Pullets attacking laying pullet

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by harmesonfarm, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2015
    Nanaimo, BC
    I've looked this up and didn't find any solution, so I'm hoping someone out there can help me figure / solve this one out.
    We have 7 pullets and 1 rooster, there's a few that I think have started to lay, today I found the youngest one that we had trying to nest about. Now, granted, she did seem to have a cut on the bottom of her toe which I am bluekote-ing once she's done her lay, but in the meantime as I kept an eye on her, the other pullets were pecking at her head...is this normal? should i just be letting them do their thing or is this going to be a problem...?

    Really not sure how to read into the chickens mind on this one...they are about 16-20 weeks old i believe now. At times our rooster will stand beside her but he won't stop any of the hens from pecking her...what's with that?

    anyways, help to understand what's happening would be much appreciated! At least until a real problem ensues...

  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    They're at the age when they suddenly feel the need to reinforce their rank in the pecking order and maybe challenge other pullets for a higher rank. This can appear to us that suddenly they aren't getting along after being cozy with each other while growing up from chicks. But it's normal hormonal behavior.

    Also it's normal for pullets and hens to crowd each other in a nest box and sometimes drive one another away from a desired nest. It can get pretty raucous.

    I'm guessing what's going on at your hen house is a pullet at the bottom of the pecking order is being continually put in her place by the others. This is also quite normal. A quick peck to the back of the head is somewhat painful but doesn't usually result in injury. This is how rank is communicated and enforced.

    Just keep an eye out for injuries. I doubt you will see any, but you never know when the flock will decide a member is on the outs and they decide to gang up on her.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2. Mary
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    Chickens in every way that you can imagine are bullies. Being and acting like bullies is how chicken society functions, its their Ethos, the god of chickens' nature.. You may as well expect your birds to dress themselves in Brooks Brothers Suits, wear designer dresses, or drive BMWs.

    I will guess that your so called "rooster" is quite young because a mature rooster or cock-of-the-walk will not allow any BS like this to go on. He views serious dust up among his flock members as a direct and serious challenge to his own position and authority and suppress these fracases immediately. Like in about 2 seconds, so fast in fact that if you blink you may miss the whole event. All that's usually needed is for him to raise his hackles, make eye contact, and dare the pullet or hen to continue and by that one simple piece of body language peace is instantly restored. If that sounds sexist on the roosters part then so be it, but it is the truth none the less.

    Remember that chicken society is governed by the PECKING order, nowhere is it ever suggested that this pecking order behavior is not usual chicken behavior.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  5. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2015
    Nanaimo, BC
    yes, he is a young rooster about the same age as them...that explains a lot about his behaviour, I figured it had to do perhaps with his age. thanks!
  6. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2015
    Nanaimo, BC
    thank you! makes sense...that must be what's happening as no injury seemed to result...got a lovely teeny egg though! [​IMG]

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