How to stop older hens from bullying younger hens?


In the Brooder
May 15, 2019
I recently got 2 young hens, both of them are around 2-3 months old.
My older hens are around 1 year and 4 months old, and they won't stop bullying the younger ones. The little ones are too scared to even come out and drink water.
What should I do?

red horse ranch

6 Years
Jan 24, 2014
Buffalo Wyoming
I have found that pullets don't really join the adults until they start laying eggs. And it is typical for adult hens to harass young ones some. The young ones need a safe area and some space where they can get away from the older hens. If they are all confined in a small space your young ones are too scared of the adults to get out and move around. If they can't go out to drink then you need to have extra feed and water where they can get to it. If the adults draw blood then they will have to be separated until the pullets are older.;)

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
southern Michigan
Welcome! your chicks are way too young to just move out there! Have them at your coop, but fenced in a separate area, for at least a few weeks. Are they all feathered out, or do they still need a heat source?
After a few weeks, they can be let out to mingle when all the birds are outside, and gradually they will get along.
At least two separate feeders and waterers are necessary, so the babies have their own away from the hens. These pullets won't be able to cope with the hens for a while, and don't make everyone miserable.
How much space do you have in your coop and run? Dimensions? Pictures?
Last edited:


Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
How much space do you have in your coop and run? Dimensions? Pictures?
Yes, please, this^^^

..and here's some tips about....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

Oh, and....... Welcome to BYC! @hot_breakfast
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