Should I intervene or let the pecking order do its thing?

katelk

Songster
6 Years
May 6, 2013
412
11
111
White Bluff, TN
I have English Orpingtons. One of the pullets stands out because she is the only black one (they seem to run in same-color groups) and she is also a little bit smaller than the others.

It is clear she is the bottom of the pecking order. She gets chased away from food and usually I end up having to spread food everywhere just so she can find a spot to get some without getting harassed nonstop. Often they can coexist peacefully but there is always some random pecking and pulling at her feathers. The other girls pull at her so often that she does not hardly have any tail feathers. Her tail just looks thin and wispy rather than thick and normal like the others.

Is this a normal level of pecking order behavior? There is never any blood or anything. I just wish that at least one of the girls who could stand up for herself was at the bottom, but I know that's the point. Maybe I am being too tender hearted?
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
700
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
I would make sure your feed has enough protein and make sure you have at least two feeders.

If it gets bad (they draw blood) pinless peepers (blinders) may work for you- they do help some people.

I personally would try to find out which is the leader of the bullying and get rid of her.
 

katelk

Songster
6 Years
May 6, 2013
412
11
111
White Bluff, TN
I would make sure your feed has enough protein and make sure you have at least two feeders.

If it gets bad (they draw blood) pinless peepers (blinders) may work for you- they do help some people.

I personally would try to find out which is the leader of the bullying and get rid of her. 


I use two feeders and I supervise during feeding in the evening (they freerange during the day). The feed I use has 19% protein. They are about 15 weeks old.

I THINK I know who is the main bully, but from what I can tell she is also the second to the bottom of the pecking order. When I take this pullet out, they generally get along perfectly with maybe a random peck here or there. The main bully is also a bit smaller than the rest but a bit larger than the black pullet. She is by no means the Alpha.

Is there possibly a way to shake up the order? Maybe reorganize and put this bully on bottom? I hate to get rid of her unless absolutely necessary. I raised them from chicks and they are beautiful. I am so close to their POL!!
 

Sjisty

Scribe of Brahmalot
12 Years
May 18, 2009
4,252
347
371
Brooksville
I've never tried it, but I heard if you take the bully away from the flock for a few days and then reintroduce her, that might work. Good luck!
 

MANNA-PRO

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