Flock restructuring question

Chick_In_The_Burbs

Songster
9 Years
Jun 26, 2010
3,015
73
246
Western Washington
Hi all.

To start, my flock consists of:

2 Easter Eggers, 3 years old and the top two hens
1 Australorp, 2 years old
1 RIR/Orphington cross, 1 year old
1 bantam Cochin, 1 year old


I just added the Cochin and her flock mate, a bantam brahma about four months ago. The bantam brahma suffered from an accident, possibly a brawl with a big girl, and had to be put down over a month ago. Since then I had seen only moderate pecking order interactions but today I noticed that someone yanked all the feathers off the back of the bantam Cochins head.

I am at a divide as to what to do. Eventually I want a flock of bantams, Norwegian Jaerhons specifically. I suspect the feather puller is either the Top Hen (one of the EEs) or the second from the bottom (Australorp). The EEs are my favorites among the layers. Egg laying doesn't factor into this decision very heavily. I just don't want to have fewer than two layers. Also I am not going to buy started pullets again so if I rehome/sell some gals it would be a while before I had laying age birds to replace them.

So do I try to rehome/sell one or both Suspects or rehome/sell the bantam Cochin? Or is there any advise on how to stop this behavior? I never even see it happen but there should be something...
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,829
10,915
636
western South Dakota
well, it might be the size of your run, or the set up. It is hard to believe, but one more hen can be one too many, and cause problems.

I think it helps to have multiple levels in the run, I have some roosts set up high, a pallet on bricks, a large box that a smaller hen can get behind and out of sight.

But it can be difficult to add a single hen, EVERYONE else know she is knew, and they all get their pecks in.

There is a gizmo, that you stick in the beak, (it does not hurt) so that they can't see to peck feathers.

But sometimes, they just don't like each other, or it maybe a one time deal.

Personally, I would keep the layers and get rid of the bantam, but I like layers and don't like bantams....

Mrs K
 

Chick_In_The_Burbs

Songster
9 Years
Jun 26, 2010
3,015
73
246
Western Washington
The run is 15ft x 8ft. I will try adding some levels but I think Sunny (the EE) just doesn't like her. Velvet, the Australorp, goes through the standard 'I outrank you' motions to make sure she maintains her place in the pecking order. Only Little Red, the RIR/Orphington cross really socializes with the banty. The rest basically ignore her.

I am leaning towards Pidge going. She just doesn't seem happy with this mix and I would probably have to get rid of all the layers except Little Red. :/
 

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