Has my bullied hen become the bully?

sophie90

In the Brooder
Jun 27, 2020
16
10
29
South Wales, UK
I’ll try to keep this as short as possible so not to waffle, but don’t want to miss out any details!

I had a young hen, Rihanna, being badly picked and pecked by one other hen, Barbara, (and sometimes her accomplice) in the summer.

Rihanna’s poor tail feathers were almost non-existent and as soon as there was blood drawn I set her up in an adjacent run and coop until her feathers came back, in full sight of the others.

In the meantime they’ve all seemed happy enough and all began to, and continue to, lay well. Although they had ample space before, we installed a much bigger run with plenty of interest and little hiding spaces ready for when I’d reintroduce Rihanna.

She was back for a week or so when she began to get pecked again and rather than removing her again I put pinless peepers on the Barbara and her accomplice. These have certainly done the trick, there’s peace in the coop/run, plenty of eggs from them all and the peepers don’t seem to bother or hinder the two of them.

Just the past few days I’ve noticed Barbara squaking loudly and running away from Rihanna when she’s nearby. I’ve seen her peck her once on the head when they were both at the feeder. She’s not done any damage from what I can see and I’ve given Barbara the once over and can’t see that she’s had any feathers pulled either (like she did to Rihanna). It seems more of a threat to get her to back off and a quick peck on the head to get her to budge.

Is it worth me putting some peepers on Rihanna too if this continues?

Or is this just a case of the pecking order sorting itself out now that the initial bullying has been nipped in the bud and Barbara is being put back in her place?

Both hens are the same age, Barbara is a Blacktail and Rihanna is a bluebell hybrid. She’s the biggest of all 5 of the flock so it’s surprising that she was picked on in the first place, bless her.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,308
38,229
1,142
Colorado Rockies
The first time I segregated a hen victimized by bullying, I was amazed how intensely she stood up for herself after a couple of weeks in a separate pen. A personality transformation does indeed occur when a bullied hen gets her self confidence back after a little vacation from bullying.

Pinless peepers can do their job in a relatively short time. You could probably remove them now, and that may equalize things.
 

sophie90

In the Brooder
Jun 27, 2020
16
10
29
South Wales, UK
Thank you both, that’s a relief to hear.

I don’t want to keep the pinless peepers on any longer than I need to but as we head into the winter the girls tend to hang out inside the coop much more through the day with the rain and cold so would worry they may revert back again
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,308
38,229
1,142
Colorado Rockies
You can always put the peepers back on. I caution you against thinking you can leave them on for a long period. I've seen permanent injuries to the nares with prolonged use in my flock. In some chickens, they irritate the tissue and it can develop scar tissue that blocks the nares. It's rare, but it does happen.

I have two Golden Sex-links that I put peepers on around four weeks ago, and I'm about to remove them. If they start going after feathers again, I will put them back on for a while longer.
 

jt1950

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2021
12
31
41
new to chickens , so is better to introduce all chickens at once so they wont be single out.
 

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