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One chicken is attacking the chick!!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all! I need some advice. We currently have 6 hens and one rooster. 5 hens and the rooster are all silkies and one hen is a bantam hen that was given to us when she was a chick. All of the hens have always gotten along fine and the rooster is pretty good at keeping everyone in check and protecting the yard. All are also very friendly with us, coming to lay in our laps or getting excited to see us when we go out into the yard. Recently our brood hen laid two eggs (one hatched and the other one fell from the nest during a windstorm and didnt survive). Oh, and our brood hen is a silky. Any way, the one egg hatched about 3 days ago and our broody is proving to be a great mom (it's her first chick). She was only bringing the baby down from the coop for 10 minutes max to eat and drink then she'd take the chick back up to the coop for the remainder of the day / night. Well, this morning, she brought the chick out and took it out into the yard with her. All of our silkies stayed clear of her and did not bother her or the chick at all. However, our bantam hen ran over and pecked the chick and flung it across the yard. The momma quickly defended the chick and made sure it was ok, but the bantam kept challenging momma and trying to get at the chick until I went out and separated the two. Our bantam is usually the more assertive one of all the hens but our broody hen always seemed to be the top hen (no one messes with her). So I dont understand why our bantam is doing this and now I am afraid to keep the hens together. I have the chick and momma separated right now but would like them to all be together since our rooster and broody hen are very affectionate together and he seems to enjoy the chick (he feeds it and usually greets it when it comes out of the coop). Help! 

post #2 of 3

Management. You manage the situation by separating someone. Either take out the trouble maker or keep the broody and chick separated in a different pen until the situation resolves itself.

 

No one understands why this happens. But chicks are killed all the time when no one expects one of the flock may endanger it. Many simply keep the broody and chicks separated at first.

post #3 of 3

:welcome

 

Since it's just the one hen causing issues, I'd pull her from the flock for a few days or a week. I find it's best overall to leave momma and baby with the flock whenever possible. So, wait a while and try putting the aggressor back, on a day when you're available to keep an eye on things. By then the chick will be sturdier, more mobile, and will have learned a little bit of how to behave around the other adult birds. Momma will be more confident and stronger, and in my experience the rooster will have decided to protect the chick also and will run interference if another hen gets out of line with the baby. 

 

It will be normal to have some challenging when you bring the aggressor back, but it should be fairly limited and the loser should be able to run away and avoid conflict. It's also normal for chicks to get a "manners peck" from the other adult birds in the flock. That's basically just a smack to the head saying "get out of my way, punk", with no follow-through or actual mean intent. Chick will put up a fuss and run to momma, who will basically say "I told you to stay out of her way. What did you expect?" and all's good. That's normal interaction, persistent chasing like you described above isn't normal and they need to be separated. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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