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Hi all,

First time poster, long time lurked.

I currently have 3 hybrid hens which I got as POL's in September. 1 rhode rock, 1 speckledy and 1 RIRxLight sussex. As expected the RIRxLS was always going to be bottom of the pecking order. 

Recently I found the RIRxLS hiding in the coop with blood on her. She had a nasty wound near her vent. I treated her and sperated the run so they could all see each other until she healed. When I put her back in, the RR gave her a nasty time and was really pecking at her. I then isolated the RR in the separate part for ten days and all was okay. I then let them all back together and all seemed fine.

Then last week I went up there and the RIRxLS was hiding in the coop again. She had been attacked again and was bleeding. I sperated her (but all can see each other) while she healed again. I have found a new home for the RR with more hens and cockerels and she is obviously a bully hen who needs a new home.

Today I tried putting the RIRxLS back with speckledy and isolating RR til she goes to her new home next week. And then as if it couldn't get any worse, speckledy has now taken a disliking to the RIRxLS and is pecking at her and pulling her feathers out.

I have tried anti-peck spray and it does nothing. I think they may all be having a moult and have powdered them recently to make sure theirs no fleas.

What do I do? Do I re-home Speckledy as well with the RR and get 3 new POL's to go with my RIRxLS? Are other two just bad tempered and need a different setting with more hens?

I feed organic layers pellets with corn as an afternoon treat.

I have a 3 x 4 meter walk in run for 3 girls with a cube mk2. They have a large perch and pecking bits.

I'm at a loss and at my wits end and at the moment I am thinking re-home both RR and Speckledy as they are both set on bullying her and get 3 new pullets that arent RIR x Plymouth rocks to go with my RIRxLS and hope they are better natured?

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We had a Rhode Island Red that was a nasty piece of work and she was re-homed, ultimately being eaten by a fox.

Try fitting beak bits, which are normally in place for two weeks, but we've had one hen who needed one permanently (she was ultimately eaten by a  hunting dog).

They won't be moulting now but when they get close to laying they can make the nest box(es) their territory and that will spark bullying. Clearly they have plenty of room so that's not a problem. They need a deep pellet feeder when they have the bits fitted and won't be able to peck at corn or anything on the ground.

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Sorry to hear you are having a difficult time.

It sounds like you have plenty of space and room for your hens. In case of bullying, do provide enough places to get away, so plenty of perches and climbing things. Also double up on feeding and drinking stations.
Getting new hens to accompany your Light Sussex might not be a solution. There must be a reason she is bottom hen and this might not change with different chickens. You could try fitting the Speckledy (and maybe your Rhode Island too for the time she is still with you) with a bumpa bit, so at least she can't do any more damage. But this won't necessarily change the status of your Light Sussex. 

Unfortunately it is always a gamble and some hens just don't do well in the situation or in the company of the others. When getting new POL's consider getting similar hens to the ones you have. Chickens do recognise colour and size and often gravitate to similar breeds. (this isn't always the case, but can help)

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Hi, thanks for your help and advice so far. I've got plenty of eating and drinking places for them and have created little sections for them to get away from each other.

I do keep thinking of the bumpa bits but they just seem abit cruel. Maybe I'm overthinking it.

The victim is a very placid hen who doesn't really stick up for herself so I think she probably would end up bottom again. Its just I am thinking of new pullets that are of similar breed and having no RIRxPlymouth rocks or reverse. And it's just I can tell it's not a bit of a pecking order scuffle. Its plain out right bullying from the other two. To the point she has been badly injured twice. They are all now around 9/10 months old and all three are laying pretty much every day.

I just feel bad for the victim hen as she is having her feathers yanked out and being pecked alive. I just wonder if the other two are big bullies and that wont change. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Beantree said:

We had a Rhode Island Red that was a nasty piece of work and she was re-homed, ultimately being eaten by a fox.

Try fitting beak bits, which are normally in place for two weeks, but we've had one hen who needed one permanently (she was ultimately eaten by a  hunting dog).

 

Karma

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If it was me, I think I’d rehome the Speckledy and get a couple of POL bantams to go with your RIRxLS. Of course that assumes you don’t mind having smaller eggs.

Then perhaps later in the year you could try adding a couple more POL hybrids if that’s what you wanted.

As others have said it sounds as if your set up and care is fine for the number of your hens so it does just sound like you’ve been unlucky with the group dynamic, and although I’ve never experienced this myself, from all I’ve read I’d say you probably need to get rid of all the perpetrators so the behaviour stops being passed on.

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Thanks for your help and advice. That's exactly what has been going around in my head is that the bullies need to go as I didnt want that behaviour passed on.

I managed to find a great home for the rhode rock and speckledy at a stables with other hens and a cockerel to keep their behaviour in check.

I also got three new POL's on Saturday to go with my 10 month old RIRxLS. She has gone from being the victim of nasty ganging up and attacks at the bottom to being top of the pecking order with 3 youngsters to keep in on their toes. So far she seems glad of the new company and change of dynamics. There has been a bit of chasing and pecking while they all establish their new order but nothing nasty and continuous and all in all seem to be settling rather well. The new girls are 2x Sussex and 1x Medicis. 

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