The Pecking Order, A Bullied Hen, and New Rooster(s)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Brookside7, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Brookside7

    Brookside7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2012
    Alright, I have a question... or two... okay, three. I currently have 11 hens. One little hen, however, seems to be bullied for some reason. None of the other hens will allow her to eat in peace, even if I give feed in multiple places so that they aren't all piled up together. The problem occurs in the coop mainly. Luckily they free range during the day, so she doesn't have to deal with constant bullying all day. Anyway, here shortly, a couple new chickens will be joining the flock. I have them separated from my hens right now. They're two brother roosters, still young, not crowing yet.

    So, my questions:
    • Why do they all seem to pester this one hen?
    • When the roosters are introduced to the hens, will a new pecking order be established in which the hens can chill out about who is in charge and ultimately stop bullying that one hen?
    • Will two roosters (who are brothers and have been raised together) be able to get along or will I eventually need to rehome one?


    Thanks!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Someone has to be at the bottom of the pecking order. If there is one who is weak or sick in some way, the flock seems to be good at identifying and picking on that one. Sometimes i think it's just the least aggressive one. The new roosters will change the pecking order, but not necessarily for the benefit of the one who is getting pecked on. When the cockerels' hormones start flowing, they will have to decide between them who is the dominant roo and in charge of the flock; being brothers won't really affect this. Sometimes two cockerels do OK in a flock; sometimes it's just too much of a problem for the flock. You won't know til they mature. But it's possible that when a cockerel is in charge, being at the bottom of the pecking order will be less of a problem for the low one. A good roo keeps his hens in line.
     
  3. Brookside7

    Brookside7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2012
    Thanks! :) I've checked the hen out and she looks and acts perfectly healthy. She just seems to be completely non-aggressive. She's a Red Sex Link.
     
  4. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Bantam Orpington which is going through the same issue. It has been months but no change.
     
  5. Brookside7

    Brookside7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2012
    I know what you mean. We originally got 6 RIR hens and 2 Black Australorps. Then, after a month or two, we picked up some Red Sex Link hens and kept them in a separate coop for a while and even when it was just the 3 of them, she was at the bottom of the pecking order. Whenever we incorporated them in with our other flock, the other two have fit right in, and she is still picked on. She's also the only hen I have ever had to go broody. I was hoping that with the new rooster or roosters she would see some peace, but who knows.
     
  6. If there are one or two hens that are the biggest bullies, you might want to consider pinless peepers.
     

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