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What do you about a chicken being picked on constantly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by susanah, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. susanah

    susanah Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    We have 4 chickens about 18 months old and one has always been the bottom of the pecking order. She is very complacent and sweet and never challenges the others. But lately 2 of the chickens are constantly chasing her away from the food and she has been kicked off the perch they share at night. We make sure she gets enough to eat, but with the cold weather coming I am concerned about her staying warm if the others won't let her near them. Now she sleeps as far away from them as she can get, to the point of hugging the wall. My daughter would be heartbroken if anything happens to her. A friend of mine suggested bringing her inside on cold nights, but I am wondering if this will just make the others pick on her even more. Any suggestions???

  2. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Songster

    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    They do make "diapers" for chickens brought into the house so they don't poop all over. Not sure if that would make them pick on her more. I would see about getting her checked out by a vet to be sure she's not ill. They will pick on the weak and/or sick. Another suggestion is to hurt the other chickens prides by picking them up and letting her have at them, or chase them around to show her their weak side. Another option could be to get some even younger, smaller hens than her and add them to the flock and see if that makes things better for her. If not, maybe get another pen, coop, roo, and extra hens for her so she can be the top hen of her own flock. Good luck
  3. PortugalBreeder

    PortugalBreeder Songster

    Oct 9, 2010
    In my point of view can be two things:
    1-As said before by CC they will pick on the weak and/or sick and/or small, even if everything is ok with your pen;
    2-They will be very aggressive (and usually the ones that suffer are the referred in the previous point) if you have a small pen and/or small feeding area;

    Solutions are:
    Get a bigger pen in the case 2.
    If she looks ill get her to the vet.
    If she is healthy and is from a breed the same size of the others just let them grow they will eventually stop doing that.
    If she is from a smaller breed you may need to apply that "homemade" solution as CC said, picking them up, and letting her pick them even you are the one holding her head and making the moves, to let them know they cannot treat her like that and be tolerated, so that even she will be always smaller can live a comfortable life.

    Good luck;)
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Try removing two of the hens --that are doing the most picking. Place them in a cage for a few days... Then return THEM to the coop/run.. This might 'shake' up the pecking order.. Try dividing the roosting area in two or three different areas . Use vertically placed boards so the others can't see on the other side. This will let her at least roost up off the floor, block some of the drafts that may chill her and make her feel secure.. You will have to use a slanted angle on the top to prevent them from trying to roost up there... Place several feed and water stations thru out the coop.. Place a few 'blocks' in the coop and run, so she can hide! RE: lean a pc of plywood against the walls , place a few bales of hay or straw so she can run thru them if she feels threatened-- BUT do not leave it in a dead -end , where she can get trapped...

    And try not to show her much more attention than you do them... My BO will try to peck the pullets that I spend time with and run them away from me...I just get up and 'peck' her until she moves away from me... I would not separate her from them and return her again and again-- unless she is sick or they have caused injury to her. Each time you do---it will be like the first time..

    IF this doesn't work.. You might have to build her another coop or divided the one you have and give her a friend--maybe someone smaller and from a less aggressive breed.. Good luck
  5. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:I had a similar problem, and removed the Bully Hens for a few days. The Victimized Hen had a chance to develop skills and self confidence while the bullies were caged in a wire dog care that they could not escape. After a few days, I released the bully hens on a probationary status (meaning, they would get locked back up in that wired dog cage if they attacked the victimized hen.

    But they didn't. They just settled down into the larger group, a little less arrogant than when they went in.

    In my case, this strategy worked very well.
  6. Cheep

    Cheep Songster

    Jul 17, 2010
    Sebastopol, CA
    I have the same thing; my darling Coco, who is an EE without a mean bone in her body, is chased away from food, & at night she doesn't sleep anymore on the 2 perches with the other 5. She has to sleep on the edge of a box, which looks not very comfy.
    She is quite healthy, & is the largest - by just a bit.

    They free-range & in my backyard, & so have lots of room in the day, but in the coop, where they sleep, it is not particularly spacious (but OK I think). There is certainly plenty of room for her on the 2 perches in there.

    So far, she has not been injured, & I haven't seen any serious bullying, but it does hurt me to think she is that unpopular. [​IMG]
  7. Liamm_1

    Liamm_1 Songster

    I have a little hen in this position too. i try to give her lots of attention and treats, but she's even afraid of me.
    When I approach with food in my hand she shys away, and the others get to it, she's that scared. When others are eating, she stays back and waits, or eats the crumbs off the ground. seems sad to me, but I guess it's the chicken hierarchy?

  8. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:I make sure to scatter treats so that everybody can get some -- even the timid ones.

    And I have several different feeders and waterers, again so that even the timid ones have equal access to food and water at all times.
  9. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Are you the Alfa in the flock?
    I am and my two roosters and all the hens know it! In a flock it is the job of the Alfa to maintain order... When I am not there.. My #1 roo does the job for me or some of my older "crabby" dominate hens pitch in to keep order.

    I have had great sucsess intergtrating flocks, and new birds... Matter of fact we just finished introducing a young Silkie into a flock of 25 Marans, Ameraucana and EE! The little silkie is one of the gang now for the most part..[​IMG]

    OK:::: How we do it:::
    What works for us is to spend time with the flock, especially at feeding time. When you see another bird be aggressive, pick it up hold it firmly on its side tight to the ground right under the chicken it was picking on. The chicken it was picking on may peck the aggressive bird once or twice maybe not... Be fast with grabbing the "naughty" chicken, continue to hold it on its side on the ground until it relaxes and until the picked on bird walks away. Repeat, repeat and repeat.

    Also give the picked on birds treats and do not let the other chickens in to share, shoo them away. Remember you are the Alfa of the flock, reestablish the pecking order.

    As far as roosting that is far more difficult to police, you can pull the aggressive bird off the roost and toss it on the floor, while placing the picked on bird on the roost... But ultimately they have to want to roost together... I would make a bigger roost, and concentrate on the daytime.

    Another idea is to isolate the most aggressive bird for a few days.

    Good luck

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Remove the bullies for a period of time (days not hours). Reintroduce one at a time- not both at the same time. I would NOT bring her inside in the evening. The change from indoor to outdoor temps might be detrimental to her health. In the present situation where she is not being injured, I think there is no real problem. She will be fine in her own little area on the perch. Chickens fluff up there feathers and create air pockets to conserve warmth. Feral chickens roosting by themselves survive harsh winters (unless eaten by Great Horned owls).

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