Hens picking on one hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DMoody, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. DMoody

    DMoody Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2012
    I have 5 hens that were brought up together and have done fine for the last 2 years. Then suddenly I noticed one black australorp hen picking on one of my easter eggers to the point she would hide. I separated the australorp for a week and then put her back into general population. Things did not change and now I noticed 4 were picking on the easter egger, I have had the easter egger isolated for about a month now. Every morning when I clean the coop and refuel I let them all out together and she stays away from the other hens. Today she went into the main coop and all 4 hens jumped on her and held her to the ground picking on her. I ran over and pulled them off her and grabbed her and got her out of there.
    I don't know what to do, any suggestions would be helpful.

  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich True BYC Addict

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Best and easiest is to keep her isolated for her own safety, [​IMG] There are some drastic measures you can do . You can trim the 4 offenders upper beak, They will not be able to be as dangerously offensive. DO NOT TRIM THE BOTTOM PART. They would not be able to drink water then.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Beak trimming is extreme.....and I would advise against it.

    What you have now is an integration problem......
    .....you removed one bird for a month and can't expect to just put her back in with the flock.

    Not sure what caused the problem to begin with....pecking order can change for reasons unknown to us.

    Picked on hen might be/have been ill or was molting when bullying started?
    Were they confined to a too small coop?

    Did other hens pick on EE when Aussie was isolated?

    You may need to remove Aussie again for longer?

    Multiple food/water stations might help meanwhile.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I agree you now have the problem of the EE being an outsider due to being kept out of sight for a month. She needs to be re-introduced as if she were brand new, slowly and with safety barricades.

    There is a chance, as aart points out, that this hen has some sort of physical problem that the others are picking up on. You need to check her over carefully. How is her walking? Is she eating? Monitor her crop throughout the day. How are her poops as compared to the others?

    I had an EE hen who developed lameness gradually over time, and the others thrashed her mercilessly. It got so bad I had to create a special pen for her to keep her safe. She even had a special pen outdoors so she could dirt bathe and get sun while watching the flock free-range.

    It's important to realize that when you remove a chicken from the flock for any length of time and bring her back, she will be considered an outsider and will have lost her rank in the pecking order, whether she was top hen or at the bottom.

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