We have 7 hens, 2 are harassing 1 terribly

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lori925, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. lori925

    lori925 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2013
    Jackson, Maine
    We have 7 hens. Two are about 2 1/2 years old and the other 5 are 1 1/2. Two of the younger ones have begun picking on one of the original girls - they chase her down and peck on her head. The one being picked on has almost always been somewhat of a loner.

    They have lots of room - their "coop" is a stall in a barn and they have a large fenced yard. There are 6 nesting boxes so that's not a problem either. They seem to be fine at night when everyone is roosting; it's just during the day that they are harassing her.

    Is there a chance that this will stop or do we need to intervene?

    Thanks, Lori
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Have they been together all this time? It's normal for the bottom ranking hen to get pecked and reminded of her place. When I first got chickens, I felt so badly for my Production Red being at the bottom of the pecking order. Then when I got more birds and she had someone under her, she became the meanest snot ever. I almost got rid of her for it. She would kick everyone out of a nest when she wanted to lay. Not just the nest she wanted, but ANY nest. Then she went broody and was a fantastic mother, so I kept her until she died of old age.
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When an older hen is singled out for torment by younger hens, it's a good idea to look her over carefully for an injury or infirmity. Chickens spot these problems before we do, and they instinctively react by trying to "cleanse" the flock of this particular chicken.

    I had an EE hen who developed lameness. From the earliest point if the infirmity, she was bullied and thrashed by the others, and it grew worse as her lameness grew.

    Watch the victim. Is she limping? Is she showing signs of illness? Tail drooping, keeping to herself in a corner facing inward? Is she eating? Crop empty in the morning and full at roosting time?

    If you rule out injury and sickness, then she's probably at the bottom of the pecking order and timid and lacking in self confidence aggravated by the bullying. She might benefit from a little "vacation" in an adjoining pen where she's safe from being picked on, has access to food and water without having to be constantly on guard, and a chance to let her stress levels come down. I had a Brahma hen who was experiencing what your girl is, and she had a significant personality change after a couple weeks of being on vacation in a protective pen in view of the rest of the flock.
  4. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2015
    Amo, IN
    You can also lock up the aggressors to change their attitudes.
  5. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2015
    pinless peepers work great they cannot see directly in front of them but can see easily on the side they can eat and drink just fine but if they can't see her they can't attack her
  6. lori925

    lori925 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2013
    Jackson, Maine
    thanks all - this is great information -

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