Picked on hen.. Help?!?!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GreenEggers, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. GreenEggers

    GreenEggers In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2009
    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,
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    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!
  3. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    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.
  4. GreenEggers

    GreenEggers In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2009
    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.
  5. GreenEggers

    GreenEggers In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2009
    Shameless bump... Anyone else have any ideas?
  6. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    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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