Older hen pecking and blocking coop from younger hens


Jan 12, 2016
I have 12 hens (4 just over a year, 8 just about 6 months) When we introduced them they were separated by chicken wire for approximately 2 months. They free range during the day and get put up at night. One of my older hens a black sexlink is extremely mean to the younger hens. I had noticed a few mean moments with the older hen, but initially thought nothing of it. Figured they were establishing pecking order. But then I noticed that one older hen was chasing the younger hens out of the coop at night.(once dark enough the younger could get in the coop. But then last week the older hen pinned one of the young hens and was pecking it. So I separated it from the rest of the flock for 4 days, and then allowed it back with the rest of the hens. Last night (after 2 days of being back) the older hen was running around the coop chasing the younger hens, she got ahold of one and had it pinned. So I once again have it separate from the others. Also i believe that as a result of this behavior the younger hens (a couple recently started laying) are not laying their eggs in the coop. I found a nest of about 8 after watching one of the younger hens walk from behind a bush. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you.


Mar 10, 2016
Instead of separating the one getting bullied, separate the bully. Keep her where she cannot see the others for a couple of weeks, and hopefully she will go down in the pecking order. Another thought is to put pin-less peepers on the bully, which will prevent her from seeing straight ahead, and should help.


12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
Sun City, California
yes if one bird is causing the problems, isolate that one, for as long as you can- over a week so the youngsters can get more comfortable and get a routine established.

as for egg laying elsewhere, this is not necessarily due to bullying, it is a natural instinct for them to seek out spots to make nests. If there are a lot of nice spots about the yard and they get hit with the urge to lay an egg, they are naturally much more likely to look about for those spots, especially if it is a situation of many soft/secluded spots around the yard and the nest boxes in the coop are so exposed and bright. the only real way to alter this habit is to keep the new layers locked up, basically forcing them to choose the nest boxes and hopefully they will make a new habit of using them instead of the outside locations.

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