"broody" injured hen eats two nests !

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by strangeanimal, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. strangeanimal

    strangeanimal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm needing some help here , found a few topics about hens having the taste of their egg yet this looks a bit (much ) different .
    First of all : I 'm having 2 broody hens injured , a marans copperblack and a light sussex , now recently some viral infection broke out to all hens of my flock ( including mister roo ofcourse ) , on top of that there has been the problem the marans and sussex went into a big fight due the sussex sat on the wrong nest ...
    Yet , the marans doesn't take care of her eggs anymore so after asking some advice how to take care of the injured hen that sat on eggs I had the sussex , who is always been a great broody sitting on eggs including few of the marans .

    Now this is what I recently saw her doing right in front of me ( warning : nasty !!! )

    she is sitting on the eggs like every other day , has lots of food and water and refused it yet I keep giving it and I force her as well in order to get her better .
    Now what did I just witness ? she ate one egg of the marans , I tought that is just normal , every dead egg gets kicked out of the nest , she is right about this ( still eating it yuk but whatever I think to myself a hen knows best ofcourse ) but she did not leave it to one egg , now you'd think she only ate the " bad ones " , no no , she is starting to eat her entire nest !
    I rescued one egg to do a check up on the lamp , turns out to be just healthy !
    I've putted it back ( she can't see me so I did it silently pretending I was giving her some snacks which I also did while laying it back ) ,
    now 2 hours later then , the nest is containing ZERO eggs !
    She is broody for quite some time now yet just eats every egg she notices , I already tried the tricks with fake eggs and mostardeggs , even how disgusting that tastes she tries to eat that too but stops to get water .
    I'm not only disgusted , I feel heartbroken because she had only a few days to hatch , I could really see little chicks she just ate .

    When I put another egg under her ( one that is not fertile , or not developed atleast ) she does the same thing .

    WHY does she do this and how do I prevent her ?? I have a box inside the house containing only a few hatching eggs but I'm afraid to risk it to put it under her ...
    P.s. : one eye is open and she can see now so I don't think that is to blame but there has to be a reason , and a way to prevent / stop her .
    TY much
     
  2. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

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    It can be very hard to stop a hen from egg eating once they start. If you are determined to keep her, you may have to separate her or she will eat every egg the others lay. I have witnessed egg eaters actively patrolling nest boxes when they know the others are laying, and have had to cull those. Curtains can help dissuade hens from patrolling other boxes. As for her being broody? If she is eating the eggs out from under herself, what's to stop her from killing and eating chicks too? Chickens have no qualms about cannibalism. Keep her separated, and no more eggs for her!
     
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  3. strangeanimal

    strangeanimal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just noticed you are right about this , now the eggs I rescued are no longer with me she is back with the rest , this morning found only ONE egg ... and on the side of the coop I saw this ' puffed up ' hen , she is becoming really fat from the eggs she ate ! I also don't see any other option anymore besides what you suggested ...

    Every now and then if one of our chickens get sick / injured and are or not to be cured or only due expensive costs we 'd cull them for food , now I have to admit that this something you can never get back to normal unless it works with tricks like eggs filled up with all they don't want to eat but if even that doesn't work and she eats living creatures ? no thanks , I don't want her anymore .
    I do admit this hen recently went trough some pain and needs surgery on one eye but if she acts like this I don't like to waste time nor money on her ( got many chickens here so it is sad but I also like to keep some budget for the rest of the flock , for example my 'ex broody ' , a marans who had esthetics on the tigh and back for an injury , she is on antibiotics and will be for long time needing care and supplies ... my egg eating hen is in the ' punishment coop ' , just an old coop where she is totally isolated from the rest , she started pecking at the others too today so no thanks but again why now ??? she has never acted this way ? she used to be THE example for all hens ! along with my older marans this team was awesome and yet she ruins it by killing her own kids , she must have noticed there were chicks in there anyway so I really don't understand this .
    Probably not going to have chicks then , unless I do it correct under the brooder I made myself which is now on humidity 50% and temperature of 37.8 Celsius ... Hope the few I rescued will become sweet chcicks ... thanks for the input , have been searching online , including this forum but nothing helps so I'm afraid she is going to spend the rest of her days alone or not at all .....

    Kind regards
     
  4. strangeanimal

    strangeanimal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well , this is a more clear view on the situation :

