Pecking Order - Update: Am I a Chicken Abuser?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 2DogsFarm, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana

    I'm afraid my Black Star pullet Markena who laid first is turning into a bully.
    She is not the largest of the 5 but I've seen her go at the larger Delawares, the other Black Star (most immature of the bunch) as well as the Houdan who are both about her size.
    Up till now no bloodshed has resulted, just some fluffed feathers & squawking.

    This morning I noticed some cuts on the comb & wattles of one of the Delawares. Bites?
    I am giving Markena the benefit of the doubt since they are new to spending the day outside the coop in their newly-fenced yard & the cuts may have come from investigating the poultry wire or foliage or whatever.

    But when I saw Markena start to go for my Delaware Salad I did what you guys describe for taming a roo: picked her up and carried her for a while.

    Will this let her know I won't tolerate bullying?
    Will she settle down once she establishes herself as Queen of the Flock?
    Is there another way to give a chicken a Timeout?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  2. mxpres

    mxpres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 21, 2009
    Their is not real a lot you can do concerning establishing pecking order among the flock,the birds will work it out among themselves unless it gets out of hand and they start drawing blood,that can lead to bigger problems which you would need to remove the aggressive bird from the flock,other than that theirs not much you can do,they will work it out in time
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Generally I let them sort out their squabbles, as long as there is no bloodshed.
    If it gets out of hand you can seperate the bully from the flock for a few days. This usually knocks them down a few pegs on the pecking order ladder.
  4. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    I only have one coop & one "flock" of 5
    If it comes to that, could I isolate her in a cat carrier in the garage?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Providing the crate is big enough for her to move around a bit, sure can. Can you let her out a bit each day in a confined area to stretch her legs?
    We are using a small wire dog crate the puppy quickly outgrew as our isolation crate.
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Do you have a dog crate? (chicken jail) Put her in the dog crate with food and water. (haven't done this myself yet, but I've read about it lots here)
  7. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    [​IMG] "Chicken Jail"

    It just sounds so Cool Hand Luke [​IMG]
    "What we got here is a failure to communicate"

    Hope it doesn't come to that, but I can maybe borrow a crate large enough - all I have is a small cat carrier.
    She could get out and mosey around the garage - it's a 2-car with just my car and some small equipment in it now.
  8. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana

    Markena definitely has it in for Salad.
    And Salad is trying to stay out of her way.

    This morning when Markena went to peck at Salad I picked her up and upended her, carrying her by her feet for a couple minutes.

    This seemed to make an impression as she was not so feisty when I put her down. She was not harmed and walked right off so I don't think carrying her like this hurt her.

    I'd seen people carry roos like this, so I figured it meant Business to a chicken. I don;t want to hurt Markena, just make her certain that pecking will not be tolerated.

    Was I unnecessarily hard on her?
    Am I an idiot to think I can stop pecking?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  9. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 19, 2009
    You're not an idiot, just applying a technique beyond it's boundaries of efficacy. Picking the chicken up, hanging them upside down, pecking them on the back with your finger, etc shows the chicken that YOU are dominate to them. It does nothing about the pecking order of the rest of the flock. All you're doing is establishing that she is 2nd lead hen, you are 1st. She can't pick on you, but the rest of the hens are still below her and therefore she can pick on them. She's not likely to connect the punishment/domination you impose with her action towards the other chickens.

    Isolating her is one option, culling another, letting them be yet another (and the approach I take unless it gets very out of hand).

    How much room do they have? Overcrowding will contribute to pecking issues.
  10. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    The only thing that seemed to work for me is to cage your bad hen in a dog crate etc with food and water for two days and then put her back in with the others. Mine seemed to calm down when doing this. Poor salad must be on the bottom of the pecking order [​IMG] I can tell which one of mine is...she is the one with less feathers on her neck. The other hens tend to pull them out on her [​IMG] Good luck! I hope you can get control of her. I have also used a stick and sat there for hours and when the bigger one would pick I would pick her with my stick. She then got the clue that pecking on others got her a crack back. That worked too but it take a LONG time. If you have a few hours to just sit in the pen with them I would try this. I used a stick becasue she didn't quite know where the peck was coming from LOL

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by