Bullying - one hen dead


6 Years
Apr 21, 2013
North Carolina
Hi - we have had a trying day and could use some advice!!

Our two hens highest in pecking order have been feather-pulling the other five hens over the past couple of weeks. One bird was bleeding so I isolated her in a separate pen with a pet crate. She is now healed.

However, this week we were out of town and a family member stayed at our home to look after the animals. This morning he discovered that our #2 in the pecking order, a large and very healthy hen - and my personal favorite - had been killed in the coop by the bully and/or other hens. (Actually he discovered one hen hiding in an overturned nestbox upstairs in the coop. I assume that one wasn't a participant.) We arrived home this afternoon and I have isolated the bully. The other hens seem much calmer, and I reintroduced the first hen injured. Her re-entry went smoothly.

How long should I keep the bully in isolation? She was one angry bird, trying to figure out how to get out of there and back to the flock. She can see them from across the yard. Should I block the line of sight? Is there anything I can do to prevent this in the future, or is it just one of those things? I feel like maybe if I had been here I might have seen her injury and pulled her out before it became sharks in the water in there... but maybe it happened really fast.

Tonight I was reading that flocks with a rooster have less conflict among hens. Is that true? We don't have one.

Sad day... I will miss my Caramel. She enjoyed being held and having her big fluffy tail smoothed, loved mealworms and kale, and let my kids hold her on their laps. Poor girl.

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I am so sorry for you! Not sure what advice I could offer if any. I too have somewhat of a bully, Louise. She is the meanest of the bunch, doesnt want anything to do with us (other than food), her sisters or the roosters. She tore the comb off one of the other girls once. What I have done with her is to make sure she eats last, hold her alot, and have separated her once overnight. She has calmed down a bit, but still doesnt want to be around anyone. I think its just her personality.

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