1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

bad hen pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jimgunn, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. jimgunn

    jimgunn Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Aug 19, 2012
    We have a flock of 1 rooster, 8 hens and 7 chicks. The other day I found one of the hens sitting in a corner in the hen house with bloody feathers. I picked her up and found that the entire back of her head had been pecked open. I cleaned her and kept her in a separate box. Her head scabbed over in a few days so I thought I would let her out and keep an eye on her to see what happened. The rooster made a bee line for her and started pecking her head. She laid flat on the ground yet the rooster continued to peck her so I rescued her. I have never seen him mate with this hen and since she has been kept separate I have not found a single egg from her and we are still getting the same daily amount of eggs which says she hasn't been laying. Could this be the reason for the pecking? If not is there anyway that i can stop the rooster from pecking her? Any advice appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

    865
    28
    124
    Sep 18, 2012
    CANADA
    I would isolate her until she is fully healed with no scabs. if he did it again I would not keep him or rehome her.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    35,975
    7,428
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    X2 Except I would rehome the rooster. A rooster should look after his hens, not beat them up.
     
  4. jimgunn

    jimgunn Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Aug 19, 2012
    Thanks for the advice. I tried to let her out and chase off the rooster if he attacked her and hope he would eventually get the message but one of the other hens started to attack her as well so I have re-homed her. The rooster looks after all the other hens fine. He makes sure they do not stray too far and alarms them all to predators, its just something about that hen.
     
  5. jimgunn

    jimgunn Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Aug 19, 2012
    update on the hen. Her head has almost completely healed over but the rooster at her new home has also been attacking her so we have got her back. Any advice?
     
  6. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    As a last-ditch sort of thing, you could try to re-shuffle the pecking order among the hens. This involves separating a few of the more dominant hens (and maybe the roo), allowing the beat-up hen to get used to the coop as HER home, and then reintroducing the dominant members after a day or so. Unfortunately, this has never worked well for me, as my hens could never forget the dominant hen even after almost a week of separation. Others on BYC have tried this method and have had positive results, so maybe it's worth a try.
     
  7. jimgunn

    jimgunn Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Aug 19, 2012
    Sound like a good plan but i wouldn't have anywhere to put them. She used to get on with all the others and we've had this flock for almost 6 months. Its only now that they have turned against her.
     
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    35,975
    7,428
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I went to a petshop here in Ireland recently and found amongst their poultry goodies a spray called "Antipek" or something along those lines. They say if you spray it on your chickens or mist it over your chicks the other chickens won't peck them. I haven't needed or used it yet (touching wood here), but it sounds like a good product that may help in situations like yours. Have you got anything like that available by you?
     
  9. jimgunn

    jimgunn Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    39
    Aug 19, 2012
    In fact I did see a product like that online but that was after I had given the hen a new home, now you've mentioned it I will look into it. Thank you.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by