Bullying hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chuckachucka, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen who raised some chicks this summer. They are now four months old and I kept only two, a brown pullet and a brown and white spangled pullet. We ended up selling our cockerel and now only have the mother hen and two pullets. They have a large coop and run and free range at least five or six hours a day now its winter.
    The problem is the mother hen seems to hate the brown pullet! She will chase her away if the brown one even dares to look at her, and if the brown one comes near the mother will bite at her neck feathers, which obviously distresses the pullet. So far there has been no actual blood drawn or injury but I'm worried for that brown pullet. When they go out free ranging, the mother will stay quite close to the coop and the brown pullet wont come back until sunset some days because she is scared to come near the mother hen. What could be the problem here? I've also noticed that the mother hen really complains about going in the coop to sleep at night if the brown pullet is already in there. She will pace outside and make a lot of noise, like she is looking for somewhere else to sleep. Since I have only three chickens and was planning on keeping them, this is quite upsetting. I'm worried I'm going to have to find the brown pullet a new home.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How old are the chicks?
    Sounds like she may be 'weaning' them...perfectly natural.
    How big is your coop?
    Tight quarters can make this process more difficult.
     
  3. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply @aart. If it is normal weaning, how long will the aggressive behaviour from the mother last? Or is this permanent now that she doesn't see them as her babies? She has started doing it with both the pullets now, so its pretty much a war zone in the coop and run now. I have had to divide the coop in two parts so that they can sleep separate.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hard to say how it will play out...especially since the only birds you have are the hen and her now weaned chicks.
    I'd just provide separate roosts and water/feed stations placed as far apart as possible.
    Normally young birds are not treated as flock members until they become sexually mature, then they may start to climb the pecking order.
    It maybe happen sooner as the lone hen might want the companionship.
     
  5. Barbwire54

    Barbwire54 Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like to squeeze into this thread if you guys don't mind since my issue is about aggressive hens. I have a situation where one of my girls got out and went to a neighbors coop and was hanging out there for a couple of days. Since my daughter cares for the hens and didn't mention it, I didn't realize until I went out to increase tbeir pen size. When she was put back into tbe enlarged pen, the hens started jumping on her. So two potential causes, her being away from the flock and tbe tripling of the pen space. What do you think?
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    She's technically a stranger to the flock. They had a very normal reaction to a new bird. Reintroductions need to be done gradually. Chickens are very territorial creatures.
     
  7. Barbwire54

    Barbwire54 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, that was my take on it too.So what do we do as this is the secobd day. We set out a second feed and water station and gave some extra treats as well. Anything else that might help?
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Keep her in a separate enclosure, next to the main coop and run. It can be as simple as some wire fencing and a dog crate for her to sleep in. Give them all a chance to get used to each other. After a few weeks, you can let her back in with the flock.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds.
    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.
     
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  10. Barbwire54

    Barbwire54 Out Of The Brooder

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    I might have to set up a pallet pen for her and use aart's method of placing the feed at the common fence for them to eat together.
    Thanks both!!
     

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