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Helping out low bird in pecking order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hatching, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Hatching

    Hatching Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a small flock of 8 hens (all 8 months old) and up until about a month or two ago i don't think they really had any sort of pecking order established but they do now and my poor partridge Cochin is on the bottom. She's so nervous to eat around the other hens and runs away when they approach. She even runs away from treats if my Hamburg approaches even though she's a third the size. Is there any way of helping my poor girl out? She's so nervous around the other birds now and she wasn't like this, she won't even forage with the group anymore.
     
  2. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to say but that is normal behavior for the low bird. We may not like that the chickens have a pecking order. We might feel sorry and wonder how the low bird feels about it.. It's just the way chickens are made. I've seen it with horses also. There is a top one and a bottom one. They accept where they are. At one time I tried to make sure the low ones would get their share of treats. They wouldn't touch the treats until the other birds had their fill.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Naliez

    Naliez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We let our bullied EE inside for a couple days to get a break from it. I swear, she went back out with more confidence and it worked. The top pullet immediately ran up to peck, but our little EE stood her ground and didn't run. The other hen walked away. Little EE looked just as surprised as us.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    This can also backfire and make it even worse, as then she will appear to be a brand new interloper after being gone for awhile.
     
  5. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    Do you have a 2nd feeder and waterer set up? You can't make them all be friends and play nice but having the extra things out will make sure everyone has a place to fuel up.
     
  6. Naliez

    Naliez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suppose it could, but we've tried this several times and it works well. Also, 3 days seemed to be the magic number. You have to use good judgment here. If you own chickens, eventually chances are, one of them will need to be isolated for one reason or another (injury/illness/whatever) Unless the birds have been completely separate for a significant amount of time, "reintroducing" them under supervision shouldn't be an issue. A couple days gives the picked on one enough time to recoup, and it's not like introducing a new bird.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. Naliez

    Naliez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was the first thing we tried. Our EE was in the coop/run while the rest free ranged and she was absolutely desperate to get back to the flock as long as she could see them, even if it meant getting chased and pecked. When I'm outside with them, or they are inside the house, they behave a lot better. I try to be the "boss" and if they get too aggressive with each other around me, I snap my finger, point at the aggressor and make a loud "pssssst!" They complain, but usually the behavior stops. If it doesn't, they get "love therapy", which is just me football holding them for a while while I go about my business. But also, I probably spend way more time interacting with these guys than is reasonable for most other people's situations, so idk if that is a factor or not.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  10. Naliez

    Naliez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, ours are family pets who interact with dogs, cats and children all day. I don't see not tolerating a certain behavior as "micromanaging" any more than training bad behaviors out of your dog or cat. Obviously, you're not going to get a chicken to play fetch, but you absolutely can make sure your yard is as safe a place as possible for everyone who lives there. A lot of chicken owners let the flocks manage themselves and only intervene for an overly agressive rooster, but the OP was obviously concerned and looking for a solution. I offered what has worked for me based on my own situation.
     

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