How long to separate "trouble hen" to shake up pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickiegrrl, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our Buff Orp picks on our 'Lorp and EE mercilessly. We took Buffy out of the flock and have had her in isolation in the basement since Friday last week. I took her out to the coop today and she went after the 'Lorp and EE. They ducked and squatted for her, she pulled their head feathers. She went after our RIR (who is head hen) and tried to attack her, but got a bloodied comb. I took Buffy back in the house because of the blood. I don't want her hurt. I just want the other two girls to stand up for themselves. I worry that our Australorp and EE are so timid that they will never defend themselves.

    I do have some pinless peepers. I was going to use them as a last resort. It looks like maybe it's the last resort, or should I keep her away from the other hens for longer? She's a pretty tough character, sweet as pie to humans, but a little terror to the shy girls.

    Any help or ideas would be appreciated!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It sounds as if the two hens are so intimidated that they will not protect themselves. I would try the Pinless Peepers.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How much space do your ladies have?
     
  4. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Donrae - They have a 4x6 coop and an 8x10 run.

    I do think that part of the reason she's doing this is boredom. It's hard to entertain them when it's so darn cold outside. We're supposed to have -40F windchills tomorrow morning. When it's 0F in the coop, a hanging cabbage doesn't last very long before it becomes a giant, swinging iceberg. LOL! My husband helped me put the pinless peepers on Buffy tonight. She hated them, but is now dealing with them fairly well. I'm going to wait until Friday to put her out with the other girls. First, because I want her to get used to the peepers. Second, because Friday it's supposed to be warmer. Since she's been in the basement for days, I don't want to stick her out in the sub-zero temps right off tomorrow. She'll have 1 day of ok temps before we go into the deep freeze again.

    When is Spring, again?
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think boredom is an excuse, here. We have almost 80 birds that are staying in 24/7 right now (their choice because of the cold) and I haven't seen any aggressive behavior--and I don't entertain chickens, either-- beyond throwing them a handful of scratch. I think you have a bully hen.

    I hope the Peepers work for her. They've been lifesavers for me in the past when circumstances beyond my control caused some pullets to be overcrowded.
     
  6. chickiegrrl

    chickiegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOS - I agree, she is a bully. The peepers have really thrown her off her game. She's busy trying to figure out how to eat and drink right now. Hopefully when she goes back in the mix, it will be enough to let the other girls get away from her. I'm glad the Peepers have worked for you. It gives me hope. My husband wanted to send Buffy to Freezer Camp, but she's my daughter's girl so we need to do everything we can before that option.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I bet the peepers fix the problem. With the pullets that I had, they were getting so bad that there was blood splattered around, but I couldn't let them out because there was a wild dog that was coming around and picking off chickens every single day. So they were overcrowded and growing and getting more and more crowded each day. It was a mess. We peepered every pullet that had blood on her beak and the problem stopped. Once we shot that dog we could let them out of the pullet house, so we took the peepers off them and didn't have another problem with them.

    You can try taking the peepers off Buffy in a month or so and see if she's learned her lesson. If not, put the peepers right back on.

    Oh, and don't be tempted to glue anything to the peepers (you may have seen a video with googly-eyed peepers). It's cute, but it adds weight and if what you glue on sticks beyond the edges of the peeper, you can stop the chicken from seeing well enough to get around and eat.
     

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