What do I do? Bully broody hen attempting to chicknap her favorites & peck on the others...

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


5 Years
Oct 20, 2014
Portland, OR
My Orpington bantam, Pixel, went broody four weeks ago. I managed to successfully sneak some day-old assorted bantams under her in the dead of night, which she happily took to the following morning. While Pixel was sitting, one of my Wheaten Ameraucana hens seemed to sporadically go broody: spending all day free ranging and then joining Pixel on the nest every night. Obviously, this didn't appear to be full-blown broodiness on her part (nor was she demonstrating any consistent commitment), but I was wrong.

The first morning Pixel took her new babies out into the world, Gin (the Wheaten Ameraucana) followed. She began making broody noises, showing the chicks to food and water along with Pixel. It was okay, I figured, to let them co-parent. It seemed like Gin was cheating the system though, since Pixel had done all of the work, but whatever. Everyone appeared to be getting along fine at the start, and I figured two mommas was better protection than one...

By the second day, it was apparent that Gin was beginning to bully Pixel and the only two white chicks in the clutch of assorted bantam babies. She wouldn't let Pixel too close and would peck the two white fluff-butts if they also got too close. It became more and more obvious that Gin was attempting to chicknap her favorites from Pixel's clutch.

She finally crossed the line with me an hour ago, when I went outside and found one of the babies with a bloodied face. After cleaning the baby up, I took Gin into the garage and stuck her in a dog crate with food and water. Pixel seemed to appreciate this, and carried on caring for her entire clutch.

I've never experienced this sort of behavior from a broody hen before... is this normal? Is this behavior something I will have to watch for from this particular hen in the future?

Did I do the right thing separating Gin from the flock? My plan is to keep her inside for a couple of nights and then attempt to reintegrate her... hoping that she will not be broody at that point, or at least more accepting of the two white chicks.

Open to suggestions and your own experiences... Thank you!
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You did the right thing by separating the hen that was a bully! I would keep her isolated for a week and then introduce her back to the flock,watch her behavior and if she goes straight for the chicks again once again take her away and isolate her for another wk.
Thanks! She is separated now with fresh water and food. I just feel terrible, because she is clearly extremely distressed. Hopefully she gets over it soon!

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