Momma Hen being picked on!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickensalad35, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. chickensalad35

    chickensalad35 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 8, 2016
    I have a sweet hen I call Elsa who hatched 4 chicks 2 weeks ago. She and her chicks are kept separate from the rest of the flock in a section of the coop, but I let them all out to free range when I'm home to supervise. I have never noticed any bullying going on until now! There are a couple hens (I have 8 total), that will go after her! There is one in particular that despite Elsa's attempt to defend herself, this hen will not let up. Is it possible for a hen to lose rank when she goes broody and while she's got chicks to care for? Will this be an issue once she rejoins the flock? I'm nervous about placing mom and babies with the others because of what I've seen. How old should the chicks be before I place them in the larger enclosure with the others? My poor Elsa!
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hens can certainly lose rank when separated from the flock. Here's a link that may help (not specific to your situation, but should be relevant)

    I would not separate the chicks from momma. Its better for both chicks and hen to part naturally, i.e. momma decides she's had enough of being a mum (she will no longer brood them to keep them warm).
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I had this happen with a broody I separated.
    She was a mid ranking hen before.
    Kept her separated by wire while incubating then a couple weeks after hatch I took down the barrier.

    She got attacked by one higher ranking hen when she went to use the feeder,
    it was a vicious battle, neither would back down.

    Cockbird tried to break it up but couldn't, so I did.
    Just shoved off the attacking hen and 'pecked' her on the head with my finger tips until she retreated.
    Broody went back to her nest, chicks were never attacked.

    This happen 3 times total with 3 different hens.
    After that it was over, broody mama reveled a bit in her new status, chasing off other hens with any ill intents.
    Cockbird also helped with this.

    Basically it was a pecking order thing.

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