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One hen pecking another

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,
We have just 3 hens and have two chicks that are in a separate pen getting ready to be introduced to the others. We recently brought the chicks to the yard and let them poke about a bit, supervised. Since then, one of the hens, that have been living together peacefully for the last year, started picking on another, and over the course of several days made her neck bleed and we had to put her in a separate pen to let her heal. I don't understand why all of a sudden this one hen, who is 4 years old and never shown any aggression, decided to pick on this other hen. I thought it might be the introduction of the chicks, but I'm not sure what to do from here. The picked on hen fluffs up, squacks and tries to get away if her former friend even comes near her now. They're such a small group it's breaking my heart. sad.png. Any ideas?
post #2 of 7
When new chicks are introduced the whole pecking order begins again. You did everything right, you seperate them once blood was drawn and you keep her seperate until healed (chickens will pick at any red they see and reopen scabed over wounds)
Make sure they have plenty of space and place two feeders/ two waterers ideally not within sight of each other.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you! Do you think we should hold off on introducing the chicks? The hens tried to peck them too.
post #4 of 7
Maybe wait a few days to let everyone calm down. Then if possible create a chick safe room. Something like a cage with a very small door, just big enough your chicks can get through but your bigs cannot. This way if your hens get too aggressive again the chicks can find a place to be safe. Keep seperate food and water (one in the cage if possible)
Seperate food and water is the most important. Fights usually occur around who gets to eat and drink. Two helps assure the birds there is enough, and it allows the lower birds a chance to eat and drink.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much! One other question - the hen doing the pecking has sat on the nest like she's trying to lay an egg for the past 2 days since we separated the other hen and won't get off. All three have stopped laying also. Is this a response to stress?
post #6 of 7
Stress will cause hen to stop laying for awhile. I am not sure about the change in behavior, trying to lay. Could she be egg bound? If she is that is beyond my experience, but if you search the threads you will find numerous topics on it. When my hens quit laying due to stress or season they do not continue to try laying. She almost sounds broody, but again I have not had that happen yet, so cannot tell you.
post #7 of 7

If your hen has been on the nest, both day and night, for a few days, she is likely broody. The hormones that cause broodiness can also make them extra grumpy before they go all-out broody. 

Edited by junebuggena - 5/10/16 at 10:38am
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