How to stop hen from getting pecked on so much?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by flockoffour, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. flockoffour

    flockoffour Chillin' With My Peeps

    176
    6
    96
    Jun 28, 2012
    West Coast
    I have four hens, and the one at the bottom of hte pecking order has been getting very over-abused lately by one of the other flock members. This hasn't been a problem in the past, and they have always had plenty of space to scratch, forgage, etc. But lately one of my hens has been going after the other one for almost no apparent reason, constantly pulling out her feathers and now there is a big bald spot on her head. I undertsand that chicknes peck like this naturally, but this has been very over abusive, and I am not sure what to do about it. Thanks.
     
  2. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    3,091
    622
    298
    Jul 9, 2009
    Auvergne
    I would separate the abusive hen for a few days... hopefully this will remedy her attacking the other one.... it can dramatically change the pecking order.

    Suzie
     
  3. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    I just read an article in BYP magazine where someone suggested providing a bale of alfalfa hay (don't cut it open, just leave it whole) to dissipate excess energy which causes chickens to be more likely to abuse each other during the winter months.

    Have you ever watched the Dog Whisperer? Exercise, Discipline, Affection. When dogs chew or have other obsessive compulsive issues, Cesar recommends more exercise. The bale of alfalfa does the same thing, it gives them something to work at, without really providing a lot more calories. Either that, or you're gonna have to rig some kind of poultry treadmill.
     
  4. flockoffour

    flockoffour Chillin' With My Peeps

    176
    6
    96
    Jun 28, 2012
    West Coast
    Thanks for the tips, I'll see what works and post back.
     
  5. egghead@1265

    [email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    4
    83
    Oct 24, 2011
    U.S.
    Let us know, as I am looking for solutions as well!

    Must be the hens don't like winter as much either!

    Everyone gets tired of being penned or pent up!
     
  6. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

    685
    2
    131
    Mar 22, 2010
    NH
    Def. take the bully out. I go and give her a little push when I see my bully acting up. And yes the hens are bored in winter, most coop sizes they give as a good size are fine for summer but not for winter when the hens are in a lot. I do the hay thing works great, gets them out into the pen too since the hay stops their feet from touching the snow. my girls don't like cold feet. With four hens a bail will last a while and is pretty cheap. Then throw treats or feed into the hay for them to scratch a. Also, half heads of cabbage or lettuce gives them something to peck at besides each other. Make sure your girls are eating well in the winter, sometimes when they are cold they won't eat, you have to stimulate the environment to get them to move and eat. Also, set up two feed and water stations so the weaker hens have a better chance at getting to food.
     
  7. chickenwalker

    chickenwalker Out Of The Brooder

    64
    0
    29
    Jun 18, 2012
    Jackson, MI
    I've got 9 hens and no roos. One EE hen (Ducky, bottom of the pecking order) has been pecked on so much the last couple of days that she has a large bald spot on her head. Prior to the balding, someone had slowly removed all off Ducky's beard and muff over the previous month or so. I spend time several times each day with the girls but everyone seems on good behavior when I'm around (maybe because I'm the food/treat lady).

    Anyway, how can I determine for sure who is doing the pecking? I don't think it is the alpha hen. I've seem a few clues that it might be someone else Could it be girl #3 and not girl #1 who is the problem? I don't want to segregate the wrong hen because that might make matters worse.

    Also, I'm from Michigan and the weather has been below 0 several times in the past week. The girls did need to stay cooped up for a day or two but even when I was comfortable opening the hatch door, no one would venture out in the severe weather.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by