Mean Leghorn Hens! What can be done?

Revan

Songster
Jul 3, 2017
170
184
146
Modoc County, California
We have one really nice leghorn hen that we got with our original layer flock. My mom loves her so much, last year we decided to get some more leghorns. 11 hens and 1 rooster to be exact. These were purchased from Ideal hatchery. We had hoped they would be similar in personality to our first leghorn girl, but they are far from it.

They don't peck us really, but we had to move them out of the coop when they got older because they were literally tearing apart our other hens and roosters! Bloody wings and butts and feathers all over the place. They even went after our original leghorn girl. We ended up building another coop just to move them all out because the damage got so severe we thought we'd have to euthanize some of our flock. As it is, even after some months, I have some birds with bald spots where feathers never grew back.

The hens are now pecking on the lone leghorn rooster we bought alongside them and keep tearing out all his tail feathers. We quarantine him in a cage inside the same coop for him to heal, and when we let him out again and everything is fine for a week or two, then he's bloody all over again. Is this normal leghorn behavior? If not, is there anything I can do to change their behavior?
 

cavemanrich

Enabler
Apr 6, 2014
15,506
49,366
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Melrose Park Illinois
Only thing that may change their behavior is a site like this..


Well, I hope you did get a slight chuckle from this.
I had leghorn chicken before, and she was very nice with the other mixed flock of my chickens. I only keep them as pets.
I am wondering if your problem may be overcrowding. Not sure how many chickens you house in what amount of room??? What may look like fine to us is not always viewed same from the chicken's perspective.
WISHING YOU BEST.......:thumbsup
 

Revan

Songster
Jul 3, 2017
170
184
146
Modoc County, California
Heh. I did chuckle a little at that, thank you. ^_^

I doubt it's a space issue. The coop we built for them was an add-on to our pump house and is approximately 12ft by 6ft (walk-in) and also has a run. For 12 birds, that should be more than plenty I would think. Some of my other coops are smaller and those birds don't have any issues regarding fights and pecking each other bloody. It's just the leghorns doing, and really just the hens. The rooster is rather nice, though flighty.
 

cavemanrich

Enabler
Apr 6, 2014
15,506
49,366
1,207
Melrose Park Illinois
I know of leghorn to be less than willing to be a lap chickens like other breeds. Maybe it is just that particular strain that you have that is so mean. They should not be very friendly but not mean. Lets see what others think.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,239
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My Coop
Sounds like maybe a crowding and/or nutrition problem.
Why the multiple 'roosters'?

Knowing more about your goals for keeping chickens,

your flock size(numbers, ages, genders),

your coop(size in feet by feet with pics),

and what and how exactly you are feeding,

might offer clues to if there is a solvable problem.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
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CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Agreed with Aart, complete details, including Protein percentage, and mill date of feed, also, what are you giving them in addition to their feed, and how much?

I've never had aggression issues, so never tried them, but some have had luck with pinless peepers. but, first address the problem from a nutritional/space and set up angle.

Final solution would be chicken barbecue.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
May 3, 2009
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What are you feeding ? High production birds sometimes need a higher % protein than layer feed provides.
 

XanderWiFi

Songster
Aug 6, 2017
299
343
131
Central Virginia
We purchased a 12x6 amish coop with the walk in run, walk in coop in the back and the run even had space underneath the coop as well. While they advertised it as having enough space for 12-16 birds; and it technically is enough space for the 10 I had at the time; I found that the small amount of behavioral issues of pecking order fights etc. completely stopped when I added our run. I do not even know who is top bird and who is low bird now because they all can get as much space from one another as they want.
 

love4mychickens

Songster
Dec 25, 2017
110
168
131
Massachusetts
I had had 1 Leghorn before (she passed) and she was the sweetest thing! I mixed her in with a couple of RIR's and she was fine (I favored her :)). Is it the other birds pecking at the one leghorn or the other way around. She could be feeling left out from being favored so much and then having all these other birds. But that's just a possibility I was thinking. Good luck! I'm hoping it's just a phase. ( If chickens have phases?)
 

RUNuts

Smiling. I'm up to something.
May 19, 2017
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State of Confusion
I ordered 8 Leghorns (4 white + 4 Ideal 236) from Ideal 10 months ago and other than losing one due to health, they are getting along fine with the 10 others. I was concerned with behavior issues, so have a large run with 17 chickens. The Leghorns are top birds followed by the Bared Rocks - mostly. The red girls are lower on the order.

No one has been bloodied after the hormones settled down. The POL pecking was minor. Bloodied combs, but nothing past that. Everyone is laying and we get 6 white eggs and 6-8 brown ones a day.

To your question, the ideal birds from last year aren't aggressive in my yard. Check space and nutrition?

Best wishes!
 

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