Bullied Chicken Not Eating (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, animals have learned to compete for resources like food, water, shelter, and even mates. The weakest link suffers in the wild and may die because it can’t access resources.

If you’re raising chickens, and a bullied chicken is not eating, you’d be right to be worried, this article explores this topic 

Bullied chicken not eating:

If your bird is being bullied you’d be right to be concerned, here are possible reasons why this may be happening:

Pecking order: 

Chickens have a social hierarchy system called the pecking order. The pecking order is how birds determine who gets first access to food and water, among other things.

This pecking order can, unfortunately, cause birds who are lower in the pecking order to suffer because larger birds may keep the smaller birds away from food.

The lower-ranking birds may develop malnutrition and can die if this situation doesn’t change.

Your bird may be being bullied because it has a low rank in the pecking order. Birds who are younger, or breeds that are smaller, may suffer against older and bigger breeds of birds.

Your smallest, weakest, and youngest birds may be being bullied and may be being kept away from the feeders keeping them from being able to eat

What to do:

If you can, avoid mixing birds of different ages and breeds. A pecking order will still happen if you group birds of a similar size and age together, but it won’t be so bad that some birds will be kept from eating.

Also, separate the bully birds, who are doing most of the pecking, from the flock. Keep them isolated for some time before bringing them back into the flock.

Separate the bullied bird from the flock if it is injured. Isolate the bird and give it food and water to get its strength back up after being bullied and malnourished. Bring this bird back into the flock once it is stronger 

Lack of food and water: 

Competition is fierce in the animal world, this competition will also exist in your flock, on your property, if food and water are limited.

If there isn’t enough food and water to go around, then the stronger birds will bully the weaker birds away from the food sources and the weaker birds won’t be able to eat. 

What to do: 

Providing enough food for your whole flock is a must, this will ensure that the larger and stronger birds get food and will also ensure that there is leftover food for the smaller and weaker birds.

You may need to set up multiple feeders and water containers if your flock is larger. Doing this will enable more birds to eat at one time and keep bullying from happening.

Different-sized flocks will require different amounts of food.

One chicken needs about ¼ pounds of feed a day. Water is also important, chickens need 1 pint or two cups of water a day on a normal day and double the amount of water on a hot day. Consider this when feeding your birds.  


If one of your birds is sick then the rest of the flock may start to bully it.

Birds try to avoid showing signs of weakness, illness, and injury because they know that they will get singled out and bullied by the rest of the flock if the rest of the flock catches on, this is a survival mechanism for chickens

If a predator, in the wild, were to notice that one bird is sick or injured, then the predator would more likely attack making the whole flock vulnerable.

The healthy flock members may bully the bird, and even kill it, to maintain the strength of the flock. The sick or injured bird may also be bullied away from food sources 

What to do: 

If your injured or sick bird is being bullied, and is being kept away from food sources, then you’d need to isolate the bird until it gets better.

Isolate the bird and give it access to food, water, and treatment for the injury until it gets better. The bird can be reintroduced back into the flock once healthy.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in:  Can Chickens Drink Well Water?Can Chickens Drink Chlorinated Water?Multiple Broody HensChickens Pecking Each Other To Death, Broody Hen Eggs Not Hatching

Bullied Chicken Not Eating (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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