Hen to Hen Attacks

WIMIke

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2020
18
27
41
Fair Warning… there is a lot going on here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My flock consists of 9 hens (1 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Ameraucana, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Blue Langshan, 1 Buff Brahma , and 1 Dark Brahma, all 33 weeks old. All but the Dark Brahma are laying. 1 Barred Rock is the bossy one at the top of the pecking order. They all WERE getting along fine, however at times the Bossy Barred Rock will push others away from the food. Anytime I am petting another chicken she attacks that chicken as I am petting it. She also refuses to let me pet her at all. Now for the past four days I have noticed that my tallest chicken (Blue Langshan) has been spending most of the days in a nesting box alone. This Blue Langshan is one of the birds that if I give any attention to, the Bossy Barred Rock attacks. Today I was in the coop with the chickens and I was trying to coax the Blue Langshan to come out of the nesting box and when she hesitantly came out, a full on attack from the Bossy Barred Rock ensued, and the other Barred rock joined in the attack as well. I actually had to break it up with a broom at first and then I had to get down on the coop floor to get them off her. It honestly shook me to the core. I now have the Blue Langshan separated from the flock in the coop but they can still see each other. Any help with this Christmas Horror Story would be appreciated. I have listed more information below:

*Coop is a 9’ x 12’ Nantucket Shed, proper ventilation and windows, Assorted Roosts and 4 nesting boxes.

*Outside Chicken run is also 9’ x 12’ connected by an automatic door with roosts as well

Plenty of fresh water and food all day, Too many treats (that I will drastically decrease to 10% of their diet)consisting of scratch grains, fresh vegetables, meal worms, (corn and sunflower seeds now that the nights are in the 20’s and 30’s). I know protein is important they get 18% protein in the pellets and a little more in the meal worms. I have been noticing them filling up on the treats and less food being eaten due to the treats or could it be the Bossy Barred Rock not allowing others to get at it?

The Blue Langshan is pretty docile and I don’t think trying to move up in the pecking order, she is not sick, not blood or cuts anywhere. I originally thought she was broody being in the nesting box all that time. I also have noticed that there seems to be more than usual downy feathers around from different hens, and unless its me being paranoid I think some of the hens are looking thinner. Maybe not being allowed to go near the food by the Bossy one? Or is it possible for them to molt this time of the year in the cold???

I do not think its boredom as I give them things to occupy their time.

Should I have separated the Blue Langshan from the flock or removed the Bossy Barred Rock?

Thanks for any help.
 
Last edited:

BGcoop

Crowing
Aug 5, 2018
998
2,495
256
I would start by providing plenty of hiding places. hopefully Out of sight out of mind for miss bossy. Also be sure there are a number of feeders that have blind spots as well so the other birds can eat without bossy knowing it. Lastly, check the birds carefully for any signs of illness, mites, worms etc. animals sometimes know before we do when something is wrong and try to remove the weak link.
 

WIMIke

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2020
18
27
41
I would start by providing plenty of hiding places. hopefully Out of sight out of mind for miss bossy. Also be sure there are a number of feeders that have blind spots as well so the other birds can eat without bossy knowing it. Lastly, check the birds carefully for any signs of illness, mites, worms etc. animals sometimes know before we do when something is wrong and try to remove the weak link.
Thank you for your quick response, and suggestions. Much appreciated. Happy Holidays!
 

Raeganmh02

Chirping
Jan 26, 2020
138
140
96
Most of my hens are still in the middle of molting, so yours could very likely still be molting as well (depending on where you live). If your Blue Langshan is hanging in the nesting box a lot and acting “lazy”, she could be egg bound or struggling to pass an egg. I guess it is possible that she could be depressed if she is on the bottom of the pecking order. One of my sweet Dominique hens is always getting pecking at, and she acts down and upset a lot (especially when she is roosting). Hopefully she perks up soon! Poor thing
 

HeatherKellyB

"One day or Day one"
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
5,339
12,082
737
Moore County, NC
And to answer your molt question. 33 weeks shouldn’t molt their first winter. They should molt first time about a year and a half old.
What about a light molt? I've heard "juvenile molt" referenced before, but I'm not sure what age this refers to. I have 5 month olds that are experiencing a light molt and 3 of my 9 month old have went through a molt of just their head and neck feathers.
 

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