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Once Bffs now fighting

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello, 

I'm a bit confused. I have two hens that have been together since they were baby chicks and they are now 11 months old. They were always together, always eating together and foraging together, dust bathing together... etc. Husband and I were on vacation for 9 days and we had my mother in law come and feed them and make sure they had water. We got back and I had them free ranging and I hear one of my hens freaking out. I run outside and think the worst (that a hawk got one of them) and then I see Helen coming out of the coop and she's bleeding down her face. She comes up to me and I start looking and I see that she has been cut on her comb. Then I notice that Helen is afraid to get near Luna and Luna is chasing her and pecking at her and flapping her wings. I waited until after dark to put them in the coop together and now they are roosting and being fine but I'm afraid that they'll start fighting again when the sun comes up and Helen seems to be terrified of Luna. I was reading that maybe they are establishing the pecking order but I already had the impression that Luna (an Ameraucana) was dominant over Helen (Barred rock) and isn't it too late in the game to be establishing pecking order? Any help and advice is greatly appreciated! =) 

post #2 of 6

You read correctly. Chickens sometimes just get tired of their spot in the pecking order and want to move up. Perhaps Luna decided she wanted those tasty bugs first. After this change is established in approx 1-2 weeks, things will be settled down and they may even become friends again. Nothing to worry too much about, just keep an eye out for wounds and add neosporin.

UTAH 4-H STATE CONTEST WINNER - (1ST) 4-H DEMONSTRATIONS!! [7/17/13] - HOW TO WASH A SHOW CHICKEN 

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~Whittni, a happy owner of: No chickens :( I miss them SO much! However, I'm earning a degree at university currently..in Agriculture & minor in art..then I'm off to grad school in Fall 2018.
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UTAH 4-H STATE CONTEST WINNER - (1ST) 4-H DEMONSTRATIONS!! [7/17/13] - HOW TO WASH A SHOW CHICKEN 

 - NOMINATE BYC MEMBERS FOR AWARDS HERE

Whit's Flock (My Chickens) (Click to show)

 

~Whittni, a happy owner of: No chickens :( I miss them SO much! However, I'm earning a degree at university currently..in Agriculture & minor in art..then I'm off to grad school in Fall 2018.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

ahhh ok!! thank you so much for your help! I feel a little better now! thank you so much!! =) I'm going to apply Neosporin on Helen's little wound right now. 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whittni View Post

You read correctly. Chickens sometimes just get tired of their spot in the pecking order and want to move up. Perhaps Luna decided she wanted those tasty bugs first. After this change is established in approx 1-2 weeks, things will be settled down and they may even become friends again. Nothing to worry too much about, just keep an eye out for wounds and add neosporin.
I just got home from work and found Helen in the corner of the coop and there's some blood on the wood trim... And she looks pretty beat up by Luna! Is this part of the whole pecking order thing or something else?? Helen usually lays brown eggs and today her egg was more white than anything
post #5 of 6
In my opinion, this isn't typical behavior. My hens sometimes squabble, but its a quick peck here or there, a few feathers pulled or a couple of kicks and they're over it. No blood drawn or excessive aggression. Helen appears to be healthy, obviously a bit beat up, but her feathers are in good condition and her comb looks nice and red, so I wouldn't think she's sick. I'm also not really sure what to recommend since you've only got 2 chickens. I'd normally suggest removing the bully from the coop for a few days in hopes that their absence would reset the pecking order. But, with only 2 birds, they'll both be alone and it may not solve the issue anyway.

You might look into some pinless peepers for Luna. Or perhaps consider adding one more hen to your flock (which would either knock Luna down in the pecking order, or at least spread the pecking out a little).


Hopefully others will have some better suggestions. Good luck.
Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Yes.. there was quite an amount of blood in the corner of the coop and when I was inspecting it further it looks like they fought in the roost area because there was quite some amount of blood on their roosting stick. The picture was taken before we cleaned her wounds and put Neosporin on her. When we were curing Helen we found a big gash on the side of her face and more damage to the cut on the back of her comb from yesterday. I put Luna (the bully) in my rabbit's house since my mom has the rabbit for now ..it's a two story house and she has enough room to move around and she can roost in the upstairs and lay her eggs for now up there. I am way too scared to put them together right now... I want Helen to heal first. She's missing a bunch of feathers from the top of her head and after applying Neosporin we realized how bad it was. It started bleeding again but I just checked and she seems better. She even came down from her roost to eat a little. Thank you for commenting and sharing your opinion. We are getting new hens in April but they'll be chicks and probably won't be ready to be introduced to the ladies for a few more months. We are also in the process of making a really big coop. I was also reading up a bit and do you think it could be cannibalism? We were gone for 9 days and usually they free range every day but my mother in law was too scared to have them free range and something happen to them while we were gone so she kept them in their coop the whole time. The coop has an upstairs too and is definitely big enough for 2 hens and has a run but maybe Luna went crazy being in there and not being able to free range? I don't know...here i go overthinking again lol


Edited by romymgo - 3/24/16 at 7:20pm
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