). We raised the four youngest from chicks.

We introduced the two youngest to the flock gradually when they were 3 months old. All seemed to be well for the first month-6 weeks and then the two Easter Eggers started picking on the youngest chicken, the Sex Link. The bullying behavior has gradually increased to a point when we caught them jumping on her, pecking her head and drawing blood. We separated the two youngest chicks and the three oldest into their own areas. The oldest free ranged in the back yard and the youngest on a large run on the side of the house so she could heal and grow the feathers back.

We have been trying to gradually reintroduce the two youngest, but the bullying has not stopped. One day the youngest jumped the fence to the neighbor's yard. We have separated the oldest ones by confining them to the coop and letting the younger ones free range for a few days. However, as we try to let them all free range again, as soon as the youngest goes for food and grabs a treat one of the Easter Eggers will jump on her and the two other oldest will pile on.

The five started out in a large coop that is built for 8. One morning when I went to open the coop, I found the youngest pinned in the corner with the Easter Eggers on top of her and pecking at her. Currently, we have the two youngest sleeping in the old coop and the three oldest in the new, larger coop.

Nothing seems to stop the oldest from jumping on her and the others piling on. We are at our wits end. We love our girls, but my husband is ready to give away the Easter Eggers. I want to keep trying. Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
 

alexa009

Crossing the Road
Apr 6, 2017
4,183
18,339
907
Texas
My Coop
My Coop
If they are drawing blood from the sex link then keep them separated immediately before any worse damage is done. Once blood is drawn, the habit of pecking will rapidly increase because chickens will peck at the color red. I would rehome the easter eggers if it was my decision since it will prevent you adding and integrating into your flock into the future. Culling is also an option. Some chickens just don't accept certain flock members and it doesn't seem as if they are bothering the plymouth rock at all who is supposedly the same age as the sex link. As long as the easter eggers or sex link is removed, separated or culled from the flock (which ever you prefer) then there will peace.
Good luck!
 

9SpiceyChickens

Crowing
Jul 24, 2018
987
8,787
492
In the coop, Northern CA
If they are drawing blood from the sex link then keep them separated immediately before any worse damage is done. Once blood is drawn, the habit of pecking will rapidly increase because chickens will peck at the color red. I would rehome the easter eggers if it was my decision since it will prevent you adding and integrating into your flock into the future. Culling is also an option. Some chickens just don't accept certain flock members and it doesn't seem as if they are bothering the plymouth rock at all who is supposedly the same age as the sex link. As long as the easter eggers or sex link is removed, separated or culled from the flock (which ever you prefer) then there will peace.
Good luck!

Your right, but did you know culling just means removing from your flock? Cull=Get away from flock, not kill :)
 

jeanpr

In the Brooder
Nov 3, 2018
6
15
31
East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area
If they are drawing blood from the sex link then keep them separated immediately before any worse damage is done. Once blood is drawn, the habit of pecking will rapidly increase because chickens will peck at the color red. I would rehome the easter eggers if it was my decision since it will prevent you adding and integrating into your flock into the future. Culling is also an option. Some chickens just don't accept certain flock members and it doesn't seem as if they are bothering the plymouth rock at all who is supposedly the same age as the sex link. As long as the easter eggers or sex link is removed, separated or culled from the flock (which ever you prefer) then there will peace.
Good luck!

I hate the thought of re-homing our Easter Eggers. They were such sweet birds. It's as though they go psycho as soon as they see the Sex Link with food.

But you are correct - the Easter Eggers do not pick on the Plymouth Rock, just the Sex Link. Since we raised them from chicks we know their age. The Sex Link was hatched four days after the Plymouth Rock.

My husband is backing down and trying to thinking of a way we can permanently separate the Easter Eggers from the other three chickens. It's not optimal, but we may have no other choice.
 

alexa009

Crossing the Road
Apr 6, 2017
4,183
18,339
907
Texas
My Coop
My Coop
I hate the thought of re-homing our Easter Eggers. They were such sweet birds. It's as though they go psycho as soon as they see the Sex Link with food.

But you are correct - the Easter Eggers do not pick on the Plymouth Rock, just the Sex Link. Since we raised them from chicks we know their age. The Sex Link was hatched four days after the Plymouth Rock.

My husband is backing down and trying to thinking of a way we can permanently separate the Easter Eggers from the other three chickens. It's not optimal, but we may have no other choice.
I have two separate pens since some of the chickens in my flock don't get along such as with my rooster i.e. He hatched a year later than the older hens and when trying to integrate him in the flock he was attacked and chased by them. He is about a year old and he does great with 3 week old chicks so I keep all of the young easter eggers with him. There is always other options except for rehoming. Removing one of the bossy chickens in the flock temporarily for about a week and reintroducing her into the flock will cause the rest of the flock members not to recognize her and turn their attention to the bossy one instead and she might even fall down in the pecking order. If that doesn't work out, you can keep the red sex link separated from the bullies. Sometimes the pecking order dies down and problems start to gradually work out with the rest of the flock. Chickens can usually be more aggressive at this age than any other when they are getting the pecking order established. Hopefully you can get this problem solved so that there is peace in your flock.
Goodluck!
 

jeanpr

In the Brooder
Nov 3, 2018
6
15
31
East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area
What is the size of your set up? They are probably too crowded which causes aggressive behaviors.

They have our full back yard (50' x 30') and side yard to free range. Our community requires a permit for 5 chickens and the inspector said that there was plenty of room for them.

We would never be irresponsible and have too many chickens for our yard.
 

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