smaller chicken getting picked on


5 Years
Oct 9, 2014
We have six chickens that are four difference variations. The smallest of the bunch is a bantum and is about half the size of the others but the same age. The other chickens are picking on the bantum and pecking and attacking her. She doesnt seem to be hurt but she now will not leave her nesting box. I took her out of the coop tonight and put her alone in a dog crate so she could eat and rest but I do not know what to do about the situation. Any advice?
Hello there and welcome to BYC!!

Sorry about your situation. Many times the smaller chickens will get picked on. You might start by figuring out who is starting it. Many times it is one chicken that starts it and then the others follow. If you can find out who is the head bully, separate them out and see if that doesn't stop the aggression toward this smaller bird. Many times this is the case.

You can use pinless peepers on all the aggressive birds. This will stop all the meanies in their tracks.

You can try adding a new bird or two to the flock. This will take the pressure off this smaller bird and maybe they can become friends.

Or you might also keep this bird completely separate and get this bird some buddies her own size.

Rehoming all meanies can be a good thing too.

She should not be sleeping in the nest boxes. So you need to go up at roosting time and get her on the bars. Put her on the end nearest the lowest in the order so she has a good chance of staying on. This may take a few nights or weeks to get her to know where she needs to roost without being pushed off the bar.

You might also post this in our Chicken Behavior forums for more ideas...

Good luck and I hope you can get this issue solved soon.
Thank you so much - I will have to see what a pinless peeper is. We have had these guys for six months and they have been fine until about a week ago. Not sure what happened. I will put in a second roost but I can't figure out how to seperate the meanies - do I lock them in coop while the others get to be in pen area?
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! TwoCrows gave you some good suggestions. Pinless Peepers are plastic things you put on their beaks, the peepers keep the birds from seeing directly in front of them and it helps stop them from picking on other birds etc... here is a nice thread on them
With your bantam staying in the nesting box all the time, could she be broody? You might wind up having to separate the bantam permanently to keep peace in the coop, sometimes the little guys do get picked on in standard flocks.
I was going to suggest she might be broody, because it's common for a bullied bird to hide in the coop but, staying in the nest box is a trait of broodiness. Do you have any roosters. If so her eggs may be fertile. Please make sure the bullies don't keep her away from food and water.
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

X3 on Two Crows.

I've found that putting the bossy chickens in a "jail" or cage helps reduce the pecks. Being separated from the flock and missing out on the treats and other goodies makes the chickens feel bad. Thus when they return to the flock they are usually more calm and gentle. Make sure that if you use a jail that the chickens can still see each other.
if it is in fact that the bantum is broody - what are my options? Not sure how to seperate her within my coop area. Can they become unbroody? We do not have a rooster. I really appreciate all your help
if it is in fact that the bantum is broody - what are my options? Not sure how to seperate her within my coop area. Can they become unbroody? We do not have a rooster. I really appreciate all your help

If you aren't interested in hatching eggs, it's a good idea to break her of her broodiness. Can you block off the nest boxes temporarily? This may encourage her to stop sitting in them. Another good idea is to put her in a wire cage (like a rabbit hutch). Sitting on wire, with no place to lay eggs and no nice warm nest box often makes hens stop being broody. Here are some good links on breaking birds of broodiness:

My guess would be that she is hiding in the nest box because the other birds are picking on her, not because she is broody. But, broodiness is still possible.
Glad you joined us!

X2 on Wyandottes7's advice. I am also leaning towards her staying in the nest because she's afraid, not because she's broody.

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