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ClaireP

Bullied hen

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I have kept hens for many years now but never had bullying problems before but now one bird is being attacked by most of the others (flock of 7).  I have had all the birds for at least 2 years.  They have a large coop in a big area (lost too many to foxes to allow them total free range).  Earlier in the summer, one bird started being bullied.  Duly applied purple spray and then eventually separated her to let her recover a bit.  I then introduced the gentlest other hen to her and kept the two of them apart for a few weeks.  Finally, I tried reintroducing the two of them and removing the worst bully.  All this with the intention of shaking up the pecking order.  Within minutes of reintroduction, all the other hens apart from the gentle companion were attacking her far more viciously than before.  They didn't go for her companion at all.  I had to remove her again before they killed her.  She is now on her own again, resting in my eglu and occasionally coming out.

I hate her being on her own and I don't really want to keep two separate runs.  Also the eglu is a bit small for the friendly hen (large brahma) so I can't leave them together long-term.

Any ideas?  All I can think is rehoming either her or all 5 bullies.  

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That’s a tough one Claire. Hopefully someone may have a suggestion but I have to say it doesn’t sound solvable. I think if it were me I’d either keep 2 separate flocks - her and her friend separate from the others, or if, as you have said, you really don’t want to do that or can’t because Brahma, then rehoming either the two (I wouldn’t rehome her on her own I’d worry about her too much) or the five is probably your only option unfortunately.

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Thanks.  Was hoping for magic solution but I can't see one either.  I really love my brahma so it may be the others which go.  Might try introducing 1 at a time to brahma and victim to see if any of them will behave.

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It may be that there's something ailing this victim bird, which they can sense - this sometimes happens.

I would Bumpa Bit the ring leader before it draws blood from any other birds. Have you tried spraying them all with vinegar and water? Sounds strange, but it always works - makes them all smell the same!

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