Hen Assaulting Other Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mksauce23, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. mksauce23

    mksauce23 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    27
    Oct 4, 2013
    Kentucky
    One of my hens, Mobley, started assaulting the other, Hester, a couple weeks ago. She relentlessly chases her around and tears at her comb, so I've had to keep them separated. I looked online for remedies to this aggressive behavior and ordered some pinless peepers. I let Mobley get used to them overnight before I reunited the two hens the next day. Within a half hour she had ripped them off causing her nostrils to bleed, only to immediately begin assualting Hester again.

    I'm clueless on what to try next, because if she's willing to tear her nostrils to get off the peepers, those are not at all effective. What are my other options? I've read about debeaking, and I have mixed feelings about that. But that might beat solitary confinement...
     
  2. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,292
    366
    238
    Mar 1, 2013
    Try taking the agressive hen out for 3-4 days then put her back in and see how it goes. Do they have the recommended 3-4 square feet/bird? Also, if you have the room, a good rooster won't allow the hens to fight much at all. Mine will jump right in the middle of fighting hens and it is over as quick as it started.
     
  3. mksauce23

    mksauce23 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    27
    Oct 4, 2013
    Kentucky
    I had them separated about a week & a half as I was waiting for the peepers to deliver that I had ordered online. Granted, they could still sense each other, just not interact. Their coop is a renovated lean-to, it's about 10x20 ft for the two hens. Also, I live within the limits of a city that doesn't allow roosters, only hens. :/
     
  4. hosspak

    hosspak Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,389
    104
    156
    Sep 2, 2013
    Lake Elsinore, CA.
    T Willow, has a good suggestion. I always lock up the aggressor. And I do mean lock up in small confined area where she can see but not contact the others. I think this shames them into better behavior.

    @ T Willow, I have never seen that behavior from either of my 2 roosters. Both will jump on adult and child sized girls, but when it comes to peck fighting hens, they stay well clear of the action. I guess my boys are wimps, lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  5. mksauce23

    mksauce23 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    27
    Oct 4, 2013
    Kentucky
    This is an idea. Currently, I just have their coop split in two, 'makeshiftedly'. Although, I only have two hens, the aggressor & the victim.
    On average, how long do you keep them separated?
     
  6. hosspak

    hosspak Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,389
    104
    156
    Sep 2, 2013
    Lake Elsinore, CA.
    Start with 2 days, then observe how they treat each other when you reunite them. If needed extend to 3 days...If you can confine the aggressor to a small area.
     
  7. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    572
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    How long have they been together before this behaviour started?

    Do you let them out to wander at all or do they have anything else to do while locked in the run? Boredom can make things worse. If they only have the run and nothing else to do you could try putting a bale of straw in there for them to spend their days pulling to pieces and scratching all over the place. Keeps them busy so they have less time to think about arguing and after a month or so you just rake it up and put in the compost and start again.

    Hopefully keeping her busy keeps her mind off bullying.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  8. mksauce23

    mksauce23 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    27
    Oct 4, 2013
    Kentucky
    I got them as baby chicks together, they're about 8 months old now, & this behavior just started a couple weeks ago. Their coop is a converted lean-to, so it's about 10x20 approx 200 sq feet. & it has a couple nesting boxes, several apparatuses to climb & roost on, & we have actually lined the front of the coop with haybales as a windblock for the winter. I let them free range during the daylight hours when I'm home, but now that it's winter, during the workweek it is dark in the morning when I leave & dark when I get home, so their free-ranging time has been reduced the past couple months to only the weekends. I do spread out table scraps for them & will scatter some bird seed so they can still "hunt" around for food.

    I was assuming she's going through a hormonal thing, now that they are both mature & laying hens. The aggressor is an Easter Egger & she's much smaller & more high strung than my Buff. She used to act more of a beta & my Buff would always have first dibs on the treats & the nesting box, etc. But, one day I just randomly came home to my Buff's comb all torn up, & now Hester is absolutely terrified of her.
     
  9. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    572
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    It might just be a bit of a power struggle then as one takes over top spot from the other. I personally would be tempted to let them sort it out while supervised because once she feels secure that she is top Chicken and the other is subservient then hopefully the behaviour should settle down.

    I think that its going to be an issue till she is sure she is in charge and the other knows it, so not sure separating is going to do more than delay the inevitable or prolong the battle for top spot. If she has grown up to develop a more dominant personality she will keep trying to take that position no matter how long you seperate them for. Its not like you have a flock of birds to put her down a peg or two on return, its still just going to be the two of them after top spot and everytime you reintroduce her she will try and take that top job again causing fights again.

    I would keep an eye on them at all times while they are together though to make sure she doesnt take it too far again and really hurt the other getting her point across. I would also not favour the buff in front of her as that puts the buff back in top position and means the other has to continue to fight her for that top spot. The sooner the buff is accepted by both as the lower bird the sooner things should start to settle down.

    We had one out of the pen for about 3 days due to illness and when she went back in they treated her like a new comer and pecked at her and excluded her for a good week, week and a half. The reintroduced hen was miserable looking and very nervous around all her previous hatchmates during that time but finally all got back to normal though as they had resestablished their pecking order and no longer needed to keep reminding her she had moved down a peg or two. I would allow around that long for this to work itself out and then after that you may be forced to look at a more permanant solution such as seperate pens or rehoming one, or even introducing a third bird so it isnt quite as one on one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  10. hosspak

    hosspak Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,389
    104
    156
    Sep 2, 2013
    Lake Elsinore, CA.
    [​IMG]
    Our Buff pullet, has been acting very different for the last 24 hours. Very quiet, stays away from the rest of the flock and not eating or drinking. What should I look for or expect? We got her in November, previous owner said she was laying, but hasn't laid since we brought her home. Thanks for any help...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by