Bullying or normal pecking order?

SpaceLamb

Songster
Mar 6, 2019
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Houston, Texas
So yesterday some things changed within our small flock. We only have five chickens and up until now, our big light Brahma has been in charge. Yesterday though our EE took over. Nothing serious, a little chest-bumping and some pulled feathers and then they were back to normal. Today though when they got let out of their coop our EE immediately chased the Brahma back inside and wouldn't let her get to the feeder. Obviously the first thing we're going to do is get another feeder in their run so that they won't have to be right next to each other.

My question I guess is whether this is normal pecking order stuff or if our EE is being a bully.

She's always been a little mean, running up and pecking chickens we had in our laps but never to the point of chasing them around and pulling feathers. Is this a temporary thing where our EE is just trying to establish her new position? We're new to chickens and while I've tried to read other threads I'd love some input on our specific situation.
 

DobieLover

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So yesterday some things changed within our small flock. We only have five chickens and up until now, our big light Brahma has been in charge. Yesterday though our EE took over. Nothing serious, a little chest-bumping and some pulled feathers and then they were back to normal. Today though when they got let out of their coop our EE immediately chased the Brahma back inside and wouldn't let her get to the feeder. Obviously the first thing we're going to do is get another feeder in their run so that they won't have to be right next to each other.

My question I guess is whether this is normal pecking order stuff or if our EE is being a bully.

She's always been a little mean, running up and pecking chickens we had in our laps but never to the point of chasing them around and pulling feathers. Is this a temporary thing where our EE is just trying to establish her new position? We're new to chickens and while I've tried to read other threads I'd love some input on our specific situation.
Normal pecking order. Some head pullets/hens are more aggressive than others. Offering ample feeding space, and space in general, will help keep the peace.
 

ValerieJ

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I think it's just normal pecking order behavior. It's not my favorite thing about raising chickens, to be sure. The second feeder is your solution. If she gets too bossy, or it looks like she might hurt a chicken, you can try separating her for a week in a "see, but don't touch" situation. That will sometimes break them of it, or so I've heard. I don't do that myself. I let them work it out. If I have a chicken who actually wounds another chicken, as in draws blood, that aggressive chicken ends up in the soup pot. I have only had to do this with a couple cockerels in 4 years. My pullets and hens have never gotten that bad. Good luck and keep us posted on the progress.
 

SpaceLamb

Songster
Mar 6, 2019
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Houston, Texas
Normal pecking order. Some head pullets/hens are more aggressive than others. Offering ample feeding space, and space in general, will help keep the peace.
They have 40 sqft in the coop and 120sqft in the run so for just the five of them I think they have enough space. Going to get another feeder and waterer and see if that fixes the issues. Thanks for the response!
 

DobieLover

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They have 40 sqft in the coop and 120sqft in the run so for just the five of them I think they have enough space. Going to get another feeder and waterer and see if that fixes the issues. Thanks for the response!
Do you have perches in the run and litter to scratch through?
 

SpaceLamb

Songster
Mar 6, 2019
64
124
101
Houston, Texas
I think it's just normal pecking order behavior. It's not my favorite thing about raising chickens, to be sure. The second feeder is your solution. If she gets too bossy, or it looks like she might hurt a chicken, you can try separating her for a week in a "see, but don't touch" situation. That will sometimes break them of it, or so I've heard. I don't do that myself. I let them work it out. If I have a chicken who actually wounds another chicken, as in draws blood, that aggressive chicken ends up in the soup pot. I have only had to do this with a couple cockerels in 4 years. My pullets and hens have never gotten that bad. Good luck and keep us posted on the progress.
She went into chicken jail (a dog crate inside their run) this morning so that the Brahma had a chance to eat but has already been put back and they haven't had any issues. I'm thinking with time, once the EE has like established her place, things will calm down.
 

DobieLover

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They have a few tree stumps as well as a ladder and six-foot-long perch to jump up on. We also pile up straw in one corner of the run for them to scratch through. They also get about an hour of free-range time every evening.
I think they'll work things out on their own. Just keep an eye out for excessive pecking.
 

SpaceLamb

Songster
Mar 6, 2019
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Houston, Texas
I think they'll work things out on their own. Just keep an eye out for excessive pecking.
That's what I'm thinking too. They've already calmed down today, it was just the food that was the issue so with another feeder hopefully that won't be a problem. Thanks so much for the help, I probably overreacted but they're more pets than anything so I was worried that it would become a bigger issue.
 

DobieLover

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That's what I'm thinking too. They've already calmed down today, it was just the food that was the issue so with another feeder hopefully that won't be a problem. Thanks so much for the help, I probably overreacted but they're more pets than anything so I was worried that it would become a bigger issue.
I understand completely! Good luck with them.
 

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