Pecking Order normal or too brutal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by theadrick33, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. normal

    2 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. too brutal

    1 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. theadrick33

    theadrick33 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Georgia
    I have a small flock of 4 (one roo, 3 hens). They were all brooded together and are now about 6 months old. We originally had 7, but have lost 3 to predators. At the time of the loss, they had just started laying. Before the loss, we were sure that our Black Australorp and Blue Orp were best friends, and top of the order. After the loss, the RIR moved up, and the BA went to the bottom. BO is top for sure. The RIR is really a bully, and although she's not the top she is always picking on BA. I've even seen her jump on top of poor BA. And she will sit at the door of the coop and bully BA back down the ramp at night. BA now has a nearly bald spot on her back (from feather pecking) and the tips of most of her feathers have been pecked off. She is spending a lot of time away from the others when they are foraging in the yard. I feel so bad for her - is this normal or too brutal? Is there anything I can do to alleviate the bullying?
     
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Shake up the pecking order. I would pull the bully RIR out for a week and keep her away from the others. A large dog crate would be fine. It should give your BA a chance to re-establish herself as part of the flock. Hopefully then when you re-introduce the RIR back in, she may be soo happy to be together again - she wont' be a bully. Also I would cover any bald spots on the BA with Blu Kote - purple spray because, it doesn't taste good. You will need to reapply it daily to really be effective. Would help remind the RIR that the BA taste bad. lol Using this method has worked for my bullys in the past. Good Luck.
     
  3. theadrick33

    theadrick33 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Georgia
    Thanks for the advice! So I have an area in the run that I can block off for the bully RIR, but I am concerned that she may get cold at night without her flockmates to snuggle with (it's been near freezing already here). And should I leave her in for the whole week, even during the day when I let the others out to forage? Will the BO continue to pick on poor BA even while RIR is separated (she does peck at her and chase away from feeder, etc, just not as brutally as RIR). Sorry for all the questions, just want to make sure I do it right!
    And, the Blu Kote sounds like a great idea! Where would I find that? Is it easily found, like at TSC, etc?
     
  4. phaatnsassy

    phaatnsassy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2012
    Central Oregon Coast
    I just read this cause I am having the same type of issue with my girls. Blondie, the one on my shoulder is the one being pecked at. I have been doing it all wrong. I have been keeping her away of everyone. She can socialize with the others fine. In fact I let them out the other day to roam and found them together in the dirt sleeping. I have three different types of breeds, light Brahmas, black sex links and araucanas. Now they are a week apart in ages starting with the light Brahmas being the oldest. So Blondie, araucana, being one of the youngest and it is her sister that is the worst at pecking her. I have wondered if it is because she was the last one to start laying. Blondie is the only one that will fly out of the coop, and I have fixed that problem for now. But she does that to get away from them. And I have checked on them at night, And they are all together, with her right next to them. Most of the time in the middle. I will try and keep her sister penned up for a week or so to see what happens.
     
  5. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they are sleeping together and not drawing blood and everyone is eatting and drinking Ok? In this case - I would lt them work it out and just monitor to make sure it's not getting worse. They have to have a pecking order and someone has to be the bottom.
     
  6. Someone else on here cured pecking by putting hot sauce on the victim.
     
  7. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, Blu Kote is available at TSC. You can't really leave the RIR bully outside at night in the run - Could you put the RIR bully in a cage in the garage with straw to stay warm at night? I would not let the RIR have any contact with the BA until at least a few days have passed. Then do re-introduction in stages and see how they do. The BO will hopfully want to be with the BA with the RIR out of the game for a few days and then when the RIR comes back the BA will have atleast one friend. Good Luck
     
  8. theadrick33

    theadrick33 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Georgia
    Have separated RIR for a few days and there has been very little pecking observed during the day since!!! The first night I went to check where everyone was sleeping, and everyone was on the perch, rooster in the middle of two hens. I was so excited! Each night since, though, I've gone out to check and BA has been on the floor again! Haven't observed BO bullying at bedtime, but haven't been able to watch them when they go to bed. Could BO be continuing with the pecking at bedtime?
     
  9. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They usually settle down pretty fast once it's dark. I did have a lot of night pecking last winter because I was using a light to boost egg production. Sometimes pecking can be caused by a need for more protein in their diet. I know it seems non-related but, I followed others suggestion and it really does work. Throw them some dry cat food or a can of tuna for a few days and see if, it helps. I switched mine to a little higher protein layer formula. If you give them much corn? that can cause more aggressiveness. Who knew having a few chickens could be so complicated? lol Good Luck.
     
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  10. theadrick33

    theadrick33 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Georgia
    Thanks :)
     

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