Poultry Problems: How to Deal with Bullies in the Chicken Coop?Print
Are things in your barnyard turning rougher than what happens in a school playground? Do you have a bunch of bullies amidst your flock?
If yes, then it’s time that you take action against them and save the vulnerable victims.
After all, you don’t want to end up with half the flock being bruised and injured. Do you?
So how do you solve this problem?
For starters, you must know why violent behaviour begins in the first place. As this knowledge can help you suppress it before it prevails.
What Triggers the Chicken Aggression?
Here are the main reasons why hens turn on their own:
- Tight Quarters: Your hens like their personal space which is reduced when the barn is smaller than the flock’s requirements. In such cases, the overcrowding pushes the chickens to pluck and peck at those near them.
- Survival of the Fittest: Despite the domestic surroundings, sick chickens are considered the weakest link. So the flock decides that it’s better to eliminate the liability before it exposes them to danger.
- Stranger Danger: Your hens take their sweet time to warm up to new arrivals. In the meantime, the bully prefers to pluck and push the newcomer around to show them who’s the boss.
- Boredom Buster: Sometimes the chickens don’t need a reason to be bullies. They are simply using the weaker ones as a plaything.
To sum it up, hens usually act out due to stress or boredom. So if you can figure out a way to calm them down then you’ll probably suppress their wild behaviour.
How Do You Deal with the Bully?
Here are your best options to tackle the hostility:
1. Diversion Therapy:
You might already know this but hens are curious creatures. They love to peck and scratch on things as they explore their environment. That’s why it’ll be a good idea to distract them from the victimized hen by introducing some new elements in the barn. This could be anything from grit blocks, soggy logs to bale of straws.
2. Isolation Solution:
There are two ways to go about this technique:
Some poultry owners think that separating the injured hen from her mates is a good safety measure. This keeps it out of harm’s way and helps it to recover from the trauma. But this might ostracize her further so you might think this one over.
The alternative isolation strategy is to punish the oppressor. Keep taking it away from the flock or install a ‘chicken jail’ that keeps it behind bars while the rest of the flock runs free.
3. Strict Supervision:
Lastly, you should keep a close eye on your feathered friends. Notice any shifts in moods and temperaments before they escalate to physical harassments. Moreover, make sure to place extra nest boxes and extra feeding stations to create a makeshift refuge for the beaten up flock.
In short, bullying in the barn can be managed if you are act smartly.
Need a hand?
Little Field Farms is stocked with poultry supplies that could assist you in your efforts to tame the aggressor. Our personal picks are the delicious line feeds and treats that they sell. These treats will be the perfect ruse to distract the bullies from their prey.