Bully Chicken, Toxic Plants

Hi Ben,

This is Shannon from Oakland writing.  I have two chicken questions for you.  One is about evil, aggressive chicken behavior.  My barred rocks and the darker mystery chicken (not sure if you remember that one) have been ganging up on and attacking one of my rhode island reds.  I separated them, and all is peaceful with my 3 “sweet” hens but the two trouble makers are pissed off and on a time out in the tractor on the lawn.  Any advice?  Also, I have been letting them free range and wanted to know if I should be worried about them eating any potentially toxic plants.  The Bio Fuel Oasis in Berkeley had a printout of all these toxic plants, and I am sure we have many of them.  Are chickens smart enough not to eat the bad stuff?  Thanks so much, and I hope all is well.  – – Shannon


Hey Shannon –

Let’s start with the toxic plant issue first.  I wouldn’t worry about it at all.  Just like animals that live in the wild around many toxic things, your chickens won’t eat things that could kill them.  Never say never, but the chances of it happening are very small, so I wouldn’t worry about it.  As for your evil chickens, keep in mind that your chickens will establish a pecking order, the the chicken on the top will peck the others.  This is normal as long as it doesn’t get really nasty to the point that the chickens start to bleed.  The chicken at the bottom has a rough life, and will get picked on quite a bit.  It’s hard to know if what you are experiencing is normal or not without seeing it.  I wouldn’t worry about it unless it gets to the point of blood or they are preventing the chicken from eating food.  Let me know if that helps and if you have any more questions.  Thanks again for being a customer, and good luck!
– Ben


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