A hen who lost her mind

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tropical Chook, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2010
    One of my hen recently seemed to have lost her mind completely. Basically, she seemed to loose all interest in everything apart from following the other hens around pecking at them constantly. The strange thing is, she was more or less at the bottom of the pecking order, and her behavior didn't suggest aggression. Instead, she would calmly follow the others around, and with every opportunity she got, she would peck at them. After three days, two of the other hens have almost no feathers left on them. She also became obsessed at bending down and then pecking at the other hens vents, including the ducks. This is all she was doing for more than three days, and when I say it was all she was doing, I mean she didn't even let up for more than a few minutes at a time. Ah well, I just couldn't take it anymore so we decided to slaughter her. It's a real pity because she was a good layer but as we only have limited space, we have to consider the well being of our other birds.

    Has anyone else experienced a sudden change of behavior like this? Also, did we make the right decision as far as processing her rather than keeping her? BTW, she made a very fine table bird, but of course it means we'll be getting one less egg now.

    TC
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I had a New Hampshire Red hen who was like that.....very mean and obsessed with pecking everyone on their back, right above the tail. I didn't eat her but we gave her and her sister away to a large farm. I was thinking maybe she needed more room? I am glad she's gone. I really like my chickens to look pretty, and it saddens me when one of them becomes too violent. I won't tolerate that and so far, I've re-homed a rooster also that was just too mean.

    I think you did the right thing. [​IMG]
     
  3. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Thanks chickmom. This one of mine didn't even appear to be aggressive really. Instead, she would just stroll around behind one or two of the others, and as soon as they stood still, she would start pecking away at them, also just above the tail. Then it's as if she discovered a new treasure, and the vent areas became her new target. It was really strange to see because she would persistently follow the others around, and as soon as she had a chance, she would sort of bend over and peck at their vents. That's when I really became concerned because I've read on here before that once blood appears around the vent opening, all the other hens will start having a go as well. The strange was that she had never done this before, so when I first noticed, I was hoping it would just be a passing phase, but after three days and a few semi-bald chickens, I had had enough.

    She would have ended up on the table anyway, but this just meant her time came a little sooner than expected.

    I have one really huge hen that enjoys stealing the other birds children and rearing them herself.......lol, and while she is clearly at the top of the pecking order, she doesn't peck for pleasure, but only to retain her position. She's quite a character because if she has no chicks to look after, she simply goes broody, and then if any other chicks come along, she immediately claims them. She even growls at me whenever I go close, but in her heart, she's just a big softy. I've just ordered some hatching eggs, and it's great to know that when they arrive, I have a hen that's always ready to assume the role of incubator...lol. I know people say you can't make a hen go broody, but I tell you, the native Thai chickens can be made to go broody whenever you choose. All I have to do is place a few eggs in a nesting box, and before 12 hours is up, there will be a hen sitting on them...lol

    Ah well, my chicken hobby continues.....................
     

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