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Newtochickens

Broody or bullied?

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Hi everyone,

Was just after a bit of advice if anyone has any. 

We integrated two hens in July. We did it slowly over a couple of weeks and after a few more weeks they were all friends, dust bathing together and there weren’t many problems. 

About a week ago, one of the hens specifically has been picking on one of the smaller ones. She will just peck at her randomly and chase her a bit. We try and allow them to free range for about 5 hours a day outside of work, and she will still do it in the garden. Luckily I have never seen her bleeding. The smaller hen just makes a short sharp clucking (fairly constantly) when she comes near, and tends to flap up somewhere to avoid. I’ve also noticed she will just sit dead and stare until she’s gone past. 

We went away this weekend and came back and she was in the Eglu tucked in the corner. I was really worried about her and gave her a lot of TLC. Her comb and wattle is still very red. She’s eating and drinking, but every time you turn your back she’s back on the nest. It does look like she’s tried to line it with a few feathers and I’ve noticed her picking up straw in the garden like she is wanting to use it and shes really fluffed up when she’s in there. 

I keep trying to get her out (she doesn’t complain very much) to make sure she comes out for food and water, but is there anyway I can work our either way if she’s scared and hiding or broody? Any suggestions to stop the bullying? I worry about them enough - not sure I can cope with the little one being bullied too!

Thank you :) 

 

Edited by Newtochickens

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It does sound like she might be broody - I'm sure someone will be along to advise on this.

The more dominant hens do tend to assert their position in the hierarchy occasionally - mine do the same. They will give a quick peck and a chase if there is nice food around or if they find something interesting when free ranging. As long as they have plenty of food they will cope - I used to worry about it but it is just their way of keeping some kind of order. I have 6 girls with one obvious head hen, three middling ones and two bottom of the pile. Unless you see a lot of aggression and persistent pecking drawing blood I would let them get on with it.

Hope that helps.

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