Eldest hen being bullied. How do I stop it?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mari1, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Mari1

    Mari1 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 18, 2013
    My eldest hen is a barred rock (Betty). She is very large and different looking from the rest of the flock, whom are all red Rhode island and others are dark brown with blue feet and black-tipped feathers (not sure their breed exactly, they were a gift). For a very long time she was top of the pecking order but that has changed recently, badly.

    My rooster is a red rhode island and is now the largest of the flock and recently figured out how to do his job. He is a very good rooster, very tame, kind, and endearing.

    However, I've caught him too many times chasing after Betty and yanking out her neck and head feathers. I've seen him trying to "court" her (dropping his head and one of his wings and trying to dance around her in a circle) and she simply rejects him, running off, and that's when the chase begins. He tries to jump on her and mate her i think, but only ends up pulling out her feathers ): She is also no longer laying eggs but I believe that's because she's around 4 years old.

    I believe the other hens are bullying her as well as I've found many of her feathers scattered around the coop, and her big beautiful tail is now gone. I've separated them, putting her alone in the old coop where she grew up and feeding her very well. When it got cold, I took the rooster's sister (who is very passive and doesn't seem to have any interest in the pecking order) so she has someone to snuggle with at night. They get along fine and Betty seems to be doing much better.

    Still, I let my chickens free range often, and as soon as the rooster sees her he goes after her. He sees her all day every day as the new and old coop are next to each other, so she's never been a stranger. She was full grown and laying eggs and in the same coop as her when he was just a chick.

    I'm wondering how I can fix this. There's a lot of sentimental value for Betty and it hurts me to see that my sweet roo is being mean and singling her out. =\ I don't want to get rid of my roo either because imo he's a very good roo. He sounds alarms when there's a strange dog about, finds food and fetches flowers out of reach for his girls, it's obvious he loves them.

    I believe another problem may be due to this other small bantam Rooster i obtained as a gift recently (my avatar pic). He's in his own pen, though he does crow and my roo runs around his enclosure.

    Is there a way i can get my rooster and the select few hens to stop bulling Betty?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It's time for the rooster to be at the top of the pecking order. Until 'Betty' accepts that fact (and maybe after) he will attempt to subdue her. Sadly, chicken society is not very kind. Frequently deposed 'top of the pecking order' birds never regain stature. Good luck.

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