Lowest chicken in the pecking order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by svalentine, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. svalentine

    svalentine Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2010
    Efland NC
    I have a RR that seems to be lowest in the pecking order. The other hens seem to pick on her a lot. But recently one in particular is getting her down on the ground and pecking at the back of her head. It is to the point now where she is loosing "hair" and is almost bald.
    I have no idea what to do about this. I have considered getting rid of the offending chicken. Or seperating the lowest chicken to her own area.
    Any suggestions short of a helmet?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds to me like you have a rooster in the mix and he is trying to mate with her.
     
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Sometimes a dominant hen will mimic rooster mating behavior - I have a BO that does this with the pullets to let them know she is boss.

    To the OP, I have found space to be your best friend. The only time I've had an issue like this was when we had snow on the ground for a week. The hens didn't want to leave the coop but got so "coop bound" they pecked the feathers from the back of the neck of the lowest hen in the pecking order. As soon as the snow cleared and they were able to get back out and free-range, they found better things to do with their time and left her alone. Is there any way you can increase the amount of space they all have?
     
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Use blue-kote on the chicken with lost feathers and remove the bully for a few days.
     
  5. svalentine

    svalentine Out Of The Brooder

    80
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    Apr 28, 2010
    Efland NC
    The girls have so much space. The orchard area is 20'x80' for 12 hens. They also have another area that is attached to the hen house. Space doesn't seem to be the issue.
    The bully hen has always been aggressive and not very friendly. At times I've been tempted to let her "free range" and take my chances with whether she comes back alive.
    I couldn't decide whether to remove the bully or the one being picked on.
    What is Blu-Kote? And how would I put it on a chicken that is very skiddish from being picked at so much?
     
  6. svalentine

    svalentine Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2010
    Efland NC
    Oh PS
    These are almost year old hens. No roosters in the mix.
     
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Blu-Kote is an antiseptic spray. The "blue" ingredient is gentian violet so it turns the skin a deep blue/purplish color, which discourages pecking from the others. Since it is a spray, you wouldn't necessarily have to hold her to use it - just get close enough to spray it on. And wear gloves or your hands will be stained for a day or two. It should be available at your feed store. Not sure about pet stores but you could try there too.
     
  8. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    It is a wound dressing and you put it on carefully - because it stains everything! Catch the chicken at bedtime, wrap her in a towel so she can't flap around and apply with her over an old towel or dirt or something.


    (I buy the liquid with a built in applicator in the lid - more potential for spills - but it was cheaper.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  9. svalentine

    svalentine Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2010
    Efland NC
    Thanks for the quick responses. I think I've seen the Blu Kote at Southern States but didn't know what it was for.
    Will there always be a "lowest" chicken that will get picked on? And to this extent?
    If I were to get rid of the bully chicken will the others live in harmony?
    I feel bad for the poor bald chicken.
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Remove the mean hen from the flock for a few days to a week. This will lower her on the pecking order, then when she's added back in, she'll get some abuse and maybe knock some sense into her.
     

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