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Hen Getting Picked On

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Recently, my flock has started picking on (literally) one of the white crested black polish hens. They peck a section of her head until it's bloody and bare. They've done this at least three times, and each time we separate her from them until she's healed. Now we've tried giving her to 2 other chicken owners, but she was picked on as well in their flocks. She's very nervous and even sleeps by herself; perhaps that's why she's such an easy target.
I have no idea what to do about this! Any advice?

post #2 of 7

I had this very same issue. What happens with the pecking order is the higher up hens come at the lower ranking hens & the lower ones run away. Polish can't see the higher up hens coming & so they don't run away. The higher up hens see this as a challenge & they increase the fierceness of the attacks.

I did 2 things & it fixed the issue completely - at least for me.

1) trim all the feathers away from the polish's eyes. That way they can see the attack coming. This actually makes them quite a bit smarter too! Bonus!

2) I had to remove the top 2 hens. The resulting shake up in the pecking order kind of reset everyone & they all accept her. The reason I removed the top 2 was because the next oldest hens beak had been trimmed (not by me). I correctly assumed she would take over the head hen position & she didn't have a sharp enough pecker to peck the polish too hard.

"I can eat 50 eggs"

Inspired by the movie Cool Hand Luke
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"I can eat 50 eggs"

Inspired by the movie Cool Hand Luke
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post #3 of 7

I had the same exact problem with my white creshed black Polish hen.  She was fine for ~6 months with my 4 other hens, and then they started pecking at her head.  For the winter I combined my flock with my parents, and then my parent chickens started going after my polish.  I seperated the flock in a variety of ways, but the poor polish kept getting pecked.  I ended up just last weekend purchasing another Polish, so now the 2 polish are 100% seperated from the rest of the group.....Where are you located?  If you were close, I would consider taking her and adding her with my 2 girls.....

Shannon
New Hampshire


Edited by hamilton - 12/15/10 at 2:07pm
post #4 of 7

Well, we all know how the pecking order works.  Someone has to be the target.  Sadly enough in a mixed flock, Polish always seem to become the target. I'm thinking part of that may be that since their vision is diminished by their crests they are less able to avoid the attackers.  This will be difficult if not impossible to resolve.  A seperate pen and more Polish for company sounds like a good idea.lol

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #5 of 7

I have the same problem with my 9 month old polish.  The others have started pulling out her top feathers.  I have heard that menthol ointment on her feathers acts as a deterrent.  I worry that if I get another Polish there will be 2 that are picked on.  I am considering removing her until she heals but it sounds like that will not solve the situation.
Very upsetting.  It has been a while since I trimmed her, I'll do that first.

post #6 of 7

If it were me, I would fix up a little cheap coop and welded wire run and get her some more polish buddies for company.

Black Australorps, Easter Eggers, Buff Minorcas, and Nankins. 

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” - William Shakespeare
 

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Black Australorps, Easter Eggers, Buff Minorcas, and Nankins. 

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” - William Shakespeare
 

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post #7 of 7

My wcb roo is the one being picked on. When he is really bloody I separate him but then he has to deal with reintroduction. I have found if I can keep him sprayed with Blue Cote it helps him to heal and not get picked worse. Right now I feel bad for him because he is just scared of everybody and I haven't been able to find the culprits.

"People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately."

— Oscar Wilde

Trying to count my 60+ chickens.  Polish, Ameraucana, Welsummer, Cornish, Production Red, Cochin, Cuckcoo Maran, Black Austrolorp, Sizzle, Showgirl, Silkie, OEG, Partridge Rock, Russian Orloff, Dorking, Basque.  Tough...

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"People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately."

— Oscar Wilde

Trying to count my 60+ chickens.  Polish, Ameraucana, Welsummer, Cornish, Production Red, Cochin, Cuckcoo Maran, Black Austrolorp, Sizzle, Showgirl, Silkie, OEG, Partridge Rock, Russian Orloff, Dorking, Basque.  Tough...

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