Help! Three birds ganging up on one.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dwager, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. dwager

    dwager Hatching

    Mar 15, 2009
    We have 6, year-old hens and no problems up to now. But one Americauna is being ganged up on by the two Wyandottes, and sometimes one of the Golden Sex-linked is joining in. This poor bird is spending her days hiding in the bushes and is missing a bunch of feathers on her head.

    Our hens free-range during the day, so space isn't an issue, and for over a year there has been no aggression at all.

    This has been going on for a few days, and we really don't know what to do. Some of the posts say to separate the aggressor, but there are three of them. We've also thought of separating just the picked-on bird, but don't know if that would cause more trouble when trying to put her back in with the rest. Also, we don't have a second shelter to keep her in. Should we pound something together quickly?

    Any ideas on what to do? There doesn't seem to be blood, just missing feathers and a really stressed-out bird.


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] [​IMG] Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    I have not had that experience. I don't know what would cause chickens that have been together for a year suddenly start attacking one unless something has upset the pecking order. Have you added or subtracted one or more chickens lately? That would cause them to reestablish the pecking order. Just a guess, but has something happened to weaken that hen, injury or illness. Chickens will pick on weakened members of the flock.

    I share your concerns about separating the weak one. If you can figure out how to isolate one or two of the dominant ones, I'd try that and see what happens while she is absent and when she goes back in.

    Good luck! Wish I could help more.
  3. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I agree with Ridgerunner. Pulling out one of the dominant girls might shake things up a bit, in a good way.

    If you pull up a lawn chair and just sit and watch the ladies for awhile, you might get some insight on the dynamics causing the drama. It will also be a very nice, relaxing pastime. [​IMG]

    Please keep us posted on how things work out!
  4. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Just a guess, but has something happened to weaken that hen, injury or illness.

    Illness would be my initial thoughts; rewrites of the pecking order don't happen in gang fashion, it's a subtle progression unless you upset the apple cart with new birds.

    I would isolate and monitor her, a cat/dog box or even a cardboard box will do, if she seems OK after a few days (eating, drinking, pooping and not sitting all fluffed or hunched up) make sure she is full up with food and reintroduce her early morning because you free range (if she's full there's less competition for food initially).
    I know lots of people say introduce them at night but I find that is when the pecking order is really strictly enforced - who sits where and next to who seems to be the most important thing in the world. During the daytime, they are busy with other things - mostly eating.

    If you don't free range then you'll always need to be very careful when returning a bird at any time as there is nowhere for them to escape to when attacked and then I'd agree that a night time reintroduction is best.

    I hope she's just a bit off color rather than ill.​

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