I Have a Chick Terrorizer (19 Weeks)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by speckledegg728, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. speckledegg728

    speckledegg728 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2016
    Rural Ohio.
    I've talked about this before, but she's really out of hand at this point.

    My Speckled Sussex, Pippa, is doing her best to take a chunk out of my chicks. The chicks are 7 weeks old now, and were introduced to the coop at 3 weeks. They live in a pen that sits adjacent to the bigger pen we have for the pullets, but is separated by chicken wire, thin fence posts, etc.

    I took the advice I'd gotten previously here and installed a small door in this area so that the chicks could go back and forth between the two pens, with the hopes that they would integrate themselves with the pullets and eventually live in peace. I made the door a bit smaller than the dimensions recommended, but my pullets still manage to fit their way into the chick's area. Namely, Pippa.

    Now, whether Pippa is in her pen or on the chick's side, all she is interested in is biting and chasing the chicks. I've sat in there and watched her scope them out. If Pippa is removed from the situation, everything goes okay. There's some standard bullying going on, but the chicks manage themselves. But if the chicks even see Pippa, they let out a little "eeep!" and get as far away from her as they can. She will NOT focus on anything else if she and the chicks are in the same area.

    Pippa has started to lay and is giving us some pretty steady eggs, which I think is impressive for the age she started at; 18 weeks. Is this just her being crazy? Should I just wait it out for when the chicks are bigger and can hold their ground better?

    I'm just worried they are outgrowing their little chick living space. I don't want them to be crammed in there, but I also don't want them to be terrorized by Pippa all day.

    As of now, the door I made is closed.

    Please let me know what you think would be best to do. Thank you.
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    I would lock her in the chicks pen for a week or so. It'll "remove" her from the pecking order so she'll need to be the cautious one when she's let back in. Keep her seperated, but not in total isolation.

    Letting them out to free-range for a few hours can give them other things to focus on, and give the newbies room to run away.

    She reminds me of our little OEGB girl, Lady Jane. She would beat up or speckled sussex cockerel til he was.... older, and when he finally "grew up" he almost flattened her. After that incident she was much more agreeable with all the chicks who were teaching her how to free-range. Maybe get an older hen off craigslist who will put her in her place (if you can)? Roosters can also help with pecking order issues (if you can have them in your area).

    Here are a few links that might help:

    Hope this helps, and [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    so they've had access to each other for about a month?

    Has she injured any of the chicks? Or just harassed them?

    If she's not injured any, I'd leave things as they are. This is what animals do. Life is hard when you're a little, with no parent to provide for or defend you. But they're getting food and water. As they mature they'll establish a place in the social order. And as she matures, her hormones will settle and she won't be so cranky.

    Or, you can take the above suggestion. Separate her, and let the littles in with everyone else. Leave her apart for a week or two, then try again and see how things go.
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    X 2 -- the normal way of things in flock society often seems unfair and violent from our human perspective, but until/unless actual significant physical harm is being inflicted there is often more harm than good to be accomplished by interfering as doing so can, in the long run, simply prolong the process and make it even harder and more stressful overall for all of the flock.
  5. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    My two SS were just awful to newcomers. Their first newcomers were broody raised chicks when they were about 8mo old. Once the broody started separating herself (around 3 weeks for that group) one in particular was delighted to peck them every chance she got (see picture below).

    The second set (brooder chicks) got introduced to the flock in the 16-18 week range through a fence, then integrated. When I introduced the brooder raised teenagers, the hen in the picture had a knockdown-drag-out fight with then 20 week (or so) cockerel to the point that she almost couldn't stand because she was so intent on doing him in that she was exhausted- and wouldn't quit. It was HER picking the fight, not him. He kept trying to walk away but she wouldn't let him- he wasn't trying to do her harm, just defending himself.

    That led to a separation for a day while everyone chilled out and regained their energy overnight, then I tried again- it looked like it was going to be round #2, but he squared off with her once that second day -- and she just stopped. And by that I mean she never did anything but be an obedient member of the flock from then on, much nicer to everybody.

    I did get rid of one of my Golden Laced Wyandottes (one of the teenagers from the 2nd group) because the two GLW's constantly cornered the younger birds so they could jump them and rip feathers out after they were weaned from their broody- the same chicks the Speckled went after, only then they were older.

    The final decision on getting rid of the one came when another broody hatched chicks. That one GLW followed the broody and her chicks around relentlessly- and would pick them up by the wing and fling them, and beat on the broody- there was never peace. She got rehomed and did fine in a group of 3 adult hens. The other one did keep following them, but didn't do more than the social pecking.

    So I guess it depends on the interaction you're seeing. To me, the constant harassment of the broody with chicks from the really bad GLW was much worse than the predicable hazing from the Speckled (who respected the broodies) -- I didn't like either, but there was a definite difference in intent and intensity.

    Now everyone's laying age and everything is just fine, minus the icky GLW.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I would remove any bird like this from my flock....permanently. A persistent bully is just never tolerated here, for any reason. The peace of the other birds in the flock is too valuable to me to let one bird disrupt it for all the rest. That especially goes for bullies of chicks....there's just never any excuse for that, particularly when they are wee little.
    1 person likes this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How big is the space you have, in feet by feet....for how many chickens?
    Places for the youngers to get up and away and/or out of line of sight?
    Pics would help.

    I'd put Pippa in a wire crate.....or maybe put her in the chick space and let the chicks stay with the main flock.
    Newly laying pullets can have raging hormones, pecking orders change, fights and aggression can increase.

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