Four hens, three always together, one hangs back?


Jun 14, 2022
Truth or Consequences, NM (high desert)
My Coop
My Coop
My four Black Australorps are all 16 weeks old, and since they've been outside, either in their coop or free-ranging, they are usually in a 3-1 configuration. Three will be rooting around for bugs, laying together, walking in a bunch, and the fourth hen is usually behind them, sitting on the arm or back of a patio chair above them, pecking the dirt a bit away from the others, etc. I haven't seen any meanness and it doesn't look like the three are ignoring the fourth or picking on her. More like the fourth has made a decision to be a loner, although she is always nearby the rest. Any opinions on this behavior? I don't know whether to feel sorry for the loner, try to incorporate her in with the rest more, or just leave them all alone, as they seem to be enjoying themselves. It was hard to get photos of what I'm talking about because I always try to get them all in the shot.


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I would just leave her alone if she is enjoying herself, I had two buff brahma hens that stuck together like glue, but they eventually broke up and free ranged alone. The others will probably do same.
Thanks, I think that's what I'll continue doing. I just feel kind of bad for her, but I'm a loner, too, so if that's what's happening, then I totally understand. lol
One of my four pullets just kind of does her own thing. Everybody gets along great, and she'll stick with them most of the time - but sometimes she's just off for a little alone time.

If you're not seeing any bullying, then she's probably just an independent girl.
Thanks for your response - I'm watching closely to make sure that is the case. And honestly, until I can tell the four apart better, I'm not certain that the loner is always the same hen! And no, I'm not seeing any bullying. I used to check them after they went to bed and three were on the roost, one on the floor of the coop, but lately, they are all four on the roost. So I'm not worried about bedtime issues anymore. They are just so dern cute, you know?
hahaha that's why I always get different breeds. I have enough trouble without trying to discern *who* is giving me trouble.
That was my original plan! And I wanted to see who was laying and who wasn't. But I had Black Australorps years ago and loved their personalities, so finally decided to get all four of that breed. I'm just starting to tell them apart, but only if they are together. The size and color of their combs and wattles are a bit different, and I'm told they will continue to be more different as they get older. :)

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