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Bully Chicken! Any Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MissIvoryB, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. MissIvoryB

    MissIvoryB Just Hatched

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    I started my flock BECAUSE a poor chicken was getting pecked bloody in her original home at my mom's. So, I took her and 2 others home. It's been about 5 months. The wound has healed up, and she's my best layer. So then, I raised 7 more from chicks. Everyone was fine and happy. I let them all roam in my fenced in backyard, and they just got a brand new palace of a coop to call home. But, the last 2 chickens at Mom's were miserable. It was just the 2 of them in a coop full of mice and a small dirt pen outside for a run. They can't run free because my parents have big dogs that love killing chickens. So, I took them. I really hoped the huge open space and being the new bird in the flock would make the mean chicken leave her old victim alone, but it was like they hadn't been apart for a day even! She went right back to pecking her AND yanking feathers out of my younger birds to boot. I've isolated her out of sight of the others. But, how long should I leave her out of the flock? It feels cruel, but not as cruel as unleashing the abused chicken's bully on her again, I'm sure. Is it the right approach? Everyone does have room to run from her, if she's out. Should I just let the pecking order happen? How long do I let her hurt the others before it's too long?
     
  2. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sadly that kind of aggression is often times incurable and the offender needs to be sold or culled. Pecking order and bullying are NOT the same thing. Do not allow bullies to hurt your hens. If segregation does not work then you need to rid yourself of the bad bird. Best wishes.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I'm going to have to agree with @ChickenChaser9 and I don't think I can say it any better.

    Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. MissIvoryB

    MissIvoryB Just Hatched

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    Aug 12, 2016
    Columbus, Indiana
    Thank you for your replies. If it just doesn't work out, they can go back to Mom's. I'll keep the bully separated for the week, and see what happens over the weekend. I know it probably won't make any more difference than the 5 months she was out of the picture, but maybe. This time, she's completely alone. The other hen that was with her at Mom's was her partner in crime. Maybe without her stooge, she'll come around.

    I'd hate to send them both back to Mom for the one's bad behavior. As soon as I put the bully in the penalty box, the sidekick straightened right up like she was best friends with everyone and was sleeping in the coop with the others the first night without a problem.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I would hate to see the partner have to go back as well.

    You can try the penalty box in sight of the rest... like the look but don't touch method. If it doesn't work... maybe consider selling or giving away the offender. Laying birds usually go for around $25 here.

    There are also things called peepers. It clicks into the nostrils and blocks the direct line of sight that might prevent some picking. They can still do it once they've figured out the peepers but it might be worth trying. Also they can still eat and drink with them on.

    I encourage you not to make the (reformed) cohort go back to an unhappy life just because the offender is too dumb to know what's good for it. Your flock deserves to be happy and I know that's what you want for them or you would not have rescued them. It's odd that the term 1 bad apple can ruin the whole bunch is relative to a lot of things in life.

    You will figure it out and decide what is best for you, of course. Just because they "can" go back to your moms' doesn't mean they have to. If the offender goes to a completely new flock where she has to work her way into the ranks.... she might live happily ever after. Just suggestions...

    If you don't mind updating, I would like to see how it works out. I have a flock of 48 and will NOT tolerate bullying outside of the normal pecking order. But we all have different thresh holds.

    Also, there are some people I just don't like. If I HAD to live in the same local I would probably learn how. But chickens don't have the same thought processes or understanding we do. (just thinking out loud now)
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd sell the aggressor.
     
  7. MissIvoryB

    MissIvoryB Just Hatched

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    Columbus, Indiana
    I ordered some of the peepers. Looks like they're worth a try after looking at reviews and videos. She'll hate it, I'm sure, but if it works it'll be worth it. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you again!
     
  8. MissIvoryB

    MissIvoryB Just Hatched

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    Aug 12, 2016
    Columbus, Indiana
    [​IMG]
    Update: I came home today to find clusters of the bullied chicken's feathers around the yard. Either she's standing there letting them pluck her, or they're being yanked out in hunks. So anyway, since the known bully is in The Box, I guess her buddy isn't as innocent as I'd thought. At least now I won't feel so bad sending them both back if it comes to that. The peeper blinders arrive tomorrow. That's their last chance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How old are they? It's prime time of the year for a good hard molt. That often looks like a pillow exploded in the coop [​IMG]
     
  10. MissIvoryB

    MissIvoryB Just Hatched

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    It could be possible. There are big feathers all over the yard from the other birds. The ones I'm seeing are off her back where she used to get pecked. I just attached a pic to my update post as you were replying. Maybe she's pulling them out herself. Is that a possibility? I haven't personally witnessed the suspect chicken peck anyone since her friend got taken away. But, I'm not out watching them much during the work week.
     

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