Hen on the warpath

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ernie85017, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. ernie85017

    ernie85017 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2012
    I have 7 girls, the two large ones have been the dominant hens. They can be downright mean!

    Violet and Lily came together when I got them, and always slept together on the perch. Lily has been higher in the pecking order than Violet.

    The other 3 are at the bottom of the pecking order.

    Violet suddenly, about 4 days ago, became aggressive and her aggression has a specific target - Vernie, one of the three at the bottom of the pecking order. She goes out of her way to attack her. Only Vernie, no one else. I will find her, and others, up on the perch to escape the turmoil and attacks.

    I noticed in recent weeks that Violet no longer sleeps with her old buddy Lily. Violet has just finished a hard molt, and her behavior was fine during the molt. I thought molt was spelled moult, but spellcheck keeps changing it. Bah.

    I also noticed that Violet is walking around tall, like a rooster, and her tail is spread vertically. What is going on? I never saw anything like this before. She is causing upset in all of the girls and I'd like to get it to stop if possible.

  2. ernie85017

    ernie85017 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2012
  3. CoffeeNChicks

    CoffeeNChicks Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2014
    How old are they?
  4. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013

    Do you have a crate you can put her in for a week or so? Is your coop big enough to put the crate in the coop? You can try that or just totally remove her from the coop for a week, then re introduce her. It will change the pecking order around and she may have forgotten her issues with Vernie.
  5. ernie85017

    ernie85017 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2012
    Let's see, Violet and Lily must be 2 1/2 yrs, Vernie and her sisters just over 1 year. They are having their first moult.

    I guess it's the cage for Violet. I had threatened her with this. I just wish I could understand why she is doing this. The brat.
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    Far be it for me to understand the inner workings of a chicken's brain.

    However have you considered the possibility that there is a new dynamic at work in your wee flock?

    Chickens are birds after all and there is a good reason that people who exhibit behavior that you or I may find bazar are referred to as BIRD brains.

    The molt often brings on new relationships among both hens and roosters as they change appearances, at least their appearances in the eyes of other flock members. Remember that chickens are not devout Quakers. Also Vernie may be in the early stages of a debilitating disease and the "Uber Rooster" acting Violet is hammering a hen who is beginning to display weakness. Like I previously said, chickens are not Quakers and they have little patience with weaker members of their flock.

    Many is the time I or a family member have chopped off the head of a dominant rooster and before the flopping had stopped two or three subordinate roosters had rushed in to claim the title of head rooster by attacking the still flopping but now powerless corpse of their former lord and master.

    Vernie is likely also just finishing up her molt and Vernie's appearance may also have changed, at least in Violet's eyes.

    I realize that some of us may not be able to, or even want to keep roosters. However, an athletically inclined and vigorous rooster will suppress most of the hen squabbles because he views aggression for what it really is in the chicken world, social climbing. In a rooster's eye he is the cock-of-the-walk and if there is any tussling to be done he want's to be the only one that does it because that is how he maintains his place in the flock's social hierarchy.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  7. ernie85017

    ernie85017 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2012
    This makes sense. They both had are at the end of their molts.

    Would a little bitty bantam rooster serve the purpose? I have a mean neighbor who would complain about crowing, but a little guy night not be so bad.

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