Older Hen pecking her daughter's head...

Tucker91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
59
5
43
So we bought two lovely Buff silkies the other day from a breeder. Mom, 2 years old, and daughter, 9 months old and they have lived together (with others) their whole lives. I notice the Firefly, the Mom pecks Fozzy (daughter) on the head. I am sure it's a pecking order thing and it's not constant, but it's bothersome to me. She doesn't draw blood, just pecks her little head. Fozzy, just puts her head down in submission and will move away. I am quarantining them at the moment from my others, but feel they have plenty of space. We have them in the HUGE dog crate, large enough to comfortably fit a 75 pound dog and during the day, they are in a large dog pen. Again, it's not constant, but it's enough that I see it when I am out there...much of the time, they are fine and I find them laying together, but I don't want the smaller of the two to get hurt. Is there a way I can stop Firefly from doing this?
 

Jajika

Songster
12 Years
Dec 24, 2007
560
82
197
Northern California
I had a similar problem recently..not two related birds, but a couple picking on one of my younger, smaller adoptees.

I saw blood spots on her back and was really concerned.

It stopped being so bad, after about a week or so. My chickens have a lot of room to stay away from each other, and I think this helps. Funky (her name) can run and hide if she wants to. Also, I have three feeding stations so there is no problem for her to get food.

Hopefully your problem will settle down. If not, keeping them separated if possible is one solution....at least for a while.
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
20
113
Perhaps she is trying to break the bond in a manner that she wants her own personal space. The other one hasn't learned yet to stay out of the way. If she's constantly within pecking range she is to close. It sounds more like the young one may be the problem and the old one is just doing what's normal. None the less for me the water hose tends to straighten out a lot of problems like that. They hate getting squirted. Whatever the problem they instantly change course and run for their lives. There is a bit of cruelty to it but on the other hand they do stop and they learn to associate the bad behavior with a terrible thing that happens to them when they are doing it. Many of their lessons are learned from pain, just as the old one is trying to teach the young one and it's not getting through. We can't exactly whip them so scaring them with water is the best solution i have found that doesn't harm them. It doesn't solve every problem but it is a decent behavior modifier for certain things.
 

Jajika

Songster
12 Years
Dec 24, 2007
560
82
197
Northern California
Totally agree that a shpritz with water doesn't hurt them and certainly they don't like it.

I have used a squirt gun with water for bad behavior. Don't know if it permanently works, but it may help for a while.
 

Tucker91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
59
5
43
Thanks! I wouldn't have thought of that. I didn't see her doing it at all yesterday. Of course that doesn't mean it didn't happen. LOL! It's at least frequency must be getting less if I am not seeing it. I was seeing it pretty frequently the other day when I posted. I will get a water gun though and for now, set my water bottle on stream for now. :)
 

Tucker91

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
59
5
43
I actually saw Firefly pecking at Fozzy once yesterday and bugflipper, I think you are right....Fozzy was trying to climb under Firefly, so she pecked her and as soon as Fozzy left her space, she went back to what she was doing. They do seem to be doing better and love to sleep together. We even got an egg from one of them yesterday! We are excited as we are told any eggs then lay for the next few days will be fertile, so we have it on the counter in a carton turning it a few times a day to see if we get more and then we will try our hand at hatching!
 

Jajika

Songster
12 Years
Dec 24, 2007
560
82
197
Northern California
Jumping on top of the other bird is they way they show dominance.

My top hen does that to all of the others periodically just to remind them she's the boss.
 

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