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9-week old free-range birds attacking each other

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by islandchicken, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    I hate to post in the emergency section, but I need to do something asap. In short, my two young birds, raised together from several days old, have started to fight and tear each others' skin off. This just started this a.m. If I don't keep them apart, I fear they may kill each other. Already fighting to near exhaustion. They are only nine weeks old, are free range (warm weather here) and, up to this point, have been inseparable, including tree roosting at night. |I was not sure if they were hens or roosters. The one that is slightly larger than the other seems to be the aggressor, but the other won't give up either. Does that answer that question, or could one still be a hen?

    I currently am treating the wounds with a basic skin salve with some blue fruit color added (to hopefully disguise the reddened tissue; had done that years ago in a similar "short-term" situation; was told then that seeing the red injury would likely set them off again. Could not find my BlueCote dabber, but am still looking for it.)

    Short of getting rid of the aggressor, is there anyway they will ever accept each other again (after wounds heal for awhile)? I have them inside now in separate cages.

    FYI -- I saw them fighting with each other for the first time this a.m., but in an odd way -- almost "stuck" together -- head to head. By the time I got to them, both had bloodied areas around their face and little combs. After treating the wounds, gave them a cooling off period of several hours, but they still want to attack and hang onto each other's skin with their beak.

    I do have an adult hen who has tolerated them up to this point. When the two birds were fighting this morning, she went after them to break it up, then chased the aggressor.

    Any help is welcome. Until I hear something, I will just keep them apart.

    Thank you.
     
  2. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    What breed are they?
    Do you have a picture of them?
    Sounds like you may have to keep them seperated.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Above sounds like my free range games when no adult rooster present. I let them fight it out. Make certain they can make roost if predators present. Will likely repeat in a month or so and again once in full adult feather. Presence of adult rooster suppresses this nonsense with my flock.
     
  4. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Hi BooBear --

    Thanks for your response. I am having a tough time getting a photo to load, but they are "island mixes". They fight birds here, so who knows if their parents were bred for that, or if they come from run-of-the-mill feral birds.

    The aggressor is a brown bird with mostly black/greenish legs -- about 270 grams; the other is about 60 grams lighter in weight, has yellow legs and mixed feather color.

    I do not know what set them off. I do know I cannot leave them unattended for fear I will find one or both blind or dead. I have never had this problem before but, then again, I have never raised a rooster along with another bird (assume the aggressor may be a roo, and maybe the other as well.)
     
  5. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Centrachid --

    Thank you for your response. Again, this is new to me.

    Should I assume they are both young roos? Just tiny combs at this point. Also, had bad can the injuries get? The smaller of the two has bloodied skin injuries around the eyes as well as many others others; aggressor bird has cuts that drew blood, too. His injuries show up less because of the feather and skin color (smaller bird has yellow skin and white feathers on the head; looks like he went 12 rounds with Ali).
     
  6. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Sounds like they may have some of the game genes. Some breeds of game can be very agressive depending on how they are bred and the linage in their bloodlines. If you feel uneasy about allowing them to sort it out then you would want to keep them seperated.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Island,

    My birds (pure American game if such a thing) do as you describe under conditions I described. Damage is superficial and not likely to be noticeable after a few days. Separating them will greatly increase your management headaches, especially if they get back together later when capable of causing real damage. Ask your local game chicken guys for advice.
     
  8. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    BooBear --

    Thanks for the info. No one here raising game birds, except for fighting; no contact with them, and doubt they would be very concerned with what I am describing. ( I am a wildlife rehabber; people often bring severely injured roosters to me who have been fought with metal spurs, etc. Very sad.) Just trying to keep these guys from tearing each other up while they are in my care. Thanks again.
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I have American game hen who had 10 chicks with a bantam roo, out of the 10 we had 6 roosters. Out of the 6 2 started fighting at around 14 weeks, it kept the whole flock up set and we finally processed all but 1 of the roos, I have never heard of roos that young fighting but I don't doubt it at all. My guys would not back down either after a couple of days like this, they were pretty beat up, I really don't know if one would have killed the other. Will your hen be able to keep the fighting to a minimun? If so maybe they will just lose interest after a while. I had 2 hens fighting last week and my roo broke it up.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    We used to keep flocks of free ranging American games made up of anywhere from 2 to 100 individuals with adults making up no less than 1/3 of population. When I say flocks, multiple walks / free ranging populations emplied, each centered on a different barnyard, livestock shed in a pasture, or wooded fence row. Social problems amongst juveniles where greatly reduced when adult males (usually but not always singular per flock) were present (very intersting social dynamic sometimes arose likely approaching that of jungle fowl).

    The backyard settings many folks impose upon games, or many birds with gamey tendencies, in my opinion promotes social instability at ages that are younger than they would occur otherwise. Our young males under conditions we raised them would not become overly combative until about 28 weeks and usually pushing 40 weeks of age. Thereafter strict separation required. Problems seen now are like a container effect where animals are confined under conditions to which they are not adapted resulting in more extreme social stresses.
     

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