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  • Hen dominance

    Just thought I would share my current poultry problem in case anyone is interested or would like to comment.
    The top hen whom I have renamed the evil one is a cream legbar
    2 years old. The bottom hen - Baby- is last year's hatch also a cream legbar. Baby is being bullied by evil one who mounts her like a cockerel at every opportunity so that now Baby has no feathers on her back and bare skin visible. Evil one only targets Baby.
    So today I managed to catch evil one and she spent the whole day in the dog crate,!
    Once all had gone to bed I let evil one out and she promptly ran into the hen house and settled down. This will be repeated.
    It was so nice to see Baby pottering round the garden looking much more relaxed and almost teasing her in the crate.
    I would like to add that I don't usually give the hens names unless they earn one! Also I did put a saddle on Baby but evil one managed to get it off ,!

  • #2
    We always seem to have a bully hen
    The sin bin in your case is a good call. We use an old fashioned concrete rabbit hutch for ours. Low enough for the others to still see the bully.
    Repeat it often enough or for longer periods of time and she may stop being considered top hen.
    All that didn’t work with my previous bully though…she’s not with us anymore

    I presume by now you would know for sure Baby isn’t a boy?

    Out of interest how many chooks do you have now?
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

    Location....Normandy France

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    • #3
      I have 9 hens. They were all hatched here by a broody hen which used to be an Australorp. Then she died and a silver laced Barnevelder has gone broody each late spring - she is brooding now, her third time.
      so I have 2 swedish flower, 2 silver laced barnvelder,.1 speckled,4 cream legbar although 1 looks like it's a bit of a mix.
      I can't have cockerels - new neighbours moved in and complained about the crowing!
      I will try and put my evil one back in with the rest. If the behaviour carries on I will give her to my friend who has several cockerels on her flock and will keep her in her place I'm sure!
      How about you...how many hens and what sort?

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      • #4
        We have 7 now, the oldest being about 8 years old and still pops out an occasional egg.
        One cuckoo, three ‘reds’ and three much bigger ‘reds’. Not quite sure of the real name for the reds as they were bought at market, but the first three we bought a couple of years ago do look different from the three we bought last month! ( labelled ‘reds- good layers’)

        You have a nice selection of chooks there mrsbusy!
        We used to have quite a selection from Marans, White Sussex, Harcot , cuckoo, greys ( no idea of the breed name), bantams and an interbred selection of all. No cockerel here either - for the first time in 15 years.
        Our flock at its greatest - three years ago - was around 20, and we were happy to let the Broodies hatch, and the oldies just stay with their family until they keeled over.
        I do miss having a selection of colours as it was much easier to tell them apart from a distance! Different characters too!
        "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

        Location....Normandy France

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        • #5
          Rhode island reds perhaps,?
          I got broody 12 fertile eggs from Durham hens - lucky dip! Each egg is a different breed! That's going to be fun working out who's who of they hatch.

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          • #6
            12 different breeds?…wow- exciting!
            "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

            Location....Normandy France

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            • #7
              Bully hen update. After just 2 days in the dog crate - but allowed back in hen shed once the others had roosted - the evil one is a reformed character.
              Clever hen worked out by day 3 that I might be waiting for her to exit the hen house into the run so I could grab her and put her in the crate - she is usually the first one up and out. On day 3 she didn't come out of the hen shed at all!! But she had learnt her lesson by then.
              posting a picture of her.




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              • #8
                Well handled!…she’s a stunning lass - looks self confident so no wonder she wanted to take charge
                "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                Location....Normandy France

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                • #9
                  Your bully hen has that sort of bossy tail up look about her.
                  I was never originally intended to keep birds when I took on my allotment but was soon offered three birds a month or so after taking on the plot. It was the beginning of COVID. They turned out to be cockerels. One got sick and had to go and after I acquired a hen that kept braking out of all other runs one of the two remaining cockerels started pecking lumps out of peoples calf muscles and had to go too.
                  I took on two rescues after people went back to work. I lost one rescue hen after she went broody and rolled off the nest dead about 10 days in. I also adopted another hen that kept breaking out of runs and letting the rest of the birds out. It never got out of the existing run on my plot because it looks like it was built from recycled mink cages and is too strong for her to get out.
                  I was given a couple more hens from a plot holder who gives all his hens away at the end of summer each year.
                  The hen that kept escaping started laying wonky eggs for about a month and then became the "cockerels bike"
                  Only one of the give away hens remains along with one post COVID rescue.
                  Last year the cockerel put its tail down and stopped crowing for a few days and then keeled over.
                  Then a week later the cockerels bike of a broken heart.
                  I them had two birds left. One Sussex light rescue and one brown adopted from the plot holder who gives them away at the end of summer.
                  Friday was time for a refresher so in goes four point of lays. They appeared quiet enough at first but then the brown adopted one started bullying the new arrivals. It was too late in the day so the bully has had a night in the transporter crate. I was not prepared to go back to find four hens plucked naked in the morning. It is not just the cost of the new birds but also that liquid tax that was consumed to transport them.
                  We will have an outing in the morning. The new arrivals were beginning to go over and look at the bully in the crate and are getting less shy of the older Sussex light by the evening.
                  Photos in the morning.
                  Near Worksop on heavy clay soil

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                  • #10
                    Exciting times Plot!
                    Looking forward to seeing your photos
                    Our matriarch died a few weeks back - she was a lovely calm lass so we were concerned about which of the others would take on her role.
                    None have so far shown obvious signs of bossing….so far !
                    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                    Location....Normandy France

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                    • #11
                      The larger Sussex light was the dominant one before the new birds arrived.
                      She has never feather pecked and has just wondered around looking at the new birds.
                      I am shortly going to have the first go at getting the bully out of the dog house.
                      Near Worksop on heavy clay soil

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                      • #12
                        I had three goes at letting the bully out without success.
                        I never tried today at there was a minor peck and I never spotted the culprit.
                        The old white one was laying an egg when I took the photos.
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                        Near Worksop on heavy clay soil

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                        • #13
                          Can you easily tell them apart? They look lovely! Thanks for sharing.

                          4 of mine are very similar colours- like yours in fact. When they’re together I can tell them apart, but I struggle individually.

                          My DIL gave me some coloured leg rings which have turned out to be smashing particularly when one had been ill and needed medication.

                          I guess your bully is more resilient than some, but given time I’d guess they should succumb. Fingers crossed it’s sooner than later!
                          Last edited by Nicos; 06-05-2024, 08:21 PM.
                          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                          Location....Normandy France

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                          • #14
                            The bully lasted a bit longer before starting again. It looks like it could end up taking a week or more.
                            Near Worksop on heavy clay soil

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