Can A Mean Hen Be Reformed?


11 Years
Mar 7, 2010
We have six chickens of all different breeds and the Silver Laced Wyandotte has been the number one hen (we don't have a rooster) almost from the beginning. The hens are now 10 weeks old and she has been displaying such nasty pecking and attacking behavior that I'm starting to wonder if we have to re-home her. She appears to randomly choose a bird, then runs up and delivers one or two very hard pecks (going by the reaction of the peckee, it must hurt). The other day she did this and pulled two feathers out of the poor victim at the same time. They aren't overcrowded (6 chickens in an 8X6X4 coop with a 12X18 foot run, plus yard time) so I don't understand why her behavior is suddenly so aggressive. Do hens like this ever go back to their own friendly nature or is it likely this bird needs to find a new flock?
Its all part of her establishement of and reinforcing of her position in the pecking order. Removing her for a week or so may lower her position, but be prepared for some scuffling when you reintroduce her. She will probably always have a dominant type personality.
SLW's seem to have aggressive tendencys. I got some hens from another member here a while back, one of them was a SLW. Though she was 2/3 the size of most of the rest of my flock she was a MEAN little bird and relentlessly picked on everyone (including the big bruiser barred rock hen we call "Brunhilda") she was a beautiful bird, but I must say there was a slight sense of relief when she was one of the hens I lost due to a fowl cholera episode we where forced to deal with. I currently have a gold laced wyndotte, she is a bit on the mean / aggressive side as well, she keeps a little bald spot above the comb and on the butts of several of my hens, but no where near as bad as that slw.
I had one like that and she was one of my early canning experiences. I did try to separate her and when I put her back she just about killed another hen in a matter of about 20 minutes. That was it. She found a new home in a jar. I know that sometimes they get over that when you put them into a pen with several roos and let them beat up on her for a while, but since you don't have any roos, you can't try that.
I know exactly how you feel. It takes a lot of effort on my part to not punt them when I see one of them picking on the others, must be some sort of paternal instinct or something.

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