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My alpha hen has been dethroned - Page 2

post #11 of 18

It's always difficult to add/return a bird to a well established flock.  Look at the situation in their eyes.  The boss hen is no longer the boss.  Not only that she is weak and unable to lead the flock.  So the next in line has established her leadership skills and will work hard to keep her number one status.  Since the ex-boss is not healthy she is considered a liability to the flock and needs to leave before she attracts a predator.

 

I've been in this situation and since I have a lot of emotional investment with my JG hens, I talked the hubby into making another coop to house my Marans pullets.

 

However not everybody can afford a new coop so if I were in your situation I would provide the hen with her own protected area within your coop (if it is large enough)  Years ago I purchased a Go-Go pen for 90 bucks which has been used on many occasions to house my larger avian patients and introduce newbies to the flock.  I fashioned a chicken wire top for it and it has served me well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember in the world of predator and prey animals it is not advantageous to keep unhealthy/injured members around.  However, in the human world our urge to nurture the sick and injured is what separates us from the animals.  Nature is cruel.  We don't have to be cruel.  Since your hen is not able to establish any rank in the flock, I would provide her with other accommodations with a buddy bird.  I think both of you would be much happier.  Maybe later, when she's feeling more robust, you can try returning her to the flock.

 

 

 

Hope this helps.

Married to the old dude, 0 human kids, 1 horses: Zane Grey , 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 12 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele.  Jersey Giant...

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Married to the old dude, 0 human kids, 1 horses: Zane Grey , 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 12 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele.  Jersey Giant...

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post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing your nice setup, @theoldchick! I have been thinking about trying to set up a pen within the run for her, that is an option. My coop is relatively small given the size of their run, so it wouldn't fit in there- but they generally never go in the coop except to lay or on very cold or very windy days (rarely). She gets to the roost and her preferred spot at night without being harassed, so she's ok in that respect.

 

More bad news though, I was just out checking on her and I think her crop is puffing up again :( If it sours again, this will be the 3rd time in 6 months, and I think I would have her put to sleep rather than suffer through another attempt to clear it out. I'm not sure yet that's what's happening, as she was actively free ranging for the past two hours and did eat a few bugs and things, so maybe it's just that she's actually eating again and it's a little fuller rather than flat, as it's been the past few days (I could actually feel the grit in it this morning, a really weird feeling).

 

When I got chickens four years ago, I really didn't think I'd get so attached to them. I just feel very sad about all of this right now. But most important to me is not making her suffer just because it's hard to think of losing her. I'm worried we're very close to that line right now.

Fun little flock of 8: I RIR, 1 Barred Rock, 2 Golden Comets, 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes

Watch the best-ever chicken commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwML2PagbY

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Fun little flock of 8: I RIR, 1 Barred Rock, 2 Golden Comets, 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes

Watch the best-ever chicken commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwML2PagbY

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post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately there's a sad ending to my story. Red woke up this morning with her crop distended and squishy. She refused to eat or drink, and stood around hunched up, tail down, eyes closed. I took her back to our chicken vet. He offered to try flushing the crop, tube feeding, and trying a different antibiotic. But she was clearly just not well, and had lost more weight (she weighed less than 3 lbs). I opted to have her put to sleep, which was very hard, but ultimately, the right thing. I miss her already, but I couldn't stand to see her bullied and in pain.

Fun little flock of 8: I RIR, 1 Barred Rock, 2 Golden Comets, 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes

Watch the best-ever chicken commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwML2PagbY

Reply

Fun little flock of 8: I RIR, 1 Barred Rock, 2 Golden Comets, 4 Golden Laced Wyandottes

Watch the best-ever chicken commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwML2PagbY

Reply
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deacons View Post
 

I have a flock of 7 hens, all between three and four years old. They've been together with no additions since the 3-year-olds came as day-old chicks.

 

Last week, my alpha hen, Red, had a terrible sour crop incident. I really didn't think she'd make it through- only with the help of a local avian vet (and an embarrassinng bill to go with it! :)) did she pull through.

 

However, she spent 2 days at the vet's office, and 3 more in my house recovering. Once she started feeling a little better, I slowly gave her time outside with her best buddy before putting her back out with the flock. Before putting her back out in the run with all the rest of them, I let her out in the yard with them for supervised free ranging time.

