Naughty Bluebell got put to bed early

The night before last I was surprised to find the little girls in their favourite bedtime position on the little chair. I wondered how they had managed not to be chased from there by Bluebell.

Last night I was later than usual doing my evening chores. The little girls were settled on the chair again and Bluebell was on the high perch with Pepper and Dotty. The next moment I saw Bluebell jump to the store cabinet then the little chair causing one of the little girls to fly off.

The other little girl held her position so Bluebell held her down and started pecking at her. It was horrible to see and I grabbed Bluebell and put her into the coop then unhooked the automatic door and closed it.

I decided she could have a bit of time alone in the coop before I put the others to bed and the little girls could have some time back on the little chair.

I left them for about ten minutes so that it would be dark enough for the automatic door to close on it’s own. I hooked it back up again and let it start closing, then lifted the other girls down and put them in.

Bluebell may be going to bed a bit earlier for the next few nights. I really can’t bare to see her attack the little girls like that and she will be shown that I am in fact top hen!

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8 Responses to Naughty Bluebell got put to bed early

  1. Steve says:

    There a couple of things that you need to remember:

    First of all remember that chickens are pretty dim and she probably won’t think of this a a punishment, so it might not change her behaviour.

    Secondly, Bluebell is not top hen, and even if she knows you are in charge she will still need to show her dominance over those below her in the pecking order.

    It’s probably good to give the other girls a bit of a break from her but things aren’t necessarily going to change. It must be horrible to see and I can totally see that it is distressing to them and to you, but chickens will be chickens!

    Let’s see what happens over the next few nights…

    • Carol says:

      I know, I totally agree with all that you say but I was trying to keep some sense of humour here. R says Bluebells been put on the naughty step! It amuses him to see me being mother hen even their behaviour frustrates him too.

      • Jackie says:

        I was wondering who to comment on here you Carol or Steve.
        First of all Steve Chickens are not dim! After I admit only 3 years of chicken keeping I have come to realise they are very clever and cunning animals 🙂 As you say Bluebell is not really top chick as we know .
        If she was she would be calm cool and collected and lord over the overs protectively .She would act like a rooster in a way and keep the peace .
        Bluebell is afraid of going down the pecking order so she is probably in the middle somewhere and feels that the banties are a threat but this seems to be getting a little bit out of order.
        Carol is right to keep her away , but she knows that I think she needs to kept away for longer to give the banties and the others more quiet time with no fear of a battle. I think a pecked and threatened chicken needs a break.
        It is horrible to see and as we have mentioned before if we had a big flock we probably would not notice too much and Bluebell would have got away with it .
        I don’t think that I have helped at all.

        • Carol says:

          Last night Bluebell took up her place on the chair earlier so that there was no need for a battle. All was calm and I put them in at ten past eight. The nights are drawing in quickly now.

          I know Steve thinks they are dim and we know they can be surprisingly clever at times for creatures with such a small brain so I let one go.

          I know that Bluebells problem stems from being in the middle. Pepper at the top only needs to give an occasional swift peck or a hard look to show those below her their place.

          The bantys don’t contest Bluebell or actually show any fear either. I wonder it that is what winds her up!

          • Jackie says:

            “The bantys don’t contest Bluebell or actually show any fear either. I wonder it that is what winds her up! ”

            You might be right … A member of my close family is like that with Becky. All her life Beck has been knocked down by them in some way or other but as she has got older and wiser she has totally ignored it and realises it is not a personal thing ..This irritates the person to bits.Beck reckons though that the person is not as confident as she appears and it is all a front .

  2. Carol says:

    I think you may be right. The feather pulling bothers me because it spoils their looks but doesn’t bother them (been down this road before). The worst moments are the ones I have documented so it’s not happening all the time. The bantys have bright red combs and are laying so I know they are not stressed. They bounce back and carry on seemingly unaffected and never run or hide so I honestly don’t think it bothers them too much. That’s why I am reluctant to separate Bluebell, I think it will only cause more stress. If the bantys were looking stressed it would be different but they are showing no signs of stress just looking rather shabby like the rest of the flock.

  3. Sarah homann says:

    carol- I have been reading your great blog. I am raising 7 assorted darlings in my yard. illegal, I may add!
    one of the girls is a bit on the slow side. Her name is Gertie. she is a Beautiful polish hen. Crooked head,crooked toes and gorgeous feathers..
    Anywho…She is the low and slow one in the coop. I went out and to my horror she had blood on her back! I scolded the others. Gertie was taken to the make-shift hospital in the garage. She is so sweet and clueless. I waited for the bleeding to stop and left her alone all afternoon. Of course, the minute I put her back in the coop…yep, everyone returned to pick a feather off her back..Ugh.




    • Carol says:

      Oh how awful. If you have been following for a while you may have read of my problems with feather pulling. I have done everything I can to stop it, I tell them off and spray them with water whenever I see it but they still do it when I’m not there. I put plenty of things in the run so they are not bored and give them protein although they only occasional eat the feathers. I separated Bluebell for a while but she is still the worst culprit but not the only culprit.

      You can use the blue or purple spray to cover up the red which should make it less attractive. You will probably need to keep her apart until she has healed. Polish are known as the most dim of chickens but also the submissive nature of chickens means they stand and let another pull feathers rather than move away. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful as I’ve struggled with this for so long myself. It drives me nuts to my poor bantys being stripped of feathers. At least we know we are not alone.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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