Flock Problems


In the Brooder
Feb 7, 2017
I need help with some flock problems. My dominant hen is a bully!! She beats up any chicken that gets in her way. I need a hen that will act like a rooster. I have a tiny chicken and a chicken bigger than my dominant hen, but the bigger chicken, an Orpington, is too sweet to show my dominant hen who is boss. I need a hen that plays the role of a rooster, but doesn't beat up the other chickens. I need my dominant hen to not be dominant hen. My littlest hen is getting stressed out because she is singled out and picked on the most. She also has BumbleFoot in one foot and is recovering from the other surgery. I have tried separating my dominant hen, but she comes back in as boss no matter what. PLEASE HELP!!
How big is your setup? Aggressive behaviors are often from chickens being crowded and there not being enough room for them to get away from each other. I have observed a distance of 5-10 feet as being the distance the submissive members need to stay away and not get pecked. There's always a top and bottom bird. Your job is to give place where bottom birds can get away from top birds.
Sometimes in a small flock you will get a bird that is not working in that set up. She makes the flock unhappy, and she will make you unhappy. If you have enough space, if you have some hideouts, then I think you are to the point that wishing they would all get along, is not working. Cull the bird. I always cull for the success of the flock. Either the bully or the victim needs to go. One of them is not working in the set up. Selling a laying hen is generally very easy, and she might do just fine in a bigger flock.
Size of your setup (coop and run) and number of chickens would be useful information. If it were just that head hen beating up on the one that's injured, I'd say that sometimes chickens will attack weak or injure chickens. It's a flock survival instinct, weak or injured chickens attract predators. But you say she attacks any chicken, not just the injured one. That may explain why she's picked on the most, but that's not the only one being picked on.

I agree with Mrs. K, when one chicken is disrupting the peace and harmony of my flock, I remove that chicken from the flock, male or female, dominant or weak. Cull does not mean you have to kill the bird, permanently locking it in isolation or relocating somewhere else are also options.

Size has pretty much nothing to do with which one is dominant. It's the personality of the individual chicken that determines that. Plenty of times a bantam will dominate a flock that contains full sized fowl. You are seeing that with your chickens, the bigger one is not the dominant one.
I really don't want to give her away though. That's the issue. I have three chickens and I think the run is 12 feet long. I had the idea that maybe we could make another little home for the mean chicken and she can live there, but see the other two. We might make a little door between the run and her little home. Does anyone think this would work?? Thanks so much for your responses!!
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