aggression & eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by longoriaacre, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. longoriaacre

    longoriaacre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Nobleton, Florida
    Hi. :)

    So I have 6 hens that have lived together since they were day old chicks. They are approaching 5 mths old and one has begun to lay. (3 Plymouth Barred Rocks and 3 Rhode Island Reds..... my first layer is a RIR)

    She has layed 4 eggs in the last 3 days.... these are her first eggs (and she is the ONLY one laying already)

    The other hens have begun beating her up pretty aggressively since she started laying. I have removed her... I have NEVER had a problem with aggressive behaviors at all before this.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you bunches.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That is strange.

    Firstly, greetings and [​IMG]

    One of my RIRs began acting 'clucky', fluffing up, clucking nonstop, acting a little hysterical, during all her laying seasons, some hens do that. Is your hen behaving in any way differently?

    Best wishes.
     
  3. longoriaacre

    longoriaacre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Nobleton, Florida
    Thank you. :)

    No she wasn't acting any diff. She is being her normal self.

    The other ones were acting out of character. :( it was odd.

    I'm new to chickens. These are my first. (We have 31 total). My husband has had chickens his whole life. He has never witnessed this behavior in any other chickens, so he is stumped.

    They have a nice coop and run. They get time out to free range. The are well fed. They have things to play with soooo they don't get bored.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Ok, next theory... If she's the first to lay I dare say it's a sure bet her comb, face and wattles are redder and possibly larger than any of the other's. (?) That's usually how it goes.

    Some hens (and some roosters) these days, due to the management of some lines (especially commercial breeds of layers, they are by far the most prone to this sort of issue) possess very muddled and confused instincts. Some now identify the other gender as opponents rather than mates, and seeing that amount of red such as is shown by a healthy hen in-lay can trigger abuse.

    Sometimes it's hierarchy conflict, sometimes it's driven by cannibalistic traits. If they're all ganging up on her at once without there being any normal conflict first, as in hunting her rather than joining in on a current fight, I'd be concerned for her welfare personally. That's completely abnormal. Being the first in lay, theoretically she should be more dominant and healthier, and acting like it too. But she sounds victimized.

    Some flocks these days react extremely aggressively to the sight of red of a certain tone, blood or meat tone, and can go into feeding frenzies which has led to some people to describe them as 'feathered piranhas' which is quite apt. Not all chooks have cannibalistic traits, and I culled all my hens that did because what a horrible liability to have among the flock! No thanks. It's a familial trait, strongly heritable, a warped mindset bred into them under unnatural and intensive husbandry conditions, not something all chooks automatically resort to if protein deprived or bored or starved. I bred it out of mine quite rapidly, it's very doable, but commercial hens of layer breeds can usually be expected to carry the cannibal behavioral/mental trait.

    Sounds like whatever is going on, you've got some potential liabilities there. Random violence is always a concern.

    Good luck in getting to the bottom of it and controlling it without bloodshed or other problems. I would suggest culling all birds that represent a true threat to others if you identify such individuals among your flock, but that's not necessarily something you're willing to do, and if so, I understand. 'Culling' can just mean rehoming or separating, though I usually use it in the 'eating the problem' sense.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. longoriaacre

    longoriaacre Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Nobleton, Florida
    Thank you. :)

    I removed the victim several days ago. She was hanging out on our large deck and has *adopted* several young black australorp. She has continued laying an egg a day. I've had NO other problems with her.

    The 5 that are left on her original home are doing ok. I've seen a couple SMALL squabbes. Nothing bad at all. 2 of those have also begun laying.

    I really appriciate all your info! :) thank you for taking the time to share.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds good, hopefully it stays that way.

    Best wishes.
     

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