OK...it's been a week and...


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
Morris County, NJ
a week ago last night i put in 2 new hens (Barred Rock & Ameraucana 5-6 months old ) with my other 6 RIR's I got the week before so everyone is relatively new. However, one hen in particular ( i have named her Newman like the character from Seinfeld because she is THAT pesky) keeps going after the new hens, trying but failing to pull out feathers and peck but not drawing any blood.

i have tried putting her in a dog crate in the coop for a few days to chill out but she goes right back to being nasty. she is also one of my most consistent layers and the new hens arent laying yet so i am torn. the flock dynamic without newman is completely different, peaceful, quiet, and everyone seems to get along.

it seems like the new hens are always looking over their shoulders for the RIRs to push them out of the way of treats, corn, etc. and the new ones always retreat to the coop for solace.

also, when newman is in the dog crate, she knocks everything over, including her water and food dish I have on bricks...

I guess I am asking for advice on what to do to alleviate a stressful situation for everyone (including me)...

They also have been laying less...could this be due to all the dark and gloomy rainy days the past few days? stress? less light in coop?

Trying to get them to lay in nesting boxes with golf balls and they scratch them to the side, sleep in there, and then lay on the floor!

I am new to all this so any and all suggestions are appreciated!!!
It is an unfortunate fact that the pecking order HAS to be established, and it's far worse on us indulgent and loving people who keep chickens than it is on our chickens. To them, it's nature. The longer we muck with that process, the more we contribute to the length of it.

Pecking, feather pulling without injury is MILD pecking order behavior. We have to let them go through it. We have to allow a certain amount of Chicken Ranking Processes to let them be chickens.

Here are the steps:
1. Let them go through it. Yah, it's tough on us.
2. Look for real injury - remove any chicken who gets bloodied! Treat the injury with Blu-Kote (assuming it's just minor injury because you intervened). Put 'em back into the flock. Repeat step #1.
3. Provide extra feeders and waterers for a while, so the High Ranking chickens cannot starve out the lower ranking chickens.

Honest. I cringe and go "Eek!" every time I see the High Seniority Hens peck at a lower seniority pullet. But they gotta learn where they are in the flock pecking order. Pulling a feather now and then is also part of it. It's nature, and the Chicken Way, which is not The Way People Want It To Be.

Good luck!
Thanks for the help... I agree with you that I cringe and just want the best for them all!

I will place out an extra feeder and waterer for the interim.

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