Mean White Rock Hen

redleif

Hatching
7 Years
Sep 24, 2012
9
0
7
Columbus, Mississippi
I need some advice:
I have twenty-five hens; five australorps, five dominiques, five buff orpingtons, five NH reds, and five white rocks. They'll be six months old on 4/16. I've been raising them since they were a day old. They've been laying for about two weeks now. They have a very large, fenced/netted pen and a coup. We've never had a problem with their behavior - until now. One of the white rocks is MEAN! She's been pinning the other hens down and pulling the feathers from their necks. Sometimes, several of the other hens will run her off, but mostly, they just stay out of her way. She's walking around with dried blood around her wattle right now; I'm not sure if it's her blood, or another hen's, but none of the others look to be bleeding. I seriously don't think she's a rooster; she looks no different than the other white rocks (comb and wattles are the same size and feathers are the same length and shape). No crowing either. I'm assuming if she was a rooster, she'd be crowing by now. Since they're the same age and size, do you think I should just let them work it out among themselves or should I be stepping in somehow? They have leg bands so I've been watching to make sure it's just the one white rock - and it is. I know hens can be aggressive when they've just started laying, so this may be the case, and she'll get over herself eventually. I've not noticed any particular one being the "alpha", so she may have just appointed herself with that role. What should I do? If she keeps it up, I'm thinking of making a big pot of dumplings...


Any ideas or suggestions?
Donna @ Redleif Ranch
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
500
328
Ohio
Look for a product called "peepers." They sit on the chicken's nose and stop her from seeing the end of her beak, which stops her from plucking other hens' feathers. Often works miracles.

You can get a kind with a pin that runs through the nostrils, or "pinless peepers" that just clip on the nostrils. That's the kind we use. You can let the hen wear them full-time for a few weeks, then take them off and see if she's reformed. If she starts up the old behavior, she can wear peepers full time.

Peepers can be purchased in bulk from many poultry supply stores, or people on BYC have purchased small quantities off eBay.

This behavior has absolutely nothing to do with her having chicks. If she was going to hatch chicks, she'd be sitting in a corner on the eggs, not running around terrorizing other hens. This is not broody behavior, it's aggressive hen behavior. And if she doesn't knock it off, I agree with you that it's time to have a chicken dinner.


edited to add: There's a YouTube video out there of a woman who put google eyes on the peepers and then said they blinded her hens and the hens just sat around and she'd never use peepers again. If you watch, the google eyes are larger than the peepers. The woman herself made it so those hens couldnt' see by getting all cutesy with the google eyes, not the peepers as purchased. This video annoys the crud out of me. :)
 
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redleif

Hatching
7 Years
Sep 24, 2012
9
0
7
Columbus, Mississippi
Thanks for that advice - I'm going to get some peepers first and try them as you suggested. This chicken doesn't look like a rooster; it looks just like the other white Plymouth Rocks. I doubt it's a rooster and not a hen; although the thought did cross my mind - I looked at pictures of both just to be sure. I've read that some Rocks are mean; none of my others ones are though. We have a second pen and a smaller coop that I'm thinking of putting the Rocks in. Then, I'll get a white Rock roo and put him in with the hens (if I can find one about 6 months old that is - I don't want to have to raise him from a chick). I could get any breed of roo - but we may want to sell Rock chicks. It's still an option though; a neighbor has already offered me one of their Wyndotte roos...
A rooster would be sure to stop her mean behavior!


But then again, dumplings sure sound good...

Thanks again,
Donna
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
500
328
Ohio
You're probably right that a rooster would stop this hen's behavior. I've noticed that flocks that have no rooster get an alpha hen instead, and that she's often very aggressive. And I doubt ithis bird is a rooster. They just don't behave that way. Of course, if a rooster DID behave that way, he'd be on the menu immediately.

In the meantime, give the peepers a try. They're easy, non-permanent, and have worked miracles in my flock.

Best wishes!
Erika
 

redleif

Hatching
7 Years
Sep 24, 2012
9
0
7
Columbus, Mississippi
Thanks for your advice Erika! My husband just ordered some peepers. We're going to try them first and see if that works for her, if it doesn't, we'll adopt one of the neighbor's roosters to keep her in line. If all else fails, there's always the dumplings...
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
500
328
Ohio
Thanks for your advice Erika! My husband just ordered some peepers. We're going to try them first and see if that works for her, if it doesn't, we'll adopt one of the neighbor's roosters to keep her in line. If all else fails, there's always the dumplings...
Yum... I have 20 Cornish Rock cross and 5 Easter Egger cockerels in the meat pen right now. And 15 more Cornish X peeps coming the end of April. And one egg-eating hen that has a lifespan about 20 minutes longer than it will take me to figure out who it is...
 

redleif

Hatching
7 Years
Sep 24, 2012
9
0
7
Columbus, Mississippi
We're primarily raising our chickens for eggs and meat. When I get the Rocks in their separate pen, I'm going to introduce the rooster my neighbor has offered to give me and then we'll have some chicks too. Hopefully, the rooster will straighten out that mean Rock. But in the meantime, I'll put the peeps on her and see if that keeps her in line. Thanks again for your help!
 
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