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What to do with a problem hen

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

i have a problem girl.  She is a 3-year old Mille Fleur D'Uccle, and doesn't know how to play nice.  i would have rehomed her as a child, as she was a pain then.  But as she was trying to get through some hardware cloth to get to some younger chicks, she broke her toe.  The vet i had at the time (who is not the vet i have now) did a poor job setting it, so now her whole right leg is twisted.  i assumed no one would want a lame chicken, so kept her.

 

The problem is, she is really mean when she discovers that another chicken is afraid of her.  She doesn't just do the pecking order thing, she relentlessly torments any other bird she has dominance over.  i've switched her between pens three times now.  The second pen, she pecked a hole in the head of a silkie who would not get off the nest. Luckily, that silkie survived.   This last pen was with my oldest bantams.  For quite a while, she was bottom of the totem pole.  But recently, one of the hens submitted to her.  So she has decided to chase and jump on this poor hen nonstop.  Now she's in the house in a hutch. i'm not willing to put her in any of my other pens, as i don't want anyone hurt.  i don't want to rehome her and stick someone else with the problem.  i'm at a loss.  Not sure there is any solution other than having her live in the house forever.  i guess i just needed to vent.  Here is the little miscreant:  

 

alicia.jpg

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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post #2 of 9

Well, she's pretty!  Isn't that a bummer that she's so mean though.  Why not try those pinless peepers on her.  They snap onto the beak, through the nostrils.  (They don't hurt.)  It's sort of putting little sunglasses or blinders on her.  Sometimes they help when you have an agressive hen or roo that likes to peck others.

 

Sharon

Currently keeping a flock of 14 chickens, one rooster and 13 hens.  I have three Easter Eggers, three Golden Buffs, two Marans and six Buff Brahmas.  My hobbies are gardening, chicken keeping, and beekeeping.  I'm married with two sons, a step son and daughter, and two really cute grandkids!
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Currently keeping a flock of 14 chickens, one rooster and 13 hens.  I have three Easter Eggers, three Golden Buffs, two Marans and six Buff Brahmas.  My hobbies are gardening, chicken keeping, and beekeeping.  I'm married with two sons, a step son and daughter, and two really cute grandkids!
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

She is pretty, and funny thing, my pet sitter really likes her.  If my pet sitter could have chickens, i would wrap her up and mail her as a present.

 

i'll have to look up those peepers.  i'm not familiar with them.

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

i read up on those.  Oh my, i can't do that to her. Having metal clamps in her nostrils, that has to hurt.  As much as i am angry at her for being so mean, i just can't do that to her.  

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

Reply

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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post #5 of 9
They're plastic and no they don't hurt. Maybe they were once made of metal but now they generally aren't.

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

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Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

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post #6 of 9

It's funny.  I have an old hen from my original first batch of layers.  I think she is going on 5 years old now.  Her name is Dinner because even as a very young bird she was such a bully and a brute that I constantly told her I was going to turn her into "dinner".  Her flock is long gone, but she is still with me.  I never thought that bird would be the one still around after all these years.  She lords over her current flock, but has mellowed out a bit over the years. 

 

Anyways, to get back to the issue at hand.  Pinless peepers are plastic and do not hurt the birds they are applied to.  They may or may not work in your case.  The peepers are designed to stop feather picking, but they don't stop aggressive behavior.  They may stop it just by impeding the bully's vision, but they may not.  You will need to test it to see if it works.

 

I would continue to separate the bully out for a while.  Isolate her from all other birds.  Make her pine for companions.  Flock animals generally hate isolation, so make this a particularly harsh punishment for her.  When she is returned to the group she should be yearning for chicken companions.  Do you have any flocks of more aggressive or larger birds?  (I am tempted to say to put her in with your ducks to show her what a really tough flock is all about, but she couldn't stay with them.)  She might do less damage if she remains on the bottom of the pecking order permanently.

 

If putting her in with a tougher flock does not work then a long, slow soak in simmering broth will.  No point in keeping birds that make a nuisance of themselves and damage others in the process.

 

Good luck.

post #7 of 9

Do you have any other poultry?  I would put her in with some ducks or turkeys to sort her out!  

 

Do you have any roosters?  Maybe a big rooster will put her in her place.  If he sees her attacking another hen - he should run up and stop the fight.

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

You know, i was thinking that a rooster would keep her in line, but alas, all our roosters were voted off the island by the girls.  i have two standard size chickens, and at one point, one of them was put in with the ducks as she was picking on her friend.  Then she got bumblefoot and lived in the house.  Now she is out during the day and inside a hutch in the house at night.  Anyhow, point is, our ducks don't bother any of the chickens. They learned quickly that a peck with a chicken beak hurts.  So it may be an option to put her with them . . . except that i let the ducks free range around our back patio during the day.  We have neighbor cats that come through every so often.  They don't bother the ducks or large chickens, but they may go after a flitty disabled bantam.  

 

Arg!  i think at this point i'll keep her separated and in the house.  She's not happy about it, but as you said, CMV, she may feel lonely enough to be nice when i put her back.  

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well, i kept Alicia in the house for several days, and she seemed better.  She sleeps in the house anyways since about a year ago she had a broken feather on her foot which was bloody and another hen was pecking it.  It just became a habit for her to come inside at night.  If i don't bring her in, she flails against the side of the pen and i'm afraid she'll break her other foot.  Anyhow, i put her back in the same pen and didn't notice any bad behavior (although it may have been happening when i wasn't watching or listening).  But early evening yesterday i was outside and saw her attacking poor Guenevere again, brutally.  She kept pecking her head then jumping on top of her, then yanking her head feathers.  Poor Guen was just hunched down in submission, screaming.  i screamed and ran to get her off but she was in non-stop attack mode until i reached the pen and yanked her off by the tail.  My husband was there to witness it and said "That's it, get rid of her!".  

 

So how on earth do i word the Craigslist ad???  "Obnoxious lame 3-year-old Mille Fleur D'Uccle.  Doesn't lay eggs and will beat the stuffing out of your other birds.  Plus, must be pampered by being brought inside every evening for a nice meal of mashed hard boiled eggs, then will scream in the morning until your ears bleed if you don't let her out when she wants".  

 

Any takers?

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

Reply

Colleen
EE, Silkies, Showgirls, Bantam Cochin, WCB Polish, D'Anver, Porcelain D'Uccle, Bantam Salmon Faverolle, some interesting mixes, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Persians, Ducks.

Reply
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