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Chicken pecking others

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mystang89, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone. I have 5 bantam leghorns and 1 roost. Its more of a ladder. Its 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. It has 3 rungs on it. Yesterday when I went out to the coop at night, just before they roosted down and got comfy I notice my dominate chicken sit there and peck any hen that got near her on the roost. I had to keep smacking a stick on the fence to get her attention so she would leave the others alone and so they could actually get on the roost. One hen was actually on top of the nesting boxes which has a 45 degree top on it. Was almost kinda funny watching her try to keep her balance while trying to sleep. Anyway, my question is this, what can I do to stop the dominate hen from making everyone get off the roost? Also, this dominate hen is the only one that is laying right now and I was wandering if maybe the others weren't laying because of her doing this? I know there are alot of other variables to laying eggs for chickens but provided everything else was ok would this pose a problem to the other hens.
    Second part of the question. I'm sure I can put a second roost in there, *somehow*, and basically give Queeny her own roost to sit on but is that really the answer. If I left out any information you need just let me know and I'll get it. Thanks for the help.
    P.S While I'm at it I might as well as what this behavior means. Sometimes my hens will put a wing down to the ground and, on the same side, raise a leg. Not quiet sure what it means and I'm not even sure if they are doing it to me or someone else.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    People often isolate a bully hen for several days to a week, then reintroduce. This drops them to the lowest point in the pecking order when they are reintroduced. If these were mine, this is what I would try. I don't see any harm in giving them another roost, but it might be good to quiet down your lead hen's bullying behavior, too.

    The wing down thing is something a roo does to tell a hen he wants to mate. If you don't have a roo, this could be the hens using a roo behavior to try to assert dominance over the others. I also wondered if someone has bumblefoot. Just guesses here, quite likely not the only ones.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, by all means isolate the bully for a few days. You could even just place her in a dog crate inside with the others so that she won't become a complete stranger.

    As far as the wing down/leg stretch thing, that's all it is - a stretch. Like when you stretch your limbs. Mine do it all the time, and they aren't displaying aggression since no one else is close when they tend to do it.
     
  4. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as the wing down/leg stretch thing, that's all it is - a stretch.

    [​IMG] Ahh, and here I was hoping they were doing a curtsy for me.
    Thank you for the info. I took them out yesterday night and dusted them with some sevin dust, which they didn't seem to care for all that much so maybe that will bring them together again and make them friends or something. We'll see. I'll watch them tonight and see what she does. Since she's the only one of the 5 laying for me right now, even though they all are old enough, I'm hesitant to do anything to her but this does need to stop.​
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:[​IMG] Ahh, and here I was hoping they were doing a curtsy for me.

    Heck - most chickens probably think WE should be curtsying to THEM...lol [​IMG]
    Is the top of your nest box higher than any of the rungs on your ladder? If so, then that's why someone's opting for it rather than a lower rung when getting pecked - chickens want to be at the highest point possible for roosting (height = safety to them). Try an additional high(est) roost. The one girl could be full of herself since she's the only one laying (maturity), and may be more accepting once the others begin laying...
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  6. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thats a good point, thanks teach. I thought about putting an additional roost in there but I'm just not real sure how. Theres not too much room in there. It's a 4 x 6 x 8 with the nesting area taking up 3 feet by 1.5 feet. Yes, the "roof" of the nesting area is higher than the roost so I will try to make a vertical roost somehow. I just didn't want to put it too close to the nesting area so they didn't associate the nesting area with the roosting area. Cogs are spinning lol.
    EDIT: Well I just made a second roost with a single 2 x 6 in the middle going vertically and 12" 2 x 4's coming off the sides at varying heights. Much like a round robbin. We'll see if that works. I'll stay outside when they go to sleep tonight and see what Queeny decides to do. Plus I'm very interested to see if this roosting idea actually works.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

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