hen picked on


7 Years
Apr 11, 2012
Hi! I am fairly new to keeping chickens and need some help. My chickens are about 14 months old and I have had them since they were about 2 days old. They (4 hens and 1 rooster) have lived together happily since we purchased them. In the last several weeks the rooster has seemed to be more aggressive with one of the hens, Ducky. I ordered a "saddle" for her as she has lost a lot of feathers on her back and has one spot on her back that looks even more raw. (the saddle is not here yet) He seems to be after her even when not interested in mating...or in addition to that. I took her out of the run after one particularly rough morning, and let her have the afternoon by herself. I am realizing now this may not have been the best option -as when I returned her to the main coop/run the roo's treatment of her was worse, and this time several of the other hens joined in the attack :( (perhaps reestablishing the pecking order?) Anyway, this morning I went out to feed/water them and she was literally in a corner with her head in a bowl for protection.... I let her back in the secondary run and eventually moved the other hens in with her. The rooster is, unhappily, by himself in the main run. The hens seem to be getting along well with each other, though one is trying to find her way back to the rooster. She escaped once already. I plan to leave Shady (the rooster) by himself for the next 24 hours or so. I have to go out of town for a few days, and am concerned about what will happen if I return the hens to the main pen with him. Does anyone have any wisdom on the best way to handle this situation? The secondary run is not as secure as the main run...and it does not have the "safety" of the coop building. ( But, I am afraid Ducky will not survive if Shady continues his unkind behavior with her. ) Thanks in advance for any help...it is appreciated.!
Get the hen who is being bullied some Anti-peck spray, also put some Vaseline on her comb to stop him and other hens being able to get a grip of it. If I was you I would just leave him in the less secure one, I wouldn't risk one of my hens life for a bully cockerel. If you really don't want to leave him in the less secure one then you could rather take the risk of leaving him with the hens or you could put him in a dog crate inside the secure run. Also if his bullying carries on I would isolate him for more than 24 hours, maybe's a few days or a week or I would get rid of him.
Thank you for your reply. I intended to put him by himself in the less secure run, but it ended up being easier to get the chickens to go on their own to that run while I had him shut in the coop. I may try to switch them later today. I thought about letting him free range, but have never done that before, and am not sure how our dog and cats will respond. He has been such a great rooster until recently I hate to have to find him a new home...but I don't want to continue to have issues with his behavior to the hens. I will also look into getting some anti-peck spray...have never heard of that! ;) Thanks again.

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