Hen won't allow other hen to go into the coop at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by limited25, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2016
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    Last night I witnessed this for the first time. Mattie (I think she is 2nd in the pecking order) would stay at the doorway of the coop, blocking the door, and Hermoine (the lowest on the pecking order) just stood there waiting for her to move. She kept jumping down and going back up the ramp with the same results. Then Mattie went to the back of the coop making it look like she wasn't there anymore, and when Hermoine attempted to get in, she ran and pecked her, chasing her out.

    After watching her do this several times (it was time to close the coop, now getting dark) I went out there and tried to catch Mattie. She ran to the back of the coop and when Hermoine tried to go in, she ran and tried to peck her. Hermione managed to sneak into the house and get on the roost while I was watching Mattie, but Mattie approached again. I'm not sure if it was when Hermoine was flying up to the roost, or if she planned to peck me (it happened so fast). This time I was serious about grabbing her but she flapped her wings and went running up the ramp to the roost.

    Now, I am wondering if this happens again, what should I do?

    I got Mattie when she was 4 weeks old, and she was a feather picker then, but I just thought "oh, she's not as nice as the other chicks". All my chickens (4 hens and a rooster) are one year old. She continues to peck feathers out of the other hens, and has given another hen, Hilde, a bare butt. It is irritating, but Hilde just stands there and lets her do it. I have separated her from the other hens and kept her in a dog pen in the garage for about a week, and when she came back, I was hoping the pecking order would change; but it has not. Hermione runs from her so she still has all her feathers, and she dare not peck Honey as she is highest on the pecking order.

    Would appreciate some advise on what I should do.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    How big is your setup? Some of that is normal pecking order stuff, but I suspect they don't have enough room, which can cause behavioural problems in some birds.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Sizes and pics of your setup would help.
    Also exactly what and how are you feeding?
     
  4. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks old hens likes dogs, and aart for your replies. [​IMG]
    This is the coop, it is 4'x5' and the screened front is another 4'. Have a run on each side, each one is 8x10. I did not count the size of where they lay eggs. The tall run on the left is 6' tall for your reference.

    We feed them ScratchandPeckFeeds, equal amounts of Naturally soy and corn free Layer (18% protein) and Naturally soy and corn free Grower. This is a tractor coop and the runs slide in and out so can easily move them. It has been parked in the same spot over the winter so nothing green for them to eat. Give them spinach leaves, kale, and a little other lettuce, a diced tomato, and some bread crumbs in the morning when I let them out. Their feeder is in the tall run, water in front of the coop. Sometimes I give them a cut up apple.

    Their coop has plenty of roost space along two walls but they all seem to try to crowd into a little space together bickering over who gets to sit by who. lol. I let them worry about that and seems like that have mostly figured that out. The run on the right they mostly bathe and dig in, and the run on the left has a straw bale, some crates, and a long board they get on. They seem to entertain themselves fairly well. Just don't know what to think.
     
  5. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guess I need to quote you so you will know I responded, and can give me further advise?
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Your set up appears to be adequate for the number of birds that you have. This time of year chickens get a bit moody due to the increasing hormones, as long as they aren't drawing blood or pulling feathers I wouldn't interfere too much, if it gets nasty I would pull the aggressor for a few days to see if that doesn't straighten her out. It can be hard to watch them do stuff like that but it's the way of the chicken. I'm surprised your rooster didn't get involved to break it up, I guess you played the part of the rooster.
     
  7. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, thanks. I will keep an eye on them at bedtime and if she does that again, she can go to the dog pen in the garage (we don't have a dog). Our beloved bassett hound died about a month ago, he was 14 or 15 years old (never kept him in a crate, he was a house dog).

    Our rooster used to make sure all the hens were in before he retired, but the dominate hen (not the one discussed) used to run back out (over and over), and seemed to want to make a game of it with him. He finally stopped and just went in and then she went in. So now he no longer waits for them to retire before he does (his only shortcoming IMO).

    Mattie is my "problem child" lol, and she has been in the garage coop before. It never changed her long term behavior, or her pecking order, but guess I will just keep trying.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She may just be a life long bully. Your rooster sounds exhausted. Sorry about your Basset hound, that was a nice long life, they are one of my favorite breeds.
     

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