Wellsummer hen attacking bantam

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Beano

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Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« on: December 27, 2022, 20:01 »
I have a large Wellsummer hen who is currently second in the pecking order, a rock type hybrid who is at the top of the pecking order, but very mild tempered. I have one pekin who is bottom of the pecking order and a Wellsummer bantam who is ambitious. They are together in a large 6mx8m run and are finally (until recently) fine together since September. The large Wellsummer (Layla) being the most agressive towards the bantams.
In the last day or so I've noticed that the bantam Wellsummer (Mai) is getting close to the top hen (Florie). This morning Layla attacked little Mai. She got away a couple of times until she was cornered and Florie joined in.  The poor little girl was screaming and if we hadn't intervened, I'm sure they would have killed her. I have separated them for now. When I checked Mai over I noticed she had a wound with dried blood on the back of her head. I think it must be a day or so old. So not the first attack?
ANY SUGGESTIONS WHAT TO DO NEXT PLEASE. I'm very disappointed because I thought we had done the hard work and was on the home straight, but this has set us back big time.



El.

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John

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2022, 21:45 »
Tricky - if you can give them a time out, the violence might stop when they're back together.
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snowdrops

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2022, 10:46 »
Once shes recovered, Id introduce another low in the order to her & then keep adding them until theirs is the stronger pack leaving the attackers on their own & then add them in to the mix, they should then be the bottom of the pecking order maybe
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Aunty

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2022, 14:19 »
Its a good idea to separate them but keep them close together so that the can interact without being able to fight.

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Beano

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2022, 20:18 »
The two hens are in an eglu coop and run (not ideal size wise) within the big run. The two bantams have the larger coop, also in the big run. They spent time next to the large hens and there was no aggressive behaviour. I hope to spend a bit of time in with them tomorrow and will try them together but only with supervision.  Which will be a big step backwards but there we are,  it is what it is. Mai, the victim, doesn't seem any the worse. She had started crouching for her which just made the aggressor lose it. I wonder if she's getting ready to start laying and this may be the reason for the sudden aggressive attack on her?

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New shoot

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2022, 16:46 »
If the Eglu is inside the main run you could try putting the bully in that and letting the rest mix together to sort the pecking order out. 

It is often easier to get the aggressor out of the situation, rather than try and protect the one getting picked on. Intervening often just stokes things up as the bully sees you as the real boss and favouring another hen over her can make her even more spiteful.

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Beano

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2022, 13:22 »
Thank you all for your replies and support.
Just an update - yesterday I swapped them round. So the two bantams are in the eglu coop and run and the two large hens have the bigger space and coop. I suspected that Mai (the victim) was ready to lay her first egg and she layed a perfect (with some blood smear) little egg, today. I think the other two noticed the difference in her and that's what prompted the attack. Has anyone of you come accross this sort of behaviour?
We're going to split the run in half and keep them separated permanently from now on because it might be the better solution.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2022, 14:22 by Beano »

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New shoot

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Re: Wellsummer hen attacking bantam
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2022, 09:03 »
Being a laying hen can make your status in the flock better.  It doesnt always work that way, but just being seen as a threat could trigger a bit of pre-emptive lets put you back in your place behaviour.

If you can split the run that would be a lot less stressful for you and the bantams.  They can and do become top hen over larger birds sometimes, but you need the personality to achieve that.  If you are timid or unsure, your size can be a big disadvantage.

Hens are obsessed with the pecking order, right down to last place.  A small flock can have more issues than a big one, as there are fewer allies to have and less gangs to join. 



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