Help, I have a bully in my flock!

DollyM

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 30, 2012
10
1
24
I have one or more egg eaters in my small flock of 8 (4 Rhode Island Reds and 4 Comets) I don't know who it is, so I end up going out to the coop many times during the day to check for eggs...trying to get the eggs before they do. There are 3 comets who have missing feathers at the neck and I thought they were still molting, today when I went out there, I caught the one who has all her feathers, pecking at the necks of the other 3. So, now I know that I have a bully...and maybe she's the egg eater too? Please, any suggestions...is there a way to stop her, should I isolate her, should I remover her from the flock? These chickens are 2 years old and I have 8 new babies chicks (1 week old) that are still in the house.
 

DollyM

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 30, 2012
10
1
24
They eat Nutrena layer pellets and I just switched to Nutrena Feather Fixer which is 18% protein...because I thought they were still molting...so they've been eating that for a few days now. My daughter brings them the pulp from her juicer everyday too...they love it. I don't let them roam the yard because of predators in the woods here...fox, coyote, hawks even cougars ....so they stay in the run. But when the grass is growing they get clippings too. They also get the usual chicken treats too...all my peelings and other healthy stuff.
I put golf balls into the nesting boxes but that hasn't helped.
 

ChickenExplorer

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 25, 2014
21
1
26
Provo, UT
Chickens will peck/bite at each others necks and crops to establish and reinforce pecking order. I had one that was particularly aggressive and had to give her to a neighbor. I don't think she had any issues there since she had now moved from the top to the bottom of the pecking order. And the rest of my flock really calmed down after that. Even though a new pecking order had to be sorted out, none of the others were as aggressive.

As for the egg eating, I too am dealing with that problem Here are 2 things that will greatly impact your options

1) Have a close look at your chickens. I could not figure out why egg production had never picked back up after winter (which was mild compared to other years). Then I went to trim my girls flight feathers and sure enough, 9 out of 10 of them had dried yellow yolk around their beaks and heads. Not enough that I could tell from a distance, but once I got close enough, it was hard to mistake.

Pick them up and have a look. What you find may make you sad, but you cant fix what you don't know.

2) After this discovery, I mentioned culling a few on this website. A few members suggested roll out nesting boxes. Long story short, I'm almost collecting as many eggs as I had last summer.

Hope my story give you some options.
 

kranberrykat

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
18
1
24
Rhode Island Reds are known for being slightly too aggressive.
Some possible causes are:
1) Protein (as mentioned above)
2) they are bored
3) they don't have enough space

Those are the 3 main causes for feather pecking and possible egg eating. They could also be eating eggss because of the lack of calcium in their diet. Do you give them oyster shell?
 

DollyM

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 30, 2012
10
1
24
Thank you for your help, I do give them oyster shells. The run that they're in isn't very big though, and we are planning to expand it this spring, so maybe that will help. Also we have had a long cold winter here in Connecticut! So, how do you keep chickens from being bored? I never heard of roll out nesting boxes before, so I looked it up...then I told my husband about it...and it looks like we could easily modify our existing nesting boxes to roll the eggs away...what a great idea! Thanks again for comments!
 
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kranberrykat

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
18
1
24
There are a couple ways to keep chickens entertained.
You could hang a whole cabbage by a string for them to peck at, or cut any melon or pumpkin in half (which usually takes them a while considering the fact that they even eat the rind!), and keep in mind that chickens can practically eat everything that we eat since they are omnivores (and scavengers in the wild), so you could throw perhaps steak, chicken (I know it sounds morbid but they will eat their own kind in the wild) or any other bones with some meat left on them or your leftovers in with them to pick at in their pen, which could also give them some extra protein.

And an actual toy would be to poke holes in a plastic water or gatorade bottle and fill it with seeds... when they roll it around some, but not all, of the seeds come out and thus taking longer for them to eat all of it!

Anything food-related usually works.
 
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