by Levi


How do I keep my chickens safe from the bullies? They are all the same age, I bought them all together and they grew up together, the bullies pick on all the other ones. they pick so bad they have killed some of the other ones.

You don’t say how many you have, but it sounds like they might be over crowded. Too many chicks or chickens in too small an area can lead to all kinds of health problems and aggression.

I would suggest separating out the bullies. This will give all more space and allow the ones picked on to grow new feathers and heal.

You didn’t say if these are males or females or a mix. If there are too many roosters, the more dominant ones might try to drive the others away and if caged or penned the others can’t go away, as they would in a more natural setting.

My theory in keeping chickens and other animals is to give them the most possible space, so formulas for the minimal amount are good to know, but you want to double or triple, if possible.

The wild ancestors of our domesticated breeds live in forests and open areas, where the more dominant birds can just chase away the competition for food and territory and mates.

I received a call from a concerned citizen about some chicks in a feed store. She said some were plucked and bleeding.

When I called the store they were familiar with the woman and her complaints and were anxious to move these large chicks. They gave me a great deal on the 13 living in a 24” x 24” rabbit cage.

One was bloody and about half the group tattered. I placed the nice looking chicks to one large cage and the shabby in another, and kept an eye on and doctored the one in bad shape. Within a few weeks both groups looked great!

I moved them all to a large flight pen together and there were no problems. I’ve found that a tattered chick or chicken seems to invite attention from bullies, so best to pull the nicest looking ones. The ones with all their feathers are almost always the bullies.

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Hen afraid of the flock

Hen afraid of the flock: I have a barred rock hen that had been pecked on by the other hens and our rooster. Her comb was torn and bleeding and her foot and leg were injured.

I nursed her back to health, she is now fat n sassy and her comb grew back in, she is now totally attached to me and looks to me for safety from the rest of the flock.

She is scared to death of them now, I have tried putting her back with them but they seem to turn on her, how do I re introduce her into my flock with out traumatizing her and her getting hurt again? I don’t know what to do.

I also will be having 4 new pullets to introduce to the flock once they are grown.

You might want to temporarily remove the rooster and the most dominant hens from the flock and try to reintroduce her to the rest, making sure there is plenty of food and space.

Chickens can get very annoyed and pick on the weakest ones if in too small an area.

Inside the coop should allow about 4 sq ft per chicken and the yard should allow about 10 sq ft per chicken.

Try adding additional feeding stations to cut down on competition for feed and sprinkling some kind of treat or scratch so all can get to some. It can be difficult to introduce new chickens or re-introduce one that has been away for a while.

If you can observe their behavior, see who is leading this battle against the Barred Rock, you may be able to get her reintroduced without that one for a few days. Chickens are very territorial.

I’m not sure why they don’t want her with them, but often over crowding is the issue. Sometimes, if their diet is deficient in some way, they might be feeling like there isn’t enough food for all and try to get rid of the weak.

Try to increase variety of diet and quality, possibly give vitamin and mineral supplement on a regular basis. You may also need to remove the most dominant chickens to introduce the new ones later on.

Re introducing the rooster and dominant hens one at a time will tell if you still have a problem and who the worst offender is.

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