How long will this bullying behavior last?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ladies4, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Ladies4

    Ladies4 New Egg

    Sep 15, 2012
    My five month old Easter Eggers have started to get very aggressive toward one of the four hens. They are most aggressive first thing in the morning and they calm down as the day goes on. Since they free range in the backyard there is plenty of room for her to get away but they've pounced on top of her several times before she could run away. By the evening they cozy up on their roost together like best buddies. This breaks my heart and I'm worried they may hurt her. I've read it should calm down as they establish the 'pecking order'. Also they've all started to double the amount they are eating and they are bulking up - maybe getting ready to lay? Thanks for any help/opinions....
  2. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    My opinion is pecking order and will settle down although mine grow up together and don't seem to have those issues. The other option is maybe they intuitively know something we don't such as some deformity, handicap, sickness, etc....

    Good Luck,
  3. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2012
    Lancaster Ohio
    At 4-5 months old my 11 golden comets started the pecking order. They all grew up together too! A few of the hens got so bad they started coming after me! I quickly ended that by using the advise that someone here gave me. When ever they would peck at me I would give that hen a quick smack to the back of her head! Not a hard smack just enough to let them know I was the lead not them! 2 of them started squatting when I did that and one got so aggressive I had to go to step 2 and that is hold her down to the ground, that didn't work so I had to go to step 3 and that was hold her down to the ground and when you let her up she still came after me I held her in my arms for awhile and when that didn't work I went to step 4 I held her down to the ground and pluck out a tail feather! That got her attention! She stopped attacking me and the pecking order in the flock even calmed down. But when that lead hen sounds the alarm, they all run for cover! I had a hawk in the yard the other day and they paid very close attention to her. I watched them all shoot back into the coop and she stood at the run gate and watched the hawk. I stepped outside and it flew away. So there is reason for the pecking order especially if you don't have a roo which I don't. Oh and my girls are completely contained so the hawk did stand a chance! [​IMG]
  4. K-9Dog

    K-9Dog Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2012
    I have been ddealing with 2 aggressive RIR's and my 2 new golden comets. the one is much better but the bottom of the barrel one is not laying - only 3 eegs in a month and she gets picked on so much and literally roosts most of the day on the coop door. doesn't want to go down on the ground to eat and scratch due to their threats. I had step in again yesterday with a little plastic leaf rake to shoo them away when they went after the weakest one. set them straight for most of the day thereafter. But she is terrified of the 2 RIR's.

    sucks! they have been together for a month now so I was hoping this time would be helping. But...
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    You could always put peepers on the more aggressive hens to give the picked-on one a break. Sometimes it seems like it's habitual when hens really beat up one particular bird, and peepers can help break that cycle.
  6. K-9Dog

    K-9Dog Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2012
    sorry - what are peepers? seen that term before but never checked it out.
  7. HiddenChicken

    HiddenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Type peepers into the search engine here on BYC & on Google & you'll get more info, but basically, peepers (a.k.a. pinless peepers)are little "sunglasses" :)D...that's what they look like, they're really just blinders) that clip to the birds nostrils on its beak. The "lens area" is opaque plastic & blocks the bird's frontal view, so it can only see peripherally. This inhibits attacks and feather plucking on other birds. Works well. Some say it's a bit painful for the bird when applying them & if they hit them on something, but the bird adapts & its better than having a tormented or dead bird, IMO.

    After a couple weeks, you remove them & see if the bird's behavior has changed towards it's flock mate. If not, back on they go! I've even heard of people using them permanently. But, at that point, maybe a cull of the flock would be better... Dunno. :rolleyes:

    All I know is I have a feather plucker right now... Likes to pluck the neck feathers on two of my other birds & I'm about to order these & see if they work!;)

    ETA: Just bought some off eBay. Got 10 for $4...$6.20 w/ shipping. Also found them online in pkg of 100 for $20. Hope they get here chickens are gonna need scarves if they don't! lol...
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  8. K-9Dog

    K-9Dog Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2012
    Ok thank you!!!
  9. HiddenChicken

    HiddenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just an update in case anyone reads this & wants to know how the peepers worked... And, BTW, I had two pickers--my top hen was doing the pecking-order thing & making lots of scabs on the others' combs, & my leghorn was the neck feather picker. :rolleyes:

    So, the far, so good! :D No further feather loss has occurred. Shut that feather picking *right* down! Both birds are growing their feathers Ameraucana is getting her beard again! Yay! :lol: And, my top hen is no longer so mean to her underlings.

    So, in short, the pinless peepers worked a (small) miracle & are doing what they're supposed to. No more picking, pecking, or feather eating... I'll keep them on for the suggested time (3 months) & probably through the winter to prevent "coop boredom" problems, since they've already demonstrated the propensity to pick/peck on each other.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  10. kaylee gee

    kaylee gee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2012
    Lehigh Acres, FL
    i feel your pain! in July i hatched out an americauna chick, a pullet. i introduced her to my existing flock when she was about 4 months old (there was a fox problem before that, so she stayed in an enclosure in the house, which is why she is the only really friendly one). the two Cochin hens (undeniably the "lead hens" in the flock) and the bantam Cochin rooster had no problem with her at all. however, my new Hampshire red hen was so aggressive that my little pullet was constantly trying to fly the coop. i had so many problems with that hen that she was going to be eaten for thanksgiving, and i was about to have to make a separate coop for my pullet. (the red would not allow the pullet into the coop at night, wouldn't let her eat or drink, unless i was standing there).

    BUT! Yesterday I found my first egg! (they are 35 weeks old, discounting the pullet) And of course it was the red who laid it. She has not had an aggressive bone in her body since she laid that first egg. The pullet is even sitting under the coop for shade with the rest of the flock, something she was never allowed to do before!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

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