Hen Getting Picked On

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by coolchicken007, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. coolchicken007

    coolchicken007 New Egg

    Feb 13, 2010
    Walnut Creek
    Recently, my flock has started picking on (literally) one of the white crested black polish hens. They peck a section of her head until it's bloody and bare. They've done this at least three times, and each time we separate her from them until she's healed. Now we've tried giving her to 2 other chicken owners, but she was picked on as well in their flocks. She's very nervous and even sleeps by herself; perhaps that's why she's such an easy target.
    I have no idea what to do about this! Any advice?
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I had this very same issue. What happens with the pecking order is the higher up hens come at the lower ranking hens & the lower ones run away. Polish can't see the higher up hens coming & so they don't run away. The higher up hens see this as a challenge & they increase the fierceness of the attacks.

    I did 2 things & it fixed the issue completely - at least for me.

    1) trim all the feathers away from the polish's eyes. That way they can see the attack coming. This actually makes them quite a bit smarter too! Bonus!

    2) I had to remove the top 2 hens. The resulting shake up in the pecking order kind of reset everyone & they all accept her. The reason I removed the top 2 was because the next oldest hens beak had been trimmed (not by me). I correctly assumed she would take over the head hen position & she didn't have a sharp enough pecker to peck the polish too hard.
  3. hamilton

    hamilton Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2010
    I had the same exact problem with my white creshed black Polish hen. She was fine for ~6 months with my 4 other hens, and then they started pecking at her head. For the winter I combined my flock with my parents, and then my parent chickens started going after my polish. I seperated the flock in a variety of ways, but the poor polish kept getting pecked. I ended up just last weekend purchasing another Polish, so now the 2 polish are 100% seperated from the rest of the group.....Where are you located? If you were close, I would consider taking her and adding her with my 2 girls.....

    New Hampshire
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Well, we all know how the pecking order works. Someone has to be the target. Sadly enough in a mixed flock, Polish always seem to become the target. I'm thinking part of that may be that since their vision is diminished by their crests they are less able to avoid the attackers. This will be difficult if not impossible to resolve. A seperate pen and more Polish for company sounds like a good idea.[​IMG]
  5. annchristine

    annchristine Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 22, 2010
    Coarsegold -YLP
    I have the same problem with my 9 month old polish. The others have started pulling out her top feathers. I have heard that menthol ointment on her feathers acts as a deterrent. I worry that if I get another Polish there will be 2 that are picked on. I am considering removing her until she heals but it sounds like that will not solve the situation.
    Very upsetting. It has been a while since I trimmed her, I'll do that first.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If it were me, I would fix up a little cheap coop and welded wire run and get her some more polish buddies for company.
  7. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    My wcb roo is the one being picked on. When he is really bloody I separate him but then he has to deal with reintroduction. I have found if I can keep him sprayed with Blue Cote it helps him to heal and not get picked worse. Right now I feel bad for him because he is just scared of everybody and I haven't been able to find the culprits.

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