Bully hens picking on my littlest girl.


10 Years
Apr 26, 2009
Ramsey, MN
I have a small Buff Orphington, Penny. She is so nice, but she is the runt of our 5 hen backyard flock and she tends to get picked on by the others. The last few days I noticed she has feathers missing on the top of her wings, about the size of a nickel, (right where a shoulderblade would be) and it looks increasingly red and now is looking raw and a little bloody. Tonight, I finally caught the the others picking on her and pecking at the raw area on her wings. Poor little Penny. She has endured so much bullying in her little life.

What should I do? Are they attracted to the raw-ness of her wings? I wondered if I should separate her until her feathers heal and she isn't so vulnerable. they don't seem to be picking at her during the day when they are in their yard, but after they went into the coop tonight they were picking on her and she couldn't get away from them. I have to have a light on for them right now for a couple hours, so when they go to the coop in the evening they don't just go to sleep. They are up until the lights shut off at 10:00. (timer)

On another note, I had a different hen go broody in July and it lasted about 1 month and a half. Obviously she stayed on the nest nearly around the clock unless I forced her off the nest to eat and drink, and of course she slept on the nest every night. Now that she is done with her broodiness, she still wants to sleep in the nestbox at night. Not that I really mind, but she poops in the nest during the night which makes a nasty place for eggs to be laid the next day. They hay in the nest is always poopy now and I am forever cleaning it out. How do I break her from sleeping in the nestbox? For now I blocked it off with a piece of cardboard which I will have to remove every morning and replace every night.

I love the great feedback from this forum. It is nice to have a place to talk about my chickens without people rolling their eyes. No one I know gets it.

Thanks in advance.
Yes, they're attracted to the rawness, i think, just because it looks different. There's a wonderful product called "wound-kote" or "blue-kote" that you can spray on them on the wound area. It will paint her purple/blue wherever you spray it, but it's also an antiseptic, and it helps camouflage her "interesting to pick on" area and discourage more pecking.

I striped my orpingtons' necks and tails when they were getting picked on by the other girls, and it worked great!

Mesa is right. Remove Penny immediately. You might give her a small stuffed animal to keep her company and comfort her since she is so young. My gals pecked one of my golden laced Polish to death (my GLP have not done well in my flock). This was quite painful and sobering for me.

I had a terrible problem with aggressive pecking. Over half my gals had bald patches on their backs and were missing tail feathers. I constantly had at least one in isolation. I changed to a higher protein feed (20%) and added black oil sunflower seeds. After about 3 weeks the gals are regrowing their feathers!

Pecking can also be a sign of overcrowding. How much space do they have?

I'm not sure how to keep her out of the nest other then going in there every night after lights out and putting her on the roost. She'll probably figure it out after a few nights.

I switched to pine shaving in the nest box. The nasties are easy to clean out and the shavings seem to absorb some of the gunk so the eggs don't get so gross if somebody lays before I get there in the morning. One of my first hens had the tips of both wings removed (was like that when I got her) so she has a hard time getting onto the roosts and always sleeps in one of the nest boxes.

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