Ever notice that bully behavior rarely happens in lone situations? The bully always seems to have a buddy (or two or three)…and for some, bully behavior seems to give them permission to suspend all moral and ethical convictions. It’s sad when humans do this…you’d think human intelligence would teach us to be better…but human intelligence doesn’t always mean human smarts.
We’re having a little bullying problem with a couple of the Chicken Nuggets. Most of them are big enough to stop them…so the Dastardly Duo have turned their attention to the smallest. So far it’s mostly feather pulling…and mostly by the Duo…but occasionally I see one or two others join in. I try to stop that as much as possible because I don’t want all of them to decide it’s okay to join in and peck the poor little one to death. That would devastate my kidlets who have all declared the “baby” to be their favorite.
Look how much she’s been plucked! 😦 After this picture was taken, I covered her bare spots with gentian violet. That’s supposed to help keep the others from following the bullies. Today I covered her back and neck with Vicks Vapor Rub…which is supposed to discourage the bullies. Another recommendation I was given was to try adding vinegar to their water…for missing vitamins or something like that…and to toss a handful of cat food in their pen…for extra protein. I’ve done the vinegar before and I think it might have helped when they were picking on one of the other chickens…but it’s also possible that the one just got big enough to stand up for herself.
I’m hoping that putting them out in the bigger coop (hopefully this weekend) will help…along with the suggestions I’m trying. I don’t look forward to having to separate them. Preferably I’d separate the bullies and hope the others let her be. Supposedly that would change the pecking order dynamics that when they’re put back the bully behavior won’t be tolerated by the others. I really don’t want to have to separate the little one…I fear the others wouldn’t let her back at that point. And even though we all love this little one…there’s NO WAY she’d ever be a house chicken!