Poor Honey!

April 15, 2008 | By | Comments (5)

Overheard about the coop: “That place is worse than junior high!”

News of our henpecked hen has been spreading through the office, and everyone is distressed about our coop dynamic.

Here are ways we’re planning to make things better:
- Give Honey a place to hide
- Pick her up and pet her a lot. (Admittedly, this last suggestion is from a colleague who watches a lot of The Dog Whisperer, who reasons that small dogs are such terrors because they’re always being held up higher; thus the higher we keep ol’ Honey the higher the other chickens will hold her in esteem.)
- ??? (Readers? Help?!)

On the other hand, this seems to be about the mildest case of pecking order horrors. I’ve read multiple stories of chicks introduced to adult flocks; it never ends well. One hen will peck the chick’s head till she bleeds; then all hell breaks loose. Once chickens have drawn blood, their evil reptilian side comes out and they almost always peck the chick to death. The shocking part: This happens even if the hen who laid the chick is a member of the flock!

Nature is red in tooth and claw, indeed. Be glad your mama wasn’t a chicken.

COMMENTS

  1. liz

    Typically, I will remove the offending chicken for a few days to the quarantine pen. This usually works because: a) the picked on hen will have some quiet time, b) the mean hen will have a time-out, and c) the flock is able to re-establish their pecking order. Toss the mean one back in at night, as the above poster mentioned.

    September 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm
  2. Christy

    You might want to try offering free choice crushed oyster shells, and creating some “obstacles” that would slow down the pecking hen. I have also heard about hanging apples or head of cabbage just out of reach so they have to jump to reach it. Do they have enough square footage? Do you have food and water in the coop near the nest boxes? When I introduced a hen reciently she would hang out in the coop while the other girls were in the run and I often saw her eating and drinking in there where it was quiet and there were no evil pecking order issues. Giving them time to free range also can help.

    Poor Honey!!

    May 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm
  3. Jose R. Mejia

    Hi! I am currently in Iraq and somebody sent me a Sep 2007 issue of Sunset. Is it possible to get the building plan of the beautiful chicken coop on page 18? It has green metal roof and looks like cedar shingles for siding.

    Thank you!
    Jose R. Mejia

    May 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm
  4. Sheila

    Somehow poultry is getting easier to eat.

    April 25, 2008 at 6:05 am
  5. Sony

    I have no experience with chickens, but just happened to have read about this yesterday. What I read was that when introducing a chicken (or re-introducing?) to a flock, you have to put it in the coop while the other chickens are asleep, then they don’t realize the chicken is new and will leave it alone. Good luck! Hope you can get the chickens to coexist peacefully.

    April 18, 2008 at 2:03 pm

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