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Mother hen picking on her own offspring! Help! :(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pumpkinglow, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. pumpkinglow

    pumpkinglow Hatching

    Sep 28, 2010
    Hello, folks at BackYardChickens...!

    I am new here- and i was prompted to join, not just because of my love of chickens, but because there has been a little problem with my mothers's chickens...

    First, a little backstory:

    We started out with Rufus, a handsome bantam rooster. My father brought him home as a gift for my mom about two years back, now. He soon became lonely, though, so we adopted Roxanne- a sweet, gentle bantam hen. The two hit it off immediately, and were very happy together.

    We live in a very rural area.. and because of the many outdoor predators in our area, the chickens were not allowed outside of their run that my dad had made, untill one day, upon feeding them, the two escaped. They proved to be fine, though- and so for the past 6 months or so we'd let them free roam in the day, and come in at night.

    Fast forward to this late spring/early summer. Our beautiful chickens hatched TWELVE, count it, TWELVE gorgeous chicks! Let me tell you, it was one of the greatest things i'd ever experienced- watching the little ones grow, and the like...

    However, w e could not keep them all. ): So, with a heavy heart, most of them were adopted out to my mom's co-worker- save for one, a little female we named "Rachel."

    Everything was absolutely wonderful. Rufus made such a wonderful mate to Roxanne, and a great father to little Rachel. He never picked on the little dear, at all- in fact, he seemed content to sit a short distance off, and watch his hen and chick enjoy the summer days together.

    All of this w as shattered, however, when one day, my dad called us all outside because he'd heard a ruckus- and despite almost a whole day of searching, and several hopeful nights spent, Rufus never returned. We assume a fox got him... I assume, however, that he bravely charged whatever threatened his family, and he laid down his own life to protect them. He was just like that, you see... A wonderful and sweet rooster who'd eat from my hand without hesitation or malice, through and through.

    (This is him- bless his roostery-soul.)



    So now all we have is Roxanne, the hen, and her growing-up chick, Rachel.

    Things have been relatively fine for the two- save for my mother being afraid to let them out of the run, ever since what happened to Rufus.

    So, you see, naturally, things have gotten a little 'cooped up' for the two, or so what i think... and much to my mother's dismay, Roxanne, in the past few days or so, has been bullying poor Rachel around. Nothing 'physical' (thank goodness,) so far- but Rachel has been sorta cooped up in the boxed-in/house end of the run, while Roxanne takes free rule over all that space... If Rachel comes down to peck at the ground, or get some food and water while Roxanne isn't resting- Roxanne just chases her back into the corner!

    So, this is where we are, now. ):
    I am so very worried that this behavior will escalate into physical picking-on, or the likes...

    What would you guys suggest my mother/we do?

    My own explination for this behavior, is the combination of being cooped in since our Rooster was killed, along with Roxanne maybe being 'fed up' having her chick never 'leave the nest'...? I don't know, maybe I am putting to much thought into this, haha. ;_;

    Anyhow, please help..! Any advice or explinations on Roxanne's behavior would be very much welcome.

    (And please, don't be harsh- I don't know much at all about raising chickens, myself... I am mostly here, asking you all in my mother's stead, and hoping that we can prevent further bullying in our tiny flock. ;-; )


    This is a video my younger sister took of Roxanne and her babies, months back. Just so you all can see how cute they are, I suppose. ;-;

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Sounds as if she is weaning the chick. She will probably start laying again soon. You don't mention how large the pen is. They may also need more space.
  3. pumpkinglow

    pumpkinglow Hatching

    Sep 28, 2010
    Quote:You know, this is kind of what I was thinking, too... Will she stop? If she (Roxanne) starts laying properly again, will her picking on her chick cease, or at least slow down?

    The pen could stand to be larger, that's for sure. (It's not horribly small or anything, though- Roxanne and Rufus lived happily in it together, afterall) If they had more space, do you think this'd cut down on Roxanne's behavior, though?
  4. kano

    kano Songster

    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    In a chicken flock (and two individuals is a flock) there are a top hen and a second and a third, and so on. In yours, the mother is the top, and its very normal for her to demostrate it. You say it's not phisical,yet. If it comes to ,do not worry. Some pecking is part of their natural behaviour.
  5. prancie

    prancie Songster

    May 29, 2009
    i've noticed with moms and chicks that one day the moms are cuddly and sweet and the next day the chicks are like strangers to them. it's funny and sort of sad. so that is normal. if i were you i'd get a new rooster.

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