Hen picking on nearly grown chicks-ideas to get her to stop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by franklinchickens, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
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    We integrated pretty successfully a group of 3 chicks with a flock of 4 grown hens. We did the slow intro through the fence, then supervised visits, then the night all the chicks hopped up into the coop for the night we figured we were good.
    Except the hen at the bottom of the 'big girl' pecking order is harassing/pecking at the chicks. Since they free range in the backyard all day it isn't awful - she'll chase them away from treats but they get their share when she moves off. But at night, she's going after them on the roost. I went to check on them tonight and when I looked in, she knocked one of the little girls right off the roost! We got home after dark so I was out locking everyone up and one of the little ones wasn't even in the coop - she gets picked on the most by the one hen that I think she decided she wasn't even going to try. That one usually ends up in a nest box or on the floor but tonight she was on a railing on the deck (complete panic attack when I couldn't find her in the coop).
    My husband added on to the current roost (it's a 2 x 4) which even without the addition is plenty of room for all 7 of them. The chicks are currently nearly 12 weeks old and about 2/3 the size of our grown hens so it isn't like they are tiny babies but this one hen (and the others pretty much ignore the little ones) is just obnoxious.
    We can't supervise all the time but is this normal? Will it stop when the babies get to be grown? I have actually moved her on the roost to the opposite end of where the chicks are which does seem to help but I don't want to have to keep doing this forever.
    Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Anyone?
     
  3. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Completely normal. I`m surprised that only one hen picks on the chicks. Lettem work it out, as long as you don`t see blood. They will get over it in time.........Pop
     
  4. KDK1

    KDK1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could seperate the touble maker for a few days.
     
  5. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
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    No blood so far - I guess I'm concerned because it has gone on for several weeks and seems to be getting worse as the chicks get bigger. I wonder if it is that they are starting to get in the others space a bit more as they grown.
    Yes - I guess we are lucky it is just the one. The others will occasionally peck to get the little ones away from a treat which is why I usually toss out treats in several areas so everyone gets a shot at them. But consistently - just her.
    I'll just keep an eye out and see what happens!
     
  6. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:Unfortunately we aren't set up where I could separate her - and the situation is just at night on the roost. Just a little bit during the day but nothing to be concerned about. I'll just have to hope they work it out!
     
  7. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put in 2 younger girls who were 7 weeks younger than my other girls, they were put in line by half of my other pullets for weeks. It eventually stopped. I did see small pecks on the younger pullets faces, more like a scratch, no real blood. It just takes time and just as long as you have room for the others to find their own place and get out of the way, they will be ok. It is hard to watch and I did stop the other hens when I was out there to see it, but it is the law of the land, just how it goes! They will be fine!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  8. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Thanks for the support - it just breaks my heart but since the 'little girls' have their own little flock, I feel better than if it was just one of them. The funny thing is that the hen that is doing the pecking is the one who used to be the top dog until she molted. Then she went to the bottom. She's also the absolute friendlies of all our hens - the one that hops up on the chair with you on the deck to see what you are up to and lets kids carry her around under their arms.
    I do feel better - that's why I love BYC!
     
  9. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, seriously, it took weeks and I worried about it but now they all get along, it seriously just happens one day, you go out there and they will all be hanging out! hehehe [​IMG] And I LOVE BYC too!!!
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I had something very similar happen. A broody raised 4 chicks with the flock. She would take them up to the roosts to sleep and there were no problems. But when she weaned them and went back to sleeping with her buddies, a very low ranking hen left her buddies on the front of the roost and went to the back portion of the roosts to torment the younger chicks. It got so bad the chicks started trying to sleep outside the coop.

    Since I raise them for meat as well as eggs and I needed to process one, I chose to process the bully. It did not help. Another one started picking on them. They were fine during the day. They would mix some with the other hens during the day. But at night on the roosts was not good for them until they grew all the way up. I was never able to come up with a solution. Even adding more root space did not help.
     

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