Picked on hen.. Help?!?!?

GreenEggers

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
10
0
22
Hi Everyone,
I'm a longtime lurker. Thank you so much for all of the great information. I'm hoping someone can help me with a problem. I have 4 hens that are a bit more than a year old. I have had them all together since they were chicks All has been very peaceful until a couple of months ago. My most dominant hen started attacking one of the others. She gets on top of her and pecks at her head. Feathers go flying. It's awful. I separated the dominant hen from the others for a few days to see if I could change the pecking order. That didn't work, in fact the others started pecking at her too. They were not as aggressive as the dominant hen. I looked at the picked on hen and I don't see anything wrong with her. No mites or anything. I was forced to split my coop in two. I have 3 on one side and 1 on the other. All of the hens are good layers so I don't want to have to find a home for this one if I can help it. My dominant hen still gives her target the "eye" through the separation. I know if I put them together again she would attack. I feel bad for the picked on hen. She paces the fence all day long because she wants to be with the others.
Thanks in advance,
Jennifer
 

ChickenToes

Songster
11 Years
May 14, 2008
2,141
7
191
NE Wisconsin
I had a similar problem when I had chickens a few years ago. I ended up completely separating the hen that was being picked on, she lived in our garage and ran around the yard during the day.

Hopefully someone else will chime in with more helpful advice!
 

elmo

Crowing
11 Years
May 23, 2009
4,900
222
306
DFW
Are your hens all the same breed? If they're different, is the picked on hen a singleton? If she is, get another one or two of her kind.

Can you keep a rooster where you live? Roosters (the good ones) will keep the bully hens in line.

Can you identify which hen is No. 3 in the pecking order? Put her in with Ms. Victim and see how they get along. If all goes well after a week or so, put Hen No. 2 in with 3 and 4 and leave the bully hen by herself for a good long time...maybe two or three weeks even. A chicken friend told me that chickens don't remember each other after about three weeks of separation, so if you put the bully hen back with the flock after that period of time she'll really need to start over, socially.

Broodiness and raising chicks can change the pecking order, too. I don't know if that's an option for you, or not.
 

GreenEggers

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
10
0
22
Thanks for the replies. They are all Easter egg chickens. They all look different but they are from the same "batch" that my local feed store was selling. Who knows what they are.
 

Dora'smom

Songster
10 Years
Dec 14, 2009
916
11
121
Oregon
What worked for us is the pinless peepers. They are just plastic, and clip on with a little stub in the chickens nostrils. It takes them a short time to get used to them, but they just learn to live with them. It allows them to eat, drink, peck at the ground, but not see straight ahead, to peck another bird. They might be worth a try for your girls.
 

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