Pecking order problems

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jamandack, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Jamandack

    Jamandack Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2012
    So I started with a flock of 6 mixed breed chickens, then last October a neighbor's lab had a chicken dinner, and I had a hen go broody so we got her three chicks to raise. Here we are in the end of Jan. with 8 chickens (two of the chicks may be roo's- but that's a different post on a different board). Prior to this past fall we really had a great group of chickens- none had any major pecking order issues. We noticed there were two that seemed to share the top spot, and two that shared the bottom but there never seemed to be one set in stone. With these new young chicks added it seems to have thrown things off. I'm not sure if it's stress from the cold Utah weather, or if it's the fact that two of these newbies may be roos, or what but my sweetest chicken of the bunch (a buff orp) is now pecking/picking on the smallest of the three new chickens. The other two new chickens are HUGE and they even run away from her! She used to be super kind and loving even towards my kids/toddlers! Should I wait until there's a problem (missing feathers) and just watch or is there something I should be doing? There is a fence around an old wood shed (where the mama hen raised the chicks) and their original coop/run so there's a lot of space for them to get away from each other, and I like the idea of letting nature run it's course but I'm concerned about this hen pecking on the other ones because it's so unlike her. Thoughts??
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Hmm, it's unusual for the bully to be an Orp, but that's life with chickens, I guess.

    The usual advice for pecking is, leave them alone unless they draw blood. then, especially if you can identify a "lead bully," remove the bully from the flock for a week, out of sight. When returned, she (It's usually a she) should be at the bottom of the pecking order, like any newcomer.

    If they are pulling feathers rather than pecking, that's usually more a space issue, and/or an issue of too little protein. Lots of times, lowering the protein happened by accident, from giving too many treats that are lower in protein than their feed.

    You can also do a search in the learning center for articles on pecking and feather picking.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!
    1 person likes this.

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