Behavior I have never seen before...

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by havenwoodchix9, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. havenwoodchix9

    havenwoodchix9 Just Hatched

    7
    0
    15
    May 5, 2016
    Hello Everyone,
    It's pretty warm here in southeast Virginia-how is it where you are?

    I am seeing some behavior in my girls that I have never seen before and frankly, I am concerned. I'll warn you...this is kind of a long one--

    I have 6 hens, 14 mos old. Two BO's, two Easter Eggers and two Blue Ameracaunas-a very nice little flock that generally got along very well together. Raised them from chicks. One of the Blues, Sadie, is particularly prone to broodiness. Last spring when she went broody yet again, I mistakenly thought it would be a good idea to order a couple of fertilized eggs for her to hatch. One was non-viable, but to my utter amazement, the other one hatched. Since it would be no fun to be the lone chick, I went out and bought one ISA Brown and one Amberlink, so they could grow up together. They have thrived, but the delicate balance seems to have been forever upset.

    They are four and a half months old now and the older girls have developed a tolerance for them. The chick that Sadie hatched is now a very large, robust Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster. In the last two weeks, he has perfected his crowing technique and now acts like a horny teenager. He literally crushes the two younger chickens. When he tries it with one of the older gals, that others come running and chase him away. Everyone just seems to be on edge all of the time. Is this because of Jack?

    The thing that has me most perplexed has to do with the smallest of the older group, a BO named Lucy. She has always been at the bottom of the pecking order of the older group (nothing violent-just chased away from food mostly), but recently has seemed to be fitting in very well--until two days ago. She all of a sudden seems fearful-very significantly-I noticed it immediately. When I came out to close them in that night, she was in the storage area in the coop and not roosting inside with the rest. I put her inside and she hopped up on the pole. I was away from the house all day the next day, so when I went out in the late afternoon, I found her back in the storage room on the shelf in the basket that I keep my supplies in. She had a wound on the side of her head and it was obvious that she had had feathers pecked out on the back and side of her head and neck. I gave her some food and water and let her stay there.

    This morning, she was still there. I just now went out to check on her and she was inside the coop in a nesting box. I took her out to check her over, and she has more feathers missing. I put her on the ground just to observe her a bit, and one of the Easter Eggers, Hazel, came over and very slowly started circling her over and over with her feathers partially puffed out. Lucy didn't move. I shooed Hazel away and Lucy flew back up into the coop and acted like she was trying to get into a nesting box with Sadie, who is at the top of the pecking order. Could she be going to her for protection?

    I am worried about her. Any words of wisdom you can share?

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. CBA101

    CBA101 Just Hatched

    25
    0
    11
    Aug 8, 2016
    Trenton TX
    This behavior is typically called non broody which means that the hen is liking to brood with no eggs.
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,844
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas and :welcome. Great to have you in our community. Sounds like you have some real chicken dynamics issues going on. In terms of Jack and the others chasing him off, I think that's due to the fact he hasn't ascended the top of the pecking order in the eyes of the established hens yet....so when he tries to get frisky with them, they turn on him. I think eventually that will stop and he will become top dog, so to speak. With the injured Lucy I think she must have sustained an injury which immediately sent her to the bottom pecking order and others, as is sometimes nature's way, have turned on her. I would isolate her until she's fully healed and then turn her back in slowly. I don't think she was flying into the nesting box with Sadie for protection as much as she was using the nesting box as a means to escape the others. Other folks may have different opinions but that's my best guess. Good luck to you...I think the flock will sort itself out soon enough. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    83,534
    11,894
    816
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I'm thinking the damage done to her was by your rooster. The others attack but Lucy is the one he can catch - so she is very frightened and looking for safety.
    A rooster can handle 10 hens and a young rooster has hormones oozing out of everywhere. Thinks he is the great gift to hens. The older hens attack him, so guess who is probably tries to breed all the time.

    Please separate him from the flock until he gets some self control. Especially make sure he cannot get to Lucy. Unless you need him for fertile eggs to hatch or sell, you'd probably be better off without him. The hens will be without all the extra stress and lay just as many eggs without a rooster.
     
  5. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    84,499
    3,807
    646
    Jun 15, 2012
    Washington
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  6. havenwoodchix9

    havenwoodchix9 Just Hatched

    7
    0
    15
    May 5, 2016
    Thank you all for the advice and support-it is truly appreciated! Last night, my husband and I made the decision to take Jack to a "rooster sanctuary" of sorts in our area. It is run by a wonderful lady who has a farm with chickens, goats, cats and dogs. She has opened her home to roosters who need a new home--mostly those who were ordered as female chicks for backyard flocks, only to become unexpected roosters. You walk on to the propert and you see all manner of breeds of roosters. So beautiful.

    Jack went to the sanctuary this morning and things are already calmer in the flock. Lucy came out her self-imposed exile and is spending time with her flock mates again. I will still keep a close eye on her and if things deteriorate, I will segregate her.

    Thank you again so much!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by