Bully Hens: I Need Help 😫😫

Flappy Bird

Apr 3, 2022
East Texas
Hello BYCers! 👋🙂

I’m coming to you in this thread with a sticky situation. I hope that this is problem that can be solved and will not result in me losing any of my hens.

The Story: Two of my year-and-a-half-old hens caught the broody bug over a month ago. Being good mothers, they separated themselves from the flock to create a safe environment for their chicks. They appeared to only be aggressive toward me (this was understandable). I then began to realize that the broodies were not too pleased with each other and would often fight when they would see one another. I tried not to worry much because I assumed it was normal.

The chicks grew up rapidly, and at five weeks, the mothers began to wean them. I recognized the small pecks as something that should be expected until the hens became highly aggressive with the chicks. They targeted them and pulled feathers now and then.

As a result of the weaning, the hens rejoined the rest of the flock. I, of course, was looking for any aggression that could be shown toward the ex-broodies because they hadn’t existed within the community for a while. To my great surprise, it wasn’t the ex-broodies being bullied but two of my much-loved hens. The mothers ambush my EE and Sapphire, mounting them and drawing feathers.

There is a lack of peace in the flock, with the girls and chicks screaming because they are constantly being attacked. As stated in the title, I need help. I haven’t the slightest idea of what to do with the aggression. I love my flock, and I want them to co-exist peacefully with each other.

Any advice is appreciated. I give my thanks in advance to everyone for their help.

My apologies for the long post.

- Flappy
Bumping my own thread (a little unusual...) because I’m afraid it’s been lost in all of the other new threads.

I truly mean it when I say that your help is appreciated. Thank you BYC!🙂🙂

- Flappy
Were the broodies and their chicks completely and physically separated from the flock until after weaning?

How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet, for how many birds?
Lots of space, with some 'clutter', can help with aggression issues.

I've seen the some broodies that seem to like their broody fierceness so much that they continue to be aggressive for quite some times after being done with brooding.
If only 'wishing' worked! As @aart mentioned, lots of space, areas to be out of sight, and multiple feeders and waterers all help.
Separate your aggressive hens, individually if possible, so there's peace immediately. Their chicks are doing fine in the flock? That's good.
Pinless peepers might help in this situation, when the 'attack birds' go back with the group. And more time to calm raging hormones? What is your rooster doing about this?
Consider reintroducing one of these hens at a time, not both together.
This exact situation has never happened here, fortunately. And we only allow one broody at a time, maybe that matters?
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Thank you all for the replies!

My family and I have decided it would be best to rehome the ex-broody hens and their chicks. Though I will be sad, I truly believe this is the right thing to do. The chicks were utterly unexpected, and I have a feeling this will not be the last time that the hens will go broody.

I appreciate your advice and hope to be as educated one day.

- Flappy

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