Vicious fighting in established family

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Three Silkies, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a mama hen and her three daughters (all just over a year old). The mama hen never fights with anyone, but the two bigger daughters always pick on the little black one (the rest of them are white). They don't really fight her, but they peck her and don't let her share food. They have a huge coop and run and they free range in my large garden all day.
    The two bigger daughters have been broody the last month and have barely left their nesting boxes. Their wattles look grey and sickly. So the little black hen has been enjoying just hanging out with her mum all day without being picked on.
    This morning, the biggest daughter came outside and went to give the little black one a peck and the little black one just went wild, attacking her relentlessly and taking great chunks of feathers out of her chest. She chased her and kept beating her and I had to intervene by placing myself between them and holding out my shoe like I was going to hit her with it (I wouldn't hit her, I was just using it as a threat). Now the white one is traumatised and hiding in a corner and crying. There isn't any blood.
    I'm wondering if it's possible that the two older daughters have been away for so long (in their boxes being broody) that the little black one thinks they're "new" to the flock. Or maybe the little black one could sense that the bigger one is a sickly and is using this opportunity to change the pecking order. Should I be just letting them work it out themselves? Will they just work it out themselves? It was very distressing to see. The little black one has always been gentle and submissive, but today she is a wild thing. She obviously got up on the wrong side of the perch!
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    They are working out the pecking order. This is a natural thing in the world ofchickens.
     
  3. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps


    Thank you. I thought so, but I was just surprised because they seemed to work that out ages ago (that the little black one was the lowest ranked). I guess she decided she'd had enough of that and was going to change it around. And when the white one showed that she was being submissive, the little black one still kept going her. It was very distressing to see. But I'm glad that they will (hopefully) work it out and stop fighting.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Pecking orders can change...as you have just witnessed.
     
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  5. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi again. The leadership battle is still occurring in my henhouse and today I noticed that the little black hen has a big bald spot near her tail feathers. There are feathers all over the yard and in the coop. They don't fight in the coop. The only time they go in there is for laying and sleeping. We are heading into summer here (in Australia). Could her bald spot be from other hens pecking out her feathers, or is it possible they're all just moulting before summer hits. Here is a pic of the feathers in the coop. It looks like someone cut open a quilt in there! [​IMG]
     
  6. Three Silkies

    Three Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here is a picture of her bald spot. She usually has a fine spray of tail feathers there, so much so that I was convinced she was a roo (until she started laying). [​IMG]
     

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