I hope that I am posting under the correct category! I am uncertain if this forum is specific to egg laying behavior or to 1. behaviors of chickens and a separate category of 2. egg laying. I can repost elsewhere if this is the incorrect place. So here it goes -
Good day all. On Friday morning when I opened the doors to our hen house, I found my 2 older, rescued hens to be fighting with each other, like roosters. I do not know what breed of chickens they are as they were rescued from a parking lot where they probably fell from a truck. They have been together nearly 3 years with no issues. Presently they are not laying. They are free range chickens. One of the hens is (or was?) a dominant female, who would cock a doodle do before we got our rooster. This is the one who got pecked in the face and comb pretty bad. However both hens were aggressive and I cannot say who started this. I have kept them separated since then but they cluck and carry on when they know the other one is in the area. On Sunday, I put one in a fenced area and had the other free ranging. They beat each other up on the heads again, only this time through the chicken wire. Today, they are both locked up in rabbit hutches as I fear the worst. I have also noticed that 2 of my banties have also been fighting but not to the extent of them drawing blood. I am finding this behavior with both pairs to be very odd and out of the ordinary. They only change I have made was to make a homemade scratch with cracked corn, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. I did not give them shelled sunflower and I have been reading that the sunflowers should be shelled. I found this recipe on another site for healthy scratch grains for the winter. I am located in PA and the weather has been out of the ordinary balmy weather. I am wondering if I provided them with too much protein and the warm weather and protein created the energy which turned into an aggression. I am afraid of putting one with the flock for fear that the other chickens will smell and see the blood and scabs and they will kill her. I am not certain this will happen but it is a fear. I need help on how to fix this problem. Thanks for your expert advice ahead of time.