Hen Mounting other Hen and pulling out feathers on head - how to stop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by donnavee, May 12, 2010.

  1. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    I have 8 hens a little over a year old. About a month ago, one of the RIR's (#1 in pecking order) started mounting the Australorp (#2 in pecking order). At first, it didn't seem too frequently and was over in a few seconds, then they both fluff and shake their feathers and go on with their business. Now, it seems to happen more frequently and we have noticed some bald spots on top of the Australorps head, near her comb, where the RIR grabs her with its beak. So far, no blood but the loss of feathers bothers me.

    Any one have experience with this or have any ideas on breaking the behavior?
     
  2. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

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    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    I am having the same issues, same ages. Scurfy looking lot of hens.
    I will keep watching this thread.
     
  3. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I was hoping it was a passing fad, but just seems to continue. What is so surprising is that the Australorp is such a large chicken, and she just crouches down and lets it happen.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Kill and eat the RIR. Problem solved. [​IMG]
     
  5. kayri

    kayri Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen that mounted other hens for a bit, but never took it too far. She was older about 4 and was being dominant to the 1 year olds. My neighbor with hens was complaining that her older hens were mounting her younger hens and pulling out feathers.
     
  6. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central NC
    Well, we are vegetarians so eating her isn't exactly an option [​IMG]. We also have 6 little ones that at some point will be integrated with this flock so I'm hoping this won't continue. I break it up if I'm around, but of course I'm not always there.
     
  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    That aggression is usually a dominance or bullying thing. If it gets too bad, you can always separate the bully in another enclosure for a day or more. She'll be desperate to come back, and once she does comes back to the flock, she'll be so glad that she may leave the other one alone, at least for a while.

    Some of the worst bullying problems occur when the flock is cooped up, too little space, bored, and not enough hiding places for the lower hens to escape into. It happens less when they have lots of space and are free-ranging -- but sometimes bullying even happens then. Funny thing is, it's my Australorp that bullies, breaks neck feathers, and occasionally jumps on the back of my lowest hen, an EE.
     
  8. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    donnavee do you have a rooster in your flock..??

    If not, that rir hen may be taking the role of a rooster..also when no rooster is present, certain hens may attempt to crow.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  9. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central NC
    As for space, we have plenty - a 8x10 coop and close to 700 sq ft of outdoor space that they run in during the day as well as about an hour in the evening when they get to free range. There is no rooster in our flock and I have heard of hens actually "crowing" and growing spurs. This hen shows none of those tendencies and I do get as many as 8 eggs on some days, so I know she is still laying.

    I have another run adjacent to the big run which is reserved for the little ones still in the house. Maybe I'll try locking her up in it for a couple days to see if her attitude changes.
     
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I agree with feathersnuggles. Separate your dom. hen for a few days (use a dog pen or large dog crate w/food & water). Usually this will change the pecking order, and she will not be top dog any longer, although she could work her way back up. It's worth a shot.
     

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