Blizzard 2015 New Bird mauled again

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Toons, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Toons

    Toons Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2015
    Morning:

    Just finished shoveling my 40+" drifts and got the coop.

    With the massive wind gusts, and for the first time ever, it appears that powdered snow can get into anything....

    The coop had at least 3 inches of snow inside...

    But that's not the big deal at the moment.

    The fence that I placed in the coop in order for the new hen to heal from its introduction mauling
    popped out in one spot. Specifically, it was a nesting box, the fence popped out so that it sat half way in front of the box so that if they went in the box on one side, they can come out on the other side of the fence

    In that spot, the new bird got through and 2 of the 5 old birds went into her area.
    The new bird was perched and threw out ALL of the straw hay in the 5 birds nesting boxes. (3)
    The two birds on the other side laid their eggs in the new birds nesting box.

    Her head is bleeding, raw and feathers plucked out
    Her back behind both shoulders are raw and bleeding feathers missing.

    I fixed the fence inside and put all the birds back to their rightful places.

    This is some frustrating.

    They were alone for 20 hours.
    The new bird was healing and looking so much better
    Although she does not look as bad as the inital mauling which compelled me to build the fence but I assume that is only because of quicker intervention

    I really need some pointers here.
    Why shoulder attacks?
    I get the head thing because of pecking order but its been a few weeks, do I keep them seperated till the spring?
    Is it a lost cause?

    I really would like some insight to this.
    Situation is upsetting for the children as well and they are getting to the point where they feel she'll just die of mauling if placed freely with others.

    Thanks for pointers, if any.
     
  2. Toons

    Toons Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2015
    to add:

    The group was originally 6 birds:

    4 New Hampshire (Reds)
    2 Delewares

    Lost aggressive NH to unknown, assume fox.

    The one that looks like a Carrie scene is the deleware
    but there is a NH that is aggressive to her as well.

    I read on here that delewares can be aggressors and these are chick mill birds from Tractor Supply.

    Just more info to add....

    This is shELVIS

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    What a shame! Not only do you have to worry about the extreme weather, but now you have chickens cannibalizing the lowest ranking member of the flock. I'm really surprised the other hens did not disembowel her. Anyway, get the hen out of there. Put her in a cage in a warm place-the house or garage. You can fashion a temporary cage out of clothes basket, if needed. Her injuries will take time to recover from and you may end up having to find her another home.

    In the spring, reevaluate your chicken coop and see if you need to increase the size of your coop or get less chickens. If you have a bully hen get rid of her.

    Others will come along and help you with your extreme weather condition challenges. I have one northern friend who said she feeds her backyard chickens wild bird seed suet to give her birds extra calories to help keep them warm.

    Good luck and take care.
     
  4. Toons

    Toons Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2015
    The suet sounds like a great idea.

    After more reading. I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed.

    I was hoping there was a solution so that they can all get along.
    It appears from past posts that its either:

    1 get rid of the victim OR
    2 get rid of the bullies.

    I'll try to research more about keeping all 6
    But if anyone agrees with this assessment as the only way, would like to hear from ya.

    Thanks
     
  5. Toons

    Toons Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2015
    Here's an example of the frustration regarding researching this:


    Quote:
    The causes of feather pecking are closely linked with the nature of the environment in which the bird is kept (Hughes and Duncan, 1972). Although the causes of cannibalism are not fully understood, some of the predisposing factors listed in the Merck Veterinary Manual (1986) are overcrowding, excessive light and temperature, insufficient or improperly placed feeder or drinking space, nutritional imbalances including mineral deficiencies, feeding of only pelleted or concentrated feed, feeding high energy diets heavy in corn or low in fibre, and injuries. D. Shingleton (pers.comm) views sodium deficiency as the key in terms of feed deficiencies and in situations where diets lack salt, feather pecking is likely to result.


    http://www.organicvet.co.uk/Poultryweb/disease/feath/feath1.htm

    So this is what I got out of it so far:

    We dont REALLY know what causes this but all of these COULD be a factor.

    So you can correct all of them, give them a royal treatment and STILL have the same problems.


    Took from another poster on this forum that perhaps its more like a dog

    Every dog has their own disposition

    You can do everything right and some just wont break being more aggressive than the other

    So....
    Is it just a matter of getting rid of the alpha/aggressive hens and just bring in more docile hens or will this just make it worse?
     
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    I treat all bullies (Humans, feathered, furred) by getting them out of my life. You can try all kinds of things to break a bully but chickens will be chickens. Certain breeds are notorious for having aggressive individuals and the way to stop that is cull the individual so you will not perpetuate those genes in your flock. Some folks try 'peepers'-blinders that fit on chickens but some folks have noted that the chicken learns to see around them and continue with the unwanted behavior.

    The reason why your hen has shoulder wounds is that she simply stood in a corner with her head tucked away while the other hens pecked at her. They couldn't get at her head so they went for her wings. In this situation I've seen birds get disemboweled and the owner comes home to find a carcass with a gaping hole in the rear.

    Often if you get rid of the hen you perceive as the bully the second in command will finish the job. Flock dynamics is a tricky thing to discuss. Improve the diet. Give them things to peck on-hanging cabbage from a string can really entertain them. Environmental enrichment (fancy word for toys) can really go along way to improve a disposition of a flock. You can try a Flock Block, or grow greens for them(if you have room in your house). One member grew wheat in pots and placed hardware cloth over the pots to allow the plant to grow through. This member rotated the potted wheat when the grass was eaten down to to the screen.

    Yeah, they are only chickens, but they too suffer from cabin (coop) fever during forced confinement and need ways to keep busy. They have millions of years of instinct bred into them and we need to always be aware of what they are capable of.
     
  7. Toons

    Toons Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2015
    Thanks for your time responding to this:

    I'll have to sit with my young ones and talk to them about the situation so they can understand it and decide what to do.

    I'm sure if there is another situation/solution/resolution that I'll post it.
     
  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Let us know what works out for you.
     

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