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Aggressive hen immediately after laying

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I adopted two hens last fall to live with my one remaining Bovan Brown production hen who had lost her flock mates earlier in 2015. They were all integrated last October with the Bovan taking the position as top hen, which she had been with her other flock mates. In mid November she fell ill. I brought her in the basement, and it took her all winter to recover. She had lost a lot of weight and had crop problems and lots of diarrhea. I had to tube feed her a few times. She fully recovered and actually started laying an egg occasionally. During March I slowly reintroduced her through a fence, and as of last Saturday, they have all been together. The Bovan lost her spot as top hen, with one of the new hens in charge. In fact, it is the new hen that just started laying on 3/5, about two weeks before I successfully integrated the Bovan.

 

Shortly after this new hen started laying I noticed she began acting very aggressively for about 15 to 30 minutes after she lays. Prior to integrating the Bovan and when she was alone with the other new hen, I witnessed her chasing her, biting her neck and trying to mount her. Like I said this lasts about 15 or 30 minutes, with her attacking her a couple times, and then it is done. I started watching more closely since adding the Bovan to the mix. The problem hen lays every two days around noon to 1 p.m. She will come down from laying and start eating food as fast as she can. She seems very frantic. The other two stay clear of her, but out of no where, she will suddenly look for them, and chase them down, biting at their necks and sometimes the comb, ears, or wattles, and actually looks like she is trying to mount them, but never stays on top. Two days ago, she caused a small wound on the comb of the Bovan, but it dried up fast and I sprayed with blue kote just to make sure it wasn't looking red.

 

Has anyone experienced this aggressive behavior after laying. I don't know the history of these two new hens except that they were supposed to be about one year old and were possibly a bantan/regular hen mix. The one laying looks like a barred rock, and the other one is completely black. They never laid for me when I initially got them as it was fall, and they were probably stressed and, in fact, they molted a bit after I got them. I didn't get an egg from them until 3/5 when the one started laying. The other one hasn't laid yet.

post #2 of 4

So just the 3 birds?

Do they have lots of space?

 

Some hens are bullies,

some can get rambunctious when the hormones flow at onset of lay,

some hens will assume rooster behaviors when no rooster is present.

It could be 1 or all 3 of those things...and/or something else.

 

I have had bully hens, but have enough space and birds that it wasn't really a problem.....but they were delicious.

Have seen a bird lay then come down and eat and/or drink with great vigor.

 

Sorry no finite answers, but some thoughts.


Edited by aart - 3/30/16 at 1:27pm

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply aart. This is her when I first got the two last fall and they were in quarantine in the garage. And, yes, just the three birds. They have plenty of room in my mind. They sleep in a prefab coop that has two nest boxes and two perches which is made for four birds. This coop is located inside a covered run I built on the side of my garage that is about six feet wide and 19 feet long. They have constant access to all this space, so 114 sq feet for three birds. In addition, I have an attached uncovered run outside their covered run that is about 6 x 10 feet. I open this to them during the day on nice days and even on cloudy, rainy days like today. It is chain link fence covered by aviary netting to prevent hawk attacks. They all seem to explore the entire space. They have two water buckets with three nipples each and two different feeders. They all use both feeders and waterers.

 

I'm hoping it is just hormones and she'll settle down. She is a very muscular looking bird, so I fear she'd be a little tough to eat!

post #4 of 4

"prefab coop that has two nest boxes and two perches which is made for four birds."

Hmmmm....these are often grossly undersized for the stated number of birds.

Pics and/or actual dimensions on inside of coop not including nests boxes, any feeders, or any bottom entrances?

Probably OK for 3, but still tight inside coop and may result in some crowding stress unless birds really get along well.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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