Hen being picked on by whole flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by C. Conner, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. C. Conner

    C. Conner In the Brooder

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    Jan 9, 2018
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    HELP! I have been raising hens my for almost two years , bought them as chicks, and I have a problem I can't solve. I have one hen the others have started picking on and chasing. I think they would peck her to death if they could. I have started keeping her fenced off from the others and have tried putting just a couple hens in the yard with her but she still has to take cover. She's healthy and eats well but not laying. I have never used my hens for dumplings but is this the alternative? I have 10 Red Sex Links and 4 White Leghorns.
     
    alexa009 likes this.
  2. alexa009

    alexa009 Free Ranging

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    Obviously your chickens have formed a pecking order and the one that is getting picked on is last in the pecking order and needs to be separated. I have seen chickens gang up on one all at one time. If you have some fencing I recommend putting her in a small area fenced up. Then you put her in the coop at night. A pecking order can be properly run up to a flock of 80 which is why it is necessary for people to trim chickens beaks.
     
    C. Conner likes this.
  3. SW31

    SW31 Songster

    When all my hens were ok i would add treats in a long line so that the more alpha hens could feed but the little one still had a chance to feed as well. They seem to become more aggressive when food treats are given so more space is needed.
     
    C. Conner likes this.
  4. C. Conner

    C. Conner In the Brooder

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    Jan 9, 2018
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    Thank you for responding. I have just added on to the chicken yard and now have room to put a fenced off area in one corner. I will give that a try. I like the idea to put the treats in a long line so all the hens can get a few treats.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    I see you have 14 birds. Are they confined, or do they free range? How big (in feet by feet) are your coop and run? There are a few things that could be going on here. It could be that something is going on with that hen, and they are noticing weakness. Chicken can be vicious when they notice that there is a weak one in the flock. It's instinctive for them to try to keep the flock strong. It could be that there isn't enough room for them if they're confined, but at two years old, I don't know if that's the case. They should be used to their space by now.

    I do feel the need to say this - pecking order happens in flocks of any size. If the flocks are properly managed, beak trimming is not necessary. When they have proper space and nutrition, chickens can get along pretty well.
     
  6. C. Conner

    C. Conner In the Brooder

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    My coop is a 9X12 and my yard was 12X12 but we just increased it to 12X36 this week. I was concerned the yard was to small. I let them free range under supervision 4 to 6 times a week. I am hoping with the larger yard things will get better in the flock. There has also been a lot of feather picking. Things seemed to have gotten worse this winter. I feed them 20% pellets along with sunflower seeds, hanging cabbages, etc. My RSL have averaged 7 eggs daily most of the winter. One of the RSL is the one getting the pecked on.
     
  7. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    I have 5 sex-links hens and the girl at the bottom is molting. One hen is plucking her new pin feathers and 2 others chase her away from treats scattered on the ground.
    I ordered some pinless peepers and put them on the 3 bullies this afternoon.
    It was difficult for one person, but I got them on.
    They spent an hour trying to get them off and learning to walk straight. I gave them treats scattered on the ground and watched them for an hour to make sure everyone was fine.
    It took them awhile to pluck seeds from the ground, they were missing a lot at first but figured it out. They were able to drink from a rubber bowl. Might not be able to drink from a nipple waterer. I don't have one.
    About an hour after the bully went up to the molting hen to pluck a feather but did not. Could not focus straight ahead.
    After a couple of hours, all five were close and the molting hen was more relaxed than I can remember.
    I hope things stay calm after the bullies get used to the peepers.
    Will update if feather plucking starts again wearing the peepers.
    I have a 500 square foot pen and a 4 x 5 foot raised coop. GC
     
  8. C. Conner

    C. Conner In the Brooder

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    Jan 9, 2018
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  9. C. Conner

    C. Conner In the Brooder

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    Jan 9, 2018
    East Texas
    I put pinless peepers on two of the hens about 10 days ago. They have P1020084.JPG learned to pick feathers but not as bad as it was before. The girl they were picking on had also just came out of molt. Today the girls were able to go into the new section of the chicken yard at will and also free ranged a little. Seems like the bad behavior is calming down.
     
    Pater est Pullis and GC-Raptor like this.

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