How long to rehab bullies?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    14,593
    12,420
    722
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    My three-year old EE Flo has been brutalized by Linda and Sylvia, two two-year old SS, for this past week or two, steadily getting so bad that Flo is now so terrified of the two that when they corner her, she goes into a submissive crouch, like she would for a rooster mating her. To do that for another hen, as I understand it, signifies the ultimate in bullying and being victimized.

    High strung to begin with, Flo had begun to dart around, clucking nervously. She has stopped laying because she's a nervous wreck. So day before yesterday, I began to keep Linda and Sylvia segregated with the rooster Penrod.That night I let them back in with the other girls to roost, but Flo was so terrified, she slept in a nesting box. So as of last night, the terrible twosome bunked with Penrod. Flo was calm this morning for the first time in ages.

    Can someone tell me how long I should keep these two trouble-makers segregated in order to see any lasting change in eveyone's behavior?
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    So you have three hens and one rooster??

    Taking the two girls out won't really solve anything if they're kept together, because they're still the dynamic duo - and will go right back to work when they're both reintroduced together back with your EE. I would removed only ONE of them...leave the less of the two evils in with your EE in the hope that maybe they will bond a little bit in a few days. Since the two SS's are close, if you have a place available, I'd keep the main bully out for at least a week (to give the other two time to get along)...two weeks if possible. Then, MAYBE, when the main bully is reintroduced, the lesser SS won't team up with her for bullying...
     
  3. settingdusk

    settingdusk Songster

    556
    20
    113
    Apr 30, 2013
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Put them together at night when its dark. They don't see well and will be forced to snuggle. Then in the morning they should drastically improve. They will be used to each others scent by then.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    14,593
    12,420
    722
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The flock consists of fourteen hens, one rooster, and six six-week old pullets.

    The rooster has his own coop and pen. The hens can see him from the main run. There are four Sussex of the same age, three of which are BFFs. One, Linda, is the tyrant, with Sylvia sort of mimicking her. The third likes to be with the first two, and the fourth SS is barely tolerated by the other three.

    I tried just segregating Linda with the roo, and Sylvia went after Flo in the same way Linda does. That's why I segregated them both. Why won't it work to segregate both of them, and reintro them in two weeks?

    In the past, Flo has been a severe feather-picker, and she was segregated to "jail" adjacent to the main run in full view and communication with the others. However, after several weeks, others began to have violent fights with each other and with Flo through the jail fence. This upheaval stopped as soon as I released Flo back into the population, but by that time, I think the two SS had moved up and beyond Flo in pecking order. That was last summer. Could this possibly be the cause of this current problem? Knowing this additional info, would your recommendations be the same?
     
  5. settingdusk

    settingdusk Songster

    556
    20
    113
    Apr 30, 2013
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Yes, as long as they don't draw blood your fine. There will be aggressive pecks to the head but they should not be more then just a quick knock. Watch them around the feeders and they will work out a new pecking order. Only intervene if it gets out of control. At night is easiest. They are forced to get along until morning and generally seem more compliant with new members to the flock. Introduce them nightly and let them wake up together and they should bond. Usually takes just one night for my chickens.
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I guess I view those two SS like tag-team wrestlers. If they're removed from the flock, they're going to bond even closer together, so they may be even worse when they're put back in. Divide and conquor was in my head. Now, if they were both removed, but kept apart...THAT might break them up.

    But give removing them both a try, even if it's together. Maybe it'll make things nicer/calmer in the flock... If there's harmony in the flock, maybe they can just stay with the roo (or was he removed for being aggressive?).

    Ideas to consider that might help: Make sure your run has more than one food/water dish available, set well apart. If you have space, add more roosts inside your housing. In the run, add thick branches, stumps, items to jump up onto or run behind...AND help alleviate boredom.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: