Pecking order

marymiranda4

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2019
18
12
44
I rescued 15 chickens last fall (4 roosters, 11 hens - 4 adults, the rest chicks).

I've had to separate the roosters. The adult rooster lives with the hens. The lowest hen in the pecking order has pretty much decided to live in the coop (they have a very large enclosure with a large coop in it.

I make sure the hen has food and water, and I spray her once a week with a spray that's supposed to stop others from picking on her. Her feathers have grown back and she's getting bigger but she is in the coop 90% of the time and I'm afraid for her to continue to live this way.

Any suggestions?
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,550
21,009
867
Western Ohio
Good luck. We had something similar occur. One breed (3birds) were not integrated into flock, despite being raised as chicks together. They were terrorized/ostracized by the head cockerel. We added water to the coop and food during the worst of it. We ended up getting rid of that breed, and also that lead cockerel (kept going after the kid).

So, keep feed and water in the coop for your girl. Is she laying yet? Sometimes they don’t mesh with the flock very well until they start laying. The birds mentioned above were very late to lay (36 weeks, 44weeks, and not yet when we sold them), and I think that may have played a role.

Another thought: feed. We upped the protein in our flock by moving to a 20% all-flock pellet. We had gone from chick crumble to layer, but noticed lots of calcium deposits and then the aggression from one male and a couple of pullets. Since we have all standard to very large breeds, all under a year at that point, we figured upping the protein would help. It did! So, we provide OS on the side along with our all-flock pellets. Another plus, when they get treats (not too often) or free range (on basic grass/ some garden), the protein isn’t diluted too low.


Space: try for approx 10 sqft per bird in the run. Provide visual variations, allowing the harassed chicken to get out of the line of sight. A perch/roost in the run, or a pallet leaned up against the fence or wall as examples. But, make sure a chicken cannot be cornered - so have 2 entries/exits. Don’t prop the pallet or board up in a corner.
 

marymiranda4

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2019
18
12
44
How large is 'large'...in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics would be help immensely here.

Exactly what 'spray' are you using..and does it work to stop the pecking?

Thanks for responding.
Originally, the entire enclosure was 35x35. One young rooster died so I had the oldest rooster and 2 of his offspring. As they got older, dad would chase them. Finally, I sectioned off 2 areas for the younger roosters - one, 11x18, the other 10x13.

That leaves almost 900 sq ft for 12 chickens. In addition, most days I let the 12 free range for at least 2 hours, often more but only when I'm home.

The enclosure has a large corner which has small saplings and lost of leaves and we left several tree trunks on the ground which breaks that area up. For the longest time the hen would spend most of the time there. For some reason, she started staying in the coop most of the day. Today, however, she's been outside all day so far.

I'll add pics tomorrow.

I'm not home now, but I'll also send the name of the spray I can't remember. I found it online when I was trying to find something to stop the pecking. I believe it helps because her feathers have grown back and there are no more bald spots. I spray her once a week.

In case it matters, 9 of the chickens in the large enclosure are Australorps and 3 are barred rocks. I've only seen the barred rocks bothering her.
 

marymiranda4

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2019
18
12
44
Good luck. We had something similar occur. One breed (3birds) were not integrated into flock, despite being raised as chicks together. They were terrorized/ostracized by the head cockerel. We added water to the coop and food during the worst of it. We ended up getting rid of that breed, and also that lead cockerel (kept going after the kid).

So, keep feed and water in the coop for your girl. Is she laying yet? Sometimes they don’t mesh with the flock very well until they start laying. The birds mentioned above were very late to lay (36 weeks, 44weeks, and not yet when we sold them), and I think that may have played a role.

Another thought: feed. We upped the protein in our flock by moving to a 20% all-flock pellet. We had gone from chick crumble to layer, but noticed lots of calcium deposits and then the aggression from one male and a couple of pullets. Since we have all standard to very large breeds, all under a year at that point, we figured upping the protein would help. It did! So, we provide OS on the side along with our all-flock pellets. Another plus, when they get treats (not too often) or free range (on basic grass/ some garden), the protein isn’t diluted too low.


Space: try for approx 10 sqft per bird in the run. Provide visual variations, allowing the harassed chicken to get out of the line of sight. A perch/roost in the run, or a pallet leaned up against the fence or wall as examples. But, make sure a chicken cannot be cornered - so have 2 entries/exits. Don’t prop the pallet or board up in a corner.

Thanks for responding.

The hen is in a large enclosure with 11 others. It's almost 900 sq. Ft.

The enclosure has everything you suggest - during the day, I leave both coop doors open so she is never cornered.

She has plenty of space and areas to get away but I hate to see her in the coop all day.

Today was the first day in 10 she has stayed outside all day, but even then, she is still alone. She has been laying eggs since early spring. When I let the others out to free range. She almost never goes.

There are 9 Australorps (which is what she is) and 3 barred rocks. It's only the barred rocks that bother her - 2 of them.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,550
21,009
867
Western Ohio
Thanks for responding.

The hen is in a large enclosure with 11 others. It's almost 900 sq. Ft.

The enclosure has everything you suggest - during the day, I leave both coop doors open so she is never cornered.

She has plenty of space and areas to get away but I hate to see her in the coop all day.

Today was the first day in 10 she has stayed outside all day, but even then, she is still alone. She has been laying eggs since early spring. When I let the others out to free range. She almost never goes.

There are 9 Australorps (which is what she is) and 3 barred rocks. It's only the barred rocks that bother her - 2 of them.

Hmmm..have you tried removing one or both problematic BR? Put them in a cage that is not in sight or hearing if the regular flock. Feed/water them there. Put them back with the flock about a week later. Their pecking order will be disrupted and may work to knock their aggression back. It may elevate the pecking order status of the one getting pecked too.
 

marymiranda4

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2019
18
12
44
Hmmm..have you tried removing one or both problematic BR? Put them in a cage that is not in sight or hearing if the regular flock. Feed/water them there. Put them back with the flock about a week later. Their pecking order will be disrupted and may work to knock their aggression back. It may elevate the pecking order status of the one getting pecked too.

I haven't, but I may have to.

Thanks.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,281
12,463
636
western South Dakota
Get pin-less peepers for the BR, it will work much better, as it will keep them from attacking her, and she will get more confident around them. That is what she needs is confidence, as a timid bird just draws the attack.

The peepers won't hurt them, but will stop the attacking her. And your whole flock should calm down. The time out idea is not a bad one, it often works too. But when you got a single victim, I think the peepers work best.

Mrs K
 

marymiranda4

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2019
18
12
44
I've seen those but I just don't know if I could put them on. Have you actually done this? I considered maybe trying to find a veterinarian to do it.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom