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Keeping my production RIR from getting overenthusiastic

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 



I had an incident this morning that scared me.  I put my Welsummer down after holding her (I did notice what looked like a piece of dried skin near her beak that might conceivably have looked like something to peck at).  My RIR went over and pecked her hard enough to draw blood.  I took her inside when I saw the blood and my Mom helped me put some cornstarch on it.


My parents and I kept a close eye on them to see if we needed to separate them.  I noticed that most of the pecking seems to come our around food.  The RIR will take food (green beans, grass clippings) from the others mouths and might possibly get a little too forceful. I don't mind if she takes food (I assume that's a pecking order thing), but I do mind if she draws blood, especially if my parents and I aren't home to intervene.


Any advice on preventing her from drawing blood in the future?  I would love to give them treats as part of my (in progress) boredom prevention program, but not if it's going to lead to serious squabbles.


Also, for those that have production reds, do they do better in a flock with other high strung chickens, or with mellow birds.  My other two birds are pretty mellow (I haven't seen them peck back).  I would be willing to consider a trial rehoming, if this isn't the right flock for her.

post #2 of 6

Treating the wound with a mild saline solution and iodine would probably help the healing process. If there is any sign of blood, then keep her separated until it heals as chickens are relentless when they see blood. 


I'd suggest that when feeding them treats, scatter them as much as possible to minimise food aggression.


I have heard that production birds can be less than wonderful with other flock members, but having four of them myself, i do not find them overly aggressive with other flock members. If the problem continues, then it may be better to get rid of her, but there could be underlying causes, such as insufficient space, insufficient feeding stations etc. I'd suggest you type "causes of aggression" in the search box and see what other members identify as possible causes and see how they may apply to your situation.


all the best


post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I will take a look at the wound tomorrow and see if it looks like it needs to be cleaned.  I also agree with rethinking our setup.  It may be that they would all three be better off somewhere they could free range on pasture (and where they had a more experienced keeper than me). 


As far as the RIR is concerned, she definitely has a sweet/friendly side to her (For example, she will snuggle next to one of the bigger birds when roosting).  It seems to be excitement over food and/or boredom more than a serious attempt to harm the other birds. 

I think she could be a great bird under the right circumstances.  I'm also not sure about separating her from her from my other two.  Given those are they only two birds she's been around, I imagine separation might be stressful.

Edited by SusanD - 2/20/16 at 11:12pm
post #4 of 6

Separation would be stressful for a short time, but chickens are resilient things. 


Possibly giving your chickens more space would be good (if thats possible), but there's no need to consider yourself inexperienced to the level that you are not fit to keep chickens! If we thought like that about anything in life, we'd get nowhere. Be an active member of BYC, learn all you can and check if there's anyone close to you keeping chickens that maybe you could visit to build up your experience (try your state thread for starters).


We all started from zero experience and we (well i do) still make mistakes but as long as we learn from them then we can't expect anymore from ourselves. 


Keeping chickens, as with life in general, is a learning curve so keep your chin up and be positive ;) 


We are all here to help you along the way.



post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply.  I did check the injured chicken this morning, and it looks like she got off with a small black scab - nothing that looked like it needed to be cleaned :)  Also, they got along without any problems today, so I'm hoping that was a one off.  I did by some blue kote to have on hand if needed. 


I should clarify that when I talked about separating them, I was thinking of rehoming and not of temporarily separation to bring her down a notch in the pecking order..  My thought was that the quarantine and integration with a new flock might go better if she had a buddy to hang out with.


I appreciate the encouragement, as I have been a feeling a bit discouraged thinking about the work that (I think) needs to be done to improve their living situation (enrichment activities, better weatherproofing, etc).  I will try reaching out to my Dad for advice, since he was the one who suggested we get chickens in the first place, and I think I kind of took them over from him.  I also like the idea of (biosecurity permitting) checking out what other people in my area are doing.

post #6 of 6

You are welcome, and I'm glad that you are feeling a little better about things. Great idea to talk to your dad and see what between you, you can come up with.


Re: re-homing and having a buddy to hang out with - don't worry about that - I have introduced lone chickens to my flock before with very little upset or commotion - she'll be fine. Maybe you won't need to if they seem to be ok, at least for today.


All the best


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