Mean chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amk123, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. amk123

    amk123 New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2016
    Boston Area
    I live in a city so I have 4 girls. 2 speckled wyandottes and 2 solid ones. Initially they seemed to pair up that way - the speckled ones together but nothing mean going on. They were about 1 year old and I was thinking to myself that it wasn't that obvioius who the leader was which was very nice. Now it has changed dramatically. It is 3 girls against 1 and it's pretty bad. I thought perhaps she may be ill but it's been going on now for over a month. There is a downspout in their coop and this is the only place she is allowed to spend her time. As soon as she gets down all 3 will go after her. She is petrified. So when I get home from work I go out into their run and she comes down immediately. Then I will open the people door to their coop and she runs in and eats like no tomorrow. I monitor them over the weekend and isolate the mean ones at times in a cat carrier but that doesn't seem to work. The one who is being picked on has always been the friendliest chicken. Any ideas. We put a separate water container near the downspout for her.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    How big is your setup? And do they free range? I would suspect boredom and pent up energy. Everything is new to young chickens, but after a year old they can become mentally and physically bored. If they don't have ways to stay busy all day doing chicken things they can start to become aggressive. Wyandotte are a breed commonly mentioned as one that doesn't do well in smaller set ups. Rhode island reds are another breed to avoid if you are only keeping a few and don't have a lot of room.
     
  3. amk123

    amk123 New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2016
    Boston Area
    Thank you - that makes perfect sense to me. Their coop is big enough for lots more chickens and was very well made with a nice roof, windows, ventilation system, etc. But the outside I can see where they would become bored. We could let them out in the yard after work and on weekends with supervision. It's worth a try. The yard is mostly a pool but there is all around the perimeter that they could entertain themselves. Not sure if they would be trying to jump over a 6 foot fence. Our dog seems to be good with them on the occasion when one would slip out. The cat - not sure -. We were just afraid that after letting them out they would be more miserable in the run. But it seems they are anyway. But again thanks for your input. We try to change things with hanging beans, etc. a swing which they pay no attention to but that's okay. And the treats of course. I'm not good with guestimating the size of the whole set up but if i had to I would say 15 feet by 24 feet.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

    18,219
    6,959
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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    That's a decent size. If you can't let them out daily or it's just not a good idea, you could add things to the run to keep them busy. I throw out scratch twice a day, digging holes and turning the ground can give them stuff to do. Giving them handfuls of grass clipping, weeds pulled up from the garden, heads of lettuce or cabbage, and other food treats can help. Things to get up on or under or in, like logs, extra perches, chairs, big buckets weighted with sand, can give places for your picked on girl to go. If your run is covered than feeding platforms can be built so she can get some food.
     
  5. amk123

    amk123 New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2016
    Boston Area
    Thanks so much for your help and suggestions. Last night after work we let them out - so entertaining but I think that is the ticket. Mostly it will be on the weekends but they seemed so happy and busy. We did it about an hour before dark so there was no problem getting them back in. Again thanks and have a great rest of summer!!!
     

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