Bullying

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by clucknbell, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. clucknbell

    clucknbell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2014
    Ohio
    My problem: The hens (the RIR are the culprits 75% of the time) are bullying two of my hens until they hunch in submission. My one Dom has taken to roosting on top of the treats I have piled on top of the nest boxes and my Buckeye walks around with her wings over her back hiding her bald spots- both are pretty miserable. Almost all have come out of molt and are laying again (6 of 9 are laying). Any coop management skills I'm overlooking to keep them out of trouble? I can't separate that much because my other smaller coop is currently housing an aggressive RIR rooster that is headed to my dinner table in the next few weeks. I don't want to cull laying hens as this greatly affects the charity I work with(see egg demand below). Any ideas great appreciated. I love my chickens and not just for the eggs, so seeing any of them miserable is hard to watch.

    My flock: Current- 3 RIR, 4 Doms, 1 EE, 1 Buckeye; Early summer additions- 1 Buckeye, 2 EE, 1 Lavender Orpington, 2 German Spitzhauben, 2 Hatchery Picks (Meyer Meal Makers). I am committed to working with rare and heritage breeds if you can't tell by my list.

    My setup: Hens are fed high quality layer feed, treats (even have one or two treat containers hanging down) including meal worms, handfuls of scratch in the evening, and have boredom buster balls. I have areas for additional grit and oyster shells as well. They have their own log swing for outdoor roosting and free access to their outdoor run for 16 hrs a day. See my profile for coop pics for ideas on size.

    My egg demand: A portion of their eggs are going to a charity group that helps homeless women and children get back on their feet. Any cull for a laying hen will greatly affect not just me, but them. Currently my hens will lay 144 eggs a month on average (once all 9 are in lay the number is 216). My hobby farm and hens are committed to 4 homeless families and need to provide a min of 72 eggs a month. In addition, they must also produce apprx 24 eggs for my family's consumption and a min 48 eggs to sell cover basic feed costs. When all 9 hens are laying I usually end up with a surplus of around 4-6 dozen a month, which are generally sold to one of my customers who likes to buy eggs in bulk for her family of 8. With only 6 hens currently laying, I can't afford to cull any of them until my new batch of early summer chicks go into lay in the fall/early winter (if at all). I'm adding to allow more flexibility in the egg demand, but this takes time and my girls are always hard at work. Customer sources are not my issue- meeting demand every month can be tricky and sometimes my family's eggs get shorted to help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  2. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    If you can build a separate run for the mean hens then do so and put them in there away from everyone else. That might break them of the habit as they end up loosing their spot in the pecking order and have to fight to reclaim it. Do not take the battered hens out of the flock. I made the mistake of taking our battered SLW out of the flock and bringing her in the house for a several weeks so she could get some feathers back and it has taken her months just to get to where she can stand up for herself around the others.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  3. MamaRudey

    MamaRudey Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have always found RIRs to be mean as s**t. If you can't cull I would seperate at the least.
     
  4. MamaRudey

    MamaRudey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Maybe toss them in with your stew pot roo. And send him to dinner this weekend when you will have some extra time?
     
  5. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    I know that's the truth! We had two of them, one died from something or other right after we got her back from my grandmother and the other was so mean to all the other hens that our rooster finally ran her off. The flock is much more docile now.
     
    1 person likes this.

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