by Theresa lightcap

I have two hens hat have been together once two days of age. Why is one suddenly beating up the other.


Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

by: Sharon

Chickens are very survival oriented, so what lies below their actions, may not be what we first think it might be.

Pecking Order is a natural instinct in a flock. You didn't say if you just have these two or if they are with other chickens, too.

Chickens can appear to bully other chickens or just one individual as a sign of their dominance in the flock. Two individuals that have a similar sense of dominance can have trouble settling in and peacefully coexisting.

This sounds possibly territorial in what one is trying to communicate to the other. The behavior is common in roosters and in some breeds, hens may also be territorial. They could have a disagreement over a nest, who gets to eat or drink first, or just about being in each others space.

One of the most common reasons for chickens being unhappy with others near them is over crowding, living in an area that is too small to allow enough distance. Not enough room is stressful and can cause some chickens to lash out demanding more space.

If over crowding isn't an issue, your chickens have lots of room to roost and nest and forage,& there is always plenty of food and water, there can be the issue of the one being bullied not acting right, due to not feeling well. In my experience chickens will try to drive one away that isn't 100% healthy. It's good to check for signs of being underweight, parasites, diarrhea or any other signs of unwellness.

Since I don't know how you feed and keep your chickens, the best advice I can give is to look for all possible reasons for the behavior. If you have to separate them, I always remove the most dominant one - if no signs of illness in the other.

Removing an overly aggressive chicken for a few weeks, will make it lose its status in the flock and any sense that they own the territory. When you reintroduce them, they have to start over at establishing their position in the flock. Sometimes they will forget about the one they were bothering, sometimes they won't.

When I have an overly aggressive chicken in a flock that won't settle in, I find them somewhere else to live.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Chicken Behavior Questions.

Custom Search