One Hen is Terrorizing one other Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DeRock89, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. DeRock89

    DeRock89 In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2018
    I only have three hens in my main run and coop right now. They are about a year old. Houdini(black sex link) is terrorizing Biggie(Big Jersey). Houndin is a new addition somewhat. I had her separated in one of those coops you can by at Walmart(yeah....) Up until a week ago because of an injury she had when I got her. The pin was right beside my main run to facilitate integration when the time came. I integrated her and got it rid of the walmart pin.

    That pin was how I got started caring for chickens. Someone was moving and gave me it for free with three adult chickens. I had to get rid of it because in my opinion, it was cruel... it was entirely too small for one bird in my opinion, let alone three! The week I got the pin and birds, I built a new and bigger pin.

    Houdini isn’t causing visible harm to Biggie but I hear her run after her alllll the time. I’ll hear biggie squawking in terror and hear wings flapping. She doesn’t bother the other one at all(Tupac). I’ll go check and sometimes shes holding Biggie down with her foot on her neck and let’s her loose in a few seconds. Biggie will be making a crying like noise unil she’s let go.
    What’s crazy is Biggie is at least twice the size of Houdini! Ive noticed that Houndini doesn’t always even necessarily instigate it. She will just be walking by, pecking at the ground, not even looking at Biggie and Biggie will realize she’s close by and freak out. When she freaks out, it’s like houdini then is like, “okay, I guess I’ll chase you then since you want to act like that.”

    She’s not pecking at her super hard, she will peck at her once, and then she runs in terror and then the other chases her in response. Tupac just stays out of it and doesn’t do anything but watch or get out of the way if biggie is barreling towards her while running and screaming.

    From what I’ve read, people say it will iron itself out over time and let it be as long as no injuries are occurring, but the problem is my neighbors are apparently very sensitive to chicken noises and make it abundantly clear... I had to get rid of my rooster... I’m worried about them creating more drama for me if they happen to hear Biggies terror squawking...

    Since I don’t have the Walmart pin, it makes separation problematic... I have a pet carriage for transporting or sick birds but I feel that for one it would be cruel to keep one or the other in there and two, they had visualization of each other for weeks and it seemed that didn’t help...
  2. featheredplanets

    featheredplanets Songster

    Nov 28, 2017
    Is your coop and run big enough? They need a bare minimum of 4sqft in the coop and 10sqft in the run. Having two feeders may help.
    Unfortunately, you have to be cruel to be kind, separating the bully for a week will allow the bullied hen to work her way up the pecking order, once she is confident, you can then introduce the bully back in. The bully will be ‘new’ and no longer hold her place in the pecking order.
  3. Chickens_4Life

    Chickens_4Life Chirping

    Mar 19, 2018
    How big is you coop? Send me a pic pls. There might be something to do with e pecking order.
  4. Frazzemrat1

    Frazzemrat1 Free Ranging

    May 8, 2017
    Eastern Connecticut
    you moved them into the new coop and run? If so, that changed the flock dynamics. They're trying to figure out who's on top, and Houdini is expressing her dominance. It will die down in time. Separating her will only make it worse, because you'll have to start the whole process over again when you reintegrate her.
    aart likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This is interesting and kind of makes sense. Houndini is reacting to Biggies anxiety.
    How much space(feet by feet) do you have in your coop and run?
    Interesting also that Houndini is dominant.
    Hopefully they work it out, Biggie needs to chill out, but some birds are rather neurotic.

    Here's my integration notes, maybe something in there will help.
    Integration Basics:

    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
  6. DeRock89

    DeRock89 In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2018
    It went too far and houndini started drawing blood. She gets ahold of the back of Biggies head and Neck and started plucking her feathers. I felt I had to separate them in a way because the spot she started pulling feathers from started bleeding.

    I’ve done a makeshift pin and coop within the pin so they are basically in contact but houdini can’t harm Biggie.
    I took a pet carrier and built a coop with a Rubbermaid box attached to the side and set it in the main run with Biggie in it.

    Houndini is still trying to get Biggie but she can’t reach her through the makeshift pin. Biggie always just lays down when she thinks Houdini is fixing to get her and holds her head close to the ground. It reminds me of a Bowing gesture. Before she would do the Bowing think and houndini would peck the back of her head
  7. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

    Jan 14, 2017
    I'm not of any help but love the names. Tupac and Biggie. :p

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