MeanChickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cloversnatcher, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Cloversnatcher

    Cloversnatcher In the Brooder

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Chatsworth, Georgia
    Dear Friends,
    I need advice about an ongoing pecking order issue within the flock.
    18 months ago, I inherited 10, one week old Andalusian chicks. Raised in a brooder in the house until 3 months, then moved to an intermediary coop outside. Four were male, so we gave three away, keeping the prime rooster. At five months, we moved the pullets to a larger coop, with a good sized covered run. At six months, the rooster became combative toward me, so we gave him away, leaving six hens. One of the hens suddenly died, reason unknown, she had seemed healthy... leaving five. Soon after, four of the hens started picking on the smallest hen. One night they bloodied her head so badly that we pulled her out and placed her in the smaller coop to heal and grow back her feathers. Once healthy, we tried to reintroduce her to the flock. No luck, same thing, they really hurt her overnight, she had a bad wound on her head. So we pulled her back out, got her healthy again and introduced three pullets to her in the smaller coop, hoping she might have her own protective flock.
    At that point, three of the other Andalusian hens started picking on one, so we thought maybe they needed more space, we started free ranging them. In two days, they drove off the one they were picking on, and she refused to come in the coop that night, roosting in a nearby tree. Next morning she was just gone, leaving the three mean Andalusians, now free ranging and sleeping in the smaller coop at night.
    The little one and her new flock were in the bigger coop, two turned out to be roosters, so we removed one, they were fine together. After a while we free ranged everyone during the day when possible. Everyone now seemed to be getting along just fine, five hens and a rooster, and they all decided to roost together in the larger coop. For a while, it seemed like the problem was resolved and the Rhode Island Red rooster seemed to be keeping the peace.
    Today, it was raining really hard and they all chose to stay inside, when I went to check on them in the afternoon, the smallest hen had literally no feathers on her back and she's walking in a very submissive manner, crouched down to the ground whenever the two meanest are near her. They don't let her or the other new hen eat, in spite of there being lots of food and water dispensers to choose from... wherever they try to eat they are run off. They are not plucking at the new hen, she's a big fat R.I.R, but she's completely intimidated by them.
    Unfortunately, we are heading into some really cold weather and the smaller coop is not suitable for sub-zero temperatures, what can we do?
    All of our hens lay an egg every day as a rule, and all are valued and loved... but I'm starting to think we may need to remove one, or some... fellow chicken lovers and experts, what do you suggest?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    It seems unlikely that the over dominating behavior of the aggressive hens is ever going to change. Do an on site search on Pin Less Peepers - they work. That, separation, or rehoming seem like the only possible solutions. Good luck.
     
  3. Cloversnatcher

    Cloversnatcher In the Brooder

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Chatsworth, Georgia
    Thank you sourland, I actually now believe it's the rooster, after watching him mount the small hen this morning, he's doing the damage to her back and legs. The others are going after the blood on her comb where he's pecked her. Poor little thing, she can't catch a break! I'm going to put her in an isolation crate within the big coop to heal. Then we'll take it from there, possibly putting peepers on the mean ones, if she gets better. Failing that, rehoming may have to happen. I appreciate your suggestions very much x
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Might be good to isolate him.

    Seeing your setup, dimensions and pics, might garner some suggestions.

    Oh, and, Welcome to BYC!
    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
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  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Try bringing in another Rooster. Roosters don't tolerate bad behaviour if he is a good Rooster.
     
  6. Cloversnatcher

    Cloversnatcher In the Brooder

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Chatsworth, Georgia
    We actually had two, but gave one away because we only have five chickens and it was just too much rooster for them!
     
    aart likes this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Another Rooster Really?!?! :lol:
    Not a good idea IMO...but couldn't resist the 'really' play.
     
    chickens really likes this.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Come on..;)..I'm sure you understood my reply..:frow Really...:plbb
     
    aart likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I did but there's already a rooster so another one not good idea IMO.

     
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