Jan 11, 2018
Northern CA
Last week I noticed my 2 top hens were beginning to peck on the other girls. I did not think anything of it because they are at the top of the pecking order. Three days ago I noticed the same 2 pecking another hen more aggressively. Two days ago I changed their mulch in the run. On that day I was able to see just how mean my top 2 girls are (because I was with them for 4 hours). They were pecking under the rooster’s tail feathers and were pecking my Speckled sussex’s wings. Yesterday I went down 3 or 4 times for visits, egg collecting, etc and saw that my rooster was getting his feather torn on his back. It did not look too bad so I just took note and left. This morning I go down to open them and everything looks like yesterday. Now 2 hours later I go down for the eggs and my poor Roo has a bald, bleeding patch. I separated him into his own spot as I had to leave for the day. What could be causing my hens to be so mean to the roo? Aren’t Roos supposed to be at the top? He’s very friendly.

I have 1 rooster and 5 hens. The Roo and one hen are EEs. The Tops hens are Barred Rock and a cross between White Leghorn and australorp. The other two hens are welsummer and Sussex. They are all from the same batch from last May. 3 hens are laying. The head 2 hens are part of those three. The other 2 girls are not laying yet. Their coop is 8’x5’. They have enough nesting boxes and roost space. They do fight over the top roost and refuse to use the other 3 roosts. Their run is two parts, one is 20’x10’ and the other is 6’x8’. They have both sections all day. They have water and layer pellets (16%) all day. They get a small handful of scratch in the morning and the occasional dried shrimp or mealworms. They have mulch that they dig in to keep them busy and a suet hanger.

I can get pictures later.


6 Years
Apr 13, 2016
North-Central IL
Are you saying they were all hatched May of this year? If they're all about 6 months, you might want to pull the rooster out for another 6 months. Pullets mature faster than roosters typically and they'll beat on him until he's ready to stand up for himself. Especially hatchery Barred Rocks, all I've seen are just scrappy as heck. If you add him back in at a year he should knock them into their place and equilibrium will happen.

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