 

The unthinkable happened- one of the other hens decided to challenge her in a chest-to-chest battle for the flock- and she lost :( I feel terrible, because she's still skinny and a little weak, so I'm second guessing whether I should have let her out with the others when I did. But she was clearly depressed on her own, so I didn't feel that I had a choice. She was down to 3.5 lbs when she was really sick, and is slowly gaining back- the Golden Laced Wyandotte who took her on is probably close to 7lbs, so it wasn't much of a match.

 

Red has been the unchallenged flock leader for as long as I've had chickens. She's a benevolent leader but has always clearly been in charge. Now, this Wynadotte and her sidekick have moved up in the pecking order, putting Red back in 3rd position. She makes these really pathetic little cheeping chick sounds when the mean girls walk past her, and runs away from them (which seems to incite them to start chasing her). So far, there's been no physical violence. It was just the chest thumping, and occassionally the new #2 will chase after her and grab her feathers between her shoulders. It's been two days now of full integration back with the flock, but I'm not seeing anything improving.

 

Since she really needs to start eating well to put back a couple of lost lbs, I'm worried she's not going to eat enough with them around. They have a large fenced run with multiple food and water stations, and they free range a couple of hours a day.

 

Am I feeling worse about this than she is? Will she get used to her new position or is this going to be an ongoing problem? As she gets stronger, will she try to regain her spot?

You are feeling worse then the hen,which is ridiculous. She will have to adapt to this new arrangement for now.She may decide to challenge he hen once more and take her place as leader,maybe.I had a hen who never got along with the other.Fights broke out everyday,nothing serious.Just make sure she eats and drinks then let them presume the chasing.She may begin sulking and stressing out since well now she has lost the throne.This is the bad thing about separating chickens for a few days,and having two dominate hens.I have two hens who are leaders but still try overcoming each others place

I have a  few chickens.

2 barreds,named Falcon and Hawk

1 New Hampshire rooster named,Zeus

2 New Hampshire hens named,Vanillipe (One has no name)

1 silver laced Wyandotte named,Special girl

1 White Leghorn roosters named Foggy

3 black&red Sex links,(Black)angel,and one red is named little red,and the other one is Mrs.Prissy

And a few others that sadly,died

 

I have a 11 ducks.

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I have a  few chickens.

2 barreds,named Falcon and Hawk

1 New Hampshire rooster named,Zeus

2 New Hampshire hens named,Vanillipe (One has no name)

1 silver laced Wyandotte named,Special girl

1 White Leghorn roosters named Foggy

3 black&red Sex links,(Black)angel,and one red is named little red,and the other one is Mrs.Prissy

And a few others that sadly,died

 

I have a 11 ducks.

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post #15 of 18
you are obviouly to involved with the chickens and plus are you sure that you want the the rest of the chickens because by the sounds of it you have red then the other chickens
this is completely NATURAL and i bet when red was head hen she bossed the rest around
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deacons View Post

Unfortunately there's a sad ending to my story. Red woke up this morning with her crop distended and squishy. She refused to eat or drink, and stood around hunched up, tail down, eyes closed. I took her back to our chicken vet. He offered to try flushing the crop, tube feeding, and trying a different antibiotic. But she was clearly just not well, and had lost more weight (she weighed less than 3 lbs). I opted to have her put to sleep, which was very hard, but ultimately, the right thing. I miss her already, but I couldn't stand to see her bullied and in pain.

So sorry for your loss sad.png
post #17 of 18

A difficult decision for sure.  You did your best. Very sorry for your loss.

Married to the old dude, 0 human kids, 1 horses: Zane Grey , 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 12 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele.  Jersey Giant...

Reply

Married to the old dude, 0 human kids, 1 horses: Zane Grey , 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 12 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele.  Jersey Giant...

Reply
post #18 of 18
I had to separate one of my RIR's once, and had the same problem when I tried putting her back in. Except she was bullied to the point of bleeding. My solution was to remove the bully, plus the next one up from her in the pecking order. After a week, I put the two of them back in the flock, with absolutely no issues.
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