Hens Being Bullies

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MontanaMomma, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2008
    I have five Leghorn hens and they pick on one hen. Her comb is always pecked and this morning she had blood on the back of her neck. Has anyone had any luck with curbing this type of behavior? They are let out into a large enclosure during the day, have plenty of food and water. Any ideas other than separation or finding a new home for the poor girl?
  2. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    Did this start recently and how long have the hens been together? It may just be they are sorting out the pecking order and once its established they might stop. I haven't had to deal with this so I can't help much. Hopefully someone else will have some advise.
  3. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2008
    I did some research and found that there are a few reasons hens will peck at eachother. Like you said, it can be because they are figuring out who is where on the totem pole. They have been together since pullets, so I don't know about this. But maybe they will just pick on the bottom hen as long as they are together. This same hen has had a scabby comb before, so it isn't totally new behavior. Also, they can lack protein or vitamins, or if they get too much light. I'm pretty sure they get enough protein because they get a lot of meat table scraps, but I have had the light on all night and day in their coop due to the cold weather. So I am going to start turning the light off at night and hope they don't suffer. Also, I might try putting vinagar in their water to see if that helps. Thanks!
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've dealt with only one bully, and it helped to put her in a cage in the coop, but your problem is more complex. When they gang up they are capable of killing a submissive hen. It does help to create some visual barriers in the coop and run, like bales of straw, that keep them from staring at each other and to give the weak one a place to eat without being pestered. Make food available in several places. But they may not change and she may need a place of her own, I guess you are not set up to subdivide the coop? Rehoming is an option. Having things like a small squash or pumpkin keeps them busy, so does a play box of sand.

    Our bully injured her foot in October and changed totally- suddenly she was vulnerable and became timid. After she healted she was mid-flock and so far, she is much nicer.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  5. chickenjim64

    chickenjim64 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2007
    I kinda of have the same problem but all my girls pick on my two easter eggers, they'll peck at them when they eat or go on the perch to roost at night, I mean they all peck at one anothere thats what they do there chickens but the easter eggers get it worse I don't know why..
  6. ovaunda

    ovaunda Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 4, 2008
    Enoch, UT
    I posted a similar question but all of my hens pick on one another. At first we thought that the BR's were the ones doing the picking but they are picked on too. Seen some beautiful flocks and mine look nothing like that. They are seemingly happy otherwise and not aggressive toward people. My DH says to let them do their thing and they'll be fine. =os
  7. countrygirl57

    countrygirl57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    we have 12 leghorns & 12 golden comets. The leghorns are definitely at the top of the pecking order. The golden comets are the last to get treats, the last to eat. The leghorns also have control of the highest roost. The very lowest comet is very light blond. She still peeps & stays to herself, which is a worry, because ours free range daily. This little one follows my husband everywhere, all day while he does his chores.

    I don't know if this is good or bad . We carry her to the other comets, but she eventually finds her way back to him. All the comets are picked at as well.
    We are hoping once their pecking order is established , things will settle down.
  8. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2008
    Update on Bully Hens
    I started turning the light off at night and things seem better. I had do add a heat lamp sing below zero temps hit and I mad sure I got a red light. Things seem much better, although the same hen is always on ground rather than on roost. But since she is closer to heat lamp, I don't think it is a bad place to be for now. Thanks all, and good luck.
  9. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Perhaps she just needs to be further away from them. I have 3 Leghorns and 1 Redstar, the Redstar is boss but I never really was sure which Leghorn was lowest. Then I noticed all the chickens would roost together except that there'd be one lone Leghorn at the opposite end of the roost. With 5 birds and over 6ft of roost (all the same level) there is plenty of room for them to segregate her --- but on the other hand there is plenty of room for her to move away from them as well.

    One morning I found what appeard to be blood on the feeder, but I couldn't find any wounds or blood on the birds. I assume somebody got pecked over the food [​IMG] but I don't regularly find any obvious evidence. So long as no one is getting hurt I don't worry.

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