Yearlings bullying pen-mate

Cindy in SD

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I just brought home three heifers of varying sizes. Scottish Highlands. The biggest one was a bottle baby raised in the house because she was found on a cold, cold day, nearly frozen. The littlest one is bullying her and sometimes the middle one joins in. Is there any way I can mitigate this?
 

Donna R. Raybon

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Pecking order is real and that is what is going on. I ensure enough room, shade, shelter, food, water, etc. so one being bullied can get enough to eat and rest apart from bully. Try not to separate unless real damage is being done as they will start over when put together. Momma cows would keep order, without 'adult' supervision bullying happens.
 

Cindy in SD

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We just had a nasty surprise hail storm. :hit Poor babies.:( We gave them sweet feed. I hope that was right. Except for Cait (she’s the mean one) because she wouldn’t take it. The blond girl is now Alana (the biggest one) The middle one (in the back) is Bridget, and Cait, the smallest, is up front.
 
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greybeard

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As was said, pecking order has to be established, and in this case, the littlest one is probably preempting the process and is establishing that she isn't going to be the one on the receiving end of things.
It's normal.
However...occasionally, there will be one in the herd that for whatever reason, attracts more of the hazing than any others, and does it for months and even years. Smells/hormones/pheromones...I dunno, but the rest can sense that one is weak willed and is vulnerable to being pushed around, even to the appearance of being hated.
I have had it happen with just one over a period of 3 years, but it never stopped for more than a few days in a row and it was violent. The rest absolutely hated her and if i had not intervened several times, I have little doubt they would have seriously injured or killed her. Learned my lesson tho.
IF that happens, the best course of action is simply to get rid of the one being pushed around.
 

farmerjan

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As @greybeard said, they are establishing their pecking order. The largest one, being a bottle baby, probably was taught by her "human family" that pushing was not acceptable, so she will be less aggressive. But she will learn. In the making of the shelter, I suggest a divider wall in the middle. This way, if the "bully" chases the least aggressive one out, she will have a place to go and they will get tired of constantly trading sides. Many of these premade "run in" shelters that you see for horses have this wall that divides it in half so that there is a respite from any aggressive lot mates. And horses can be very nasty about bullying. Raised Appaloosa's for years and they were not near as pushy as some breeds seem to be.
Since you just got them, I would give it some time. Watch them closely and make sure that one does not get hurt or down. Sometimes you have to separate the bully, sometimes the one being bullied. I tend to opt for getting rid of the bully, but sometimes as GB said, the one being bullied will never stand up for themself and just won't work. You will get a feel for it from watching them.
 
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