We have been trying to integrate our two Easter Egger chicks (aka The Chicken Nuggets) into the flock of Big Girls for more than a month. While they are sleeping in the coop and appear to be safely hanging in the run during the day while we are gone they are not actually integrated. Most nights they are found sleeping in a nesting box. When we return home from work the chicks are most often in the coop while the hens are at the door waiting to be let out. Once let out into the chicken yard, the Big girls go one way and the chicks go another. The chicks are quick to run in fear when any of the Big Girls come within 3 feet of them. One of the Big Girls seems to enjoy seeking the Nuggets out in order to peck, pull feathers or give chase. She actually seemed to take great pleasure in these. The chicks are nearing their 4th month and I finally hit my breaking point with this bullying. After doing the research I decided it was time for the Big Bully to have a time out.
It’s said you can remove the bullying bird from the flock for several days. Upon returning her to the flock she will be so busy worrying about re-establishing her place in the pecking order that she will not be concerned with her old victim(s). Saturday night I had finally had it, Out she came and into the doghouse (literally) she went. We set up an x-pen on the patio, placed a small doghouse in it along with food and water, covered the top in plastic chicken fencing and placed the offending hen in her new (though temporary) digs.
Her Temporary Digs
Last night we made the decision to return the bully to the flock. All I can say is, Oh my. That hen sure got a taste of her own medicine. The moment she entered the Chicken Yard the 2 Barred Rocks were hot on her tail. One actually jumped on her back, grabbed and beak full of feathers and landed on her back when the Bully bucked her off.
What came out of her beak, ouch!
The offending hen tried her best to stay out of the line of fire but once she was in the sights of either of the Barred Rocks it was on again. Raven (the bully) would make a run for it, ducking, bobbing and weaving in and around the garden containers but everywhere she turned she ran into another hen. While the Barred Rocks were the cruelest even the Easter Eggers got in on a little of the action. When running by, Cluck would reach out and give a peck to her head. Swainson showed no interest in pecking but made her distaste known by standing up as tall as she could and puffing her neck feathers out, effectively making her appear to have some cobra snake in her. What a sight.
Raven surprisingly made a beeline to the nesting boxes shortly after her return to the Chicken Yard and coop. She had laid an egg on Sunday in the doghouse but we hadn’t received any since. It was nearing the end of the day when we returned her to the flock so I had already figured we wouldn’t see an egg from her until tomorrow. I had gone looking for her in the Chicken yard, wondering where she was hiding. It wasn’t until I open the lid to the favorite nesting boxes that I found her. Wow, ok, sorry to disturb you. So creeper peeper that I am, I watched (and videoed) as she laid her egg. Pretty cool, I hope to upload that video to my Facebook page so share.
Once she finished her business it was right back to trying to hide or running for her life. The previous owners had it right when they had simply called the Barred Rocks “the Velociraptresses” good grief. I caught myself feeling bad for the original bully a few times, but was quick to remind myself that she was just getting what she had given to the all the birds who she deemed lower than she. Besides, by the time they were settling in to roost for the night, the 5 Big Girls were all snuggled up next to one another on half of the perch. Even one of the 2 Nuggets chose the far end of the roosting bar over the usual nesting box. So maybe there is hope. Only time will tell.