Bully Chicken Attacking Flock Mate

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shadowfox, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. shadowfox

    shadowfox Songster

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    I've noticed over the past few days that one of my hens (Adele) had bloody spots on her comb. This morning I confirmed that she is being bullied. One of the other hens flew at her and full on attacked her! It was brutal! I am still in shock to see such a mean display. Poor Adele, she seemed so scared!!

    This kind of attack happened two more times while I was outside with them over the course of about 5 minutes. One time a couple other hens joined in too.

    I know it happens, but my hens have previously been pretty good to each other.

    I suspect that it started this week because I haven't been letting them out as early as usual due to being sick. If I start letting them out at their normal time will this stop the issue or do I need to do something more drastic?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Hopefully overcrowding and boredom is causing the problems. If so resuming free ranging should help. The pecking order can be brutal. Good luck.
     
    aart and shadowfox like this.
  3. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Our girls (only five young hens, all raised together ) have always been quite sweet to each other. But when the last of them started laying (a RIR) she got a lot more aggressive.

    At the same time the winter is really socked in here. They get glimpses of coming spring, but often get slammed with snow again (this is happening today) and they get forced to hole up because of bad weather. Their run is a little over 200 sq ft. We've had a couple bad days when three have gone after the lowest on the pecking order repeatedly. It's tough to know when/how much to intervene.

    We are telling ourselves they are just bored and antsy for spring. It seems they are always much better behaved on warmer days when they can stay out in the open and wander into the accessible parts of their attached garden (increases their space to about 300-400 sq ft depending on how much snow is piled on the ground). So we're just trying to keep them engaged on those lousy days. We are hoping as the thaw comes they will go completely back to their sweet selves... in general they've been much more agreeable as the weather has warmed. Good luck!
     
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  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Sometimes they revert to being little velociraptors! This can really become a big problem, so watch and see how things develop. You can separate the nasty bird to a place by herself for a week or two, and see if she drops down the pecking order when she returns to the flock.
    Make sure their diet is adequate; an all-flock feed that's 18% to 20% protein, with separate oyster shell, rather than layer, might be better. And fewer treats.
    Winter or predator avoidance confinement is when you find out if your coop and safe run are actually large enough for your flock!
    Maybe toys, hiding places, tree branches, added to the run, to give them more to do will help.
    I no longer have sex-links or production reds (including hatchery RIRs) in my flock, because they tended to be bullies and feather picking beasts.
    Mary
     
  5. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

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    I agree with separating the mean chicken. My suggestion is also to take the separated chicken out of the line of sight of the other ones. You want them to "Forget" each other.
     
  6. Susan Dye

    Susan Dye Chirping

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    Darn! I just separated my "mean girl" from the rest of the flock tonight, but I don't know how I can get her out of their line of sight. It makes sense though. Will have to rethink how to handle the situation.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    How about having her in a large dog airline crate in your garage? Out of sight of the flock, lonely, and not beating anyone up.
    Mary
     
  8. Susan Dye

    Susan Dye Chirping

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    Well, I don't have a dog crate of any sort, which can be easily remedied, but I also don't have a garage, which is not so easily remedied. But I do appreciate the input:)
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Anyway, out of sight of the flock, if possible.
    Mary
     
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  10. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

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    Got a cardboard box? Break it down, and lean it up against her cage. Doesn't have to be fancy.
    Use Christmas wrapping paper to cover one side.
     
    Susan Dye likes this.

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