    A normal situation :
    Daughter ( or me ) entering the run , grabbing the chickens one by one for a quik check up , just in case : we gently lift up first the rooster , checking his eyes and legs , all clear , putting him back while we can still see him , behavior ok than we assume he is fine if no injuries show immediately (if acting like normal ofcourse ) , it is a gentle rooster so he lets it all just happen ,
    secondly we enter the coop , we take out all eggs and put them in the basket hanging on the side of the coop where we sometimes find a chicken too lol , this is our smallest yet tough and clever cochin , most of the time she already filled the basket too ;-) , so we do the same here , just a check and putting her on the ground , in the coop we take the eggs and if we notice one is acting weird toward us / not willing to leave the nest we leave the eggs from now on , the usual situation is also that our rooster is done crowing repeatedly if all hens are out / layed their egg , besides one hen who gets stressed by the rooster and is wining the poor thing , answering the rooster probably like " but I'm trying just be silent for a second please " , that is a marans , an older one ,
    the sussex and the marans who are broody are usually in their own ' suite ' on the back of the coop , they ignore the crowing and just sit on the eggs , now recently thus they both moved , first a marans being slowly but sure broody of , we took the eggs she did not care for anymore into one nest , the sussex s nest , but she decided to eat them , at first I assumed " aw that is natural , she is now taking care of the eggs that are no longer alive and so she eats them because she knows they are dead and she cleans the nest and will after that just sit on the good eggs , that is still a lot to hatch " but few hours later her nest seemed almost empty and when she went of the nest for eating I took the rest that she couldn't eat yet , putted them immediately into a DIY incubator with a ceramic heatlamp and thermostat , she got taken out too and moved to the ' normal coop and run with the rest ' ,

    this morning :
    my child : " mummy the chickens are not done yet and mister roo is having SX with susy ! " I just laughed because I assumed all hens already layed their egg and the sussex was eager or the rooster then was eager to mate again with her , she comes back without the basket and has one egg in her hand . I said to her ' why did you leave the rest hun ? they are not all ment to have little babies ' she replied ' but there was only one !!! '
    ok , that is flashlight time , went as fast as I could to the coop because that sounded far from just ' usual '
    because
    a : if the rooster is busy that long that even my child notices something it is probably enough for that hen and
    b : only ONE egg ? that means a predator is there

    Coming into the coop its all quite , but one hen is wining and complaining , couldn't see that white little cannibal untill I opened up the coop and nestingboxes , there she sat fat as it can be , even when I tried to grab an egg she almost flew into that box to get the egg before I could ! Just and only to make sure she could EAT it ! took her out and putted her on the ground , now it was clear to me what my daughter ment with her words earlier , the rooster is trying to dominate the sussex , NOT mate her and the sussex is just ignoring him ( never seen that before ) so she tries to get back into the coop but I hold her back and called her ( I know this is horrible what I said but she killes and keeps ruining it for every other hen AND the rooster ) called her " get out you misformed disgusting creature ! " and used my hand to just wipe her of her feet so she landed on the ground , you 'd expect she is now shocked by my reaction right ? no not at all , madam is WAITING for an egg ! she saw me having that one egg and a second one ( two hens are always unregular due their age , now she is even angry I take out the eggs and close the run ! making noises noises and noises i notice again the rooster getting active with her and even pecked her , so I believe the rooster is angry at her at that time , so I stayed outside this time to observe , rooster doesn't want the sussex anywhere near the rest , is she thrown out or something ?
    In order to get the entire coop calm I removed the sussex back to the old coop ( tiny old coop from when we had our guiny pig ) , suddenly " life in the coop just goes on ' , sussex went back after two hours of punishment but was constantly ' dominated ' by the rooster , now I'm asking myself and others here why my roo is acting to her as if she is an intruder and has no right to be there , does a roo know what she has done and is he angry with her ?? he is btw also a marans and is extremely close to all marans in the coop , they share little '' chit-chats ' and he gives up own food to this breed , also the Marans girls are not as afraid as the other ones and they loooove to hang around with him , mating is what they even do on regular basis , just for fun I guess , he looks to be a little bit monogam instead of polygam ( sorry for the grammar :D ) with my marans girls , he even leaves them alone if one of them is not in the mood , it truely is a gentleman in that coop , would never ever like to have another one in fact .
    Give him scraps and he starts to select it for the girls !!!! even when he has nothing to eat himself , as long as the girls are happy ( he's famous I swear I also would like a real man like that :p ) . So his acting towards the sussex is beyond his character in fact , he would NEVER harm a hen , that is just not HIM but I still notice the sussex is not allowed to come back ??? she gets pulled by tail if she doesn't listen and even gets dominated all the time and has to stay on the door of the run , anyone who can help explaining that ?? To me it looks as if the roo knows about her and perhaps some hens told him or something ...
    I know it is a long text but I hope this shows the situation goin on a bit more clear ?
     
  5. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

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    Chicken social orders are not fixed. When a hen is perceived as defective to the group, sometimes the other birds will turn on her. A particularly sick bird might even be attacked and killed! Chicken social hierarchy excludes the weak and deformed, although there can be exceptions. If this egg eater had been hurt and is recovering, she might be perceived as defective at this time, the weak link, so to speak. The rooster, being the leader, is the chief enforcer.
     
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  6. strangeanimal

    strangeanimal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So she is , in the eyes of my roo not a good company now ? a ' weak link ' ? she is in fact always been the one who always liked to be on her own , well I don't know that she likes being alone but it is a fact there is something different on her , for example , the day she grew older and got into the coop with all the others she just ignored all hens plus our rooster and all she cared about was eating , sleeping , pecking other hens , she has already killed in the past as well !

    She was a chick that looked to be just normal , sat with the rest of them under the heatlamp at my dads place , he always (ALWAYS) removed the ones that were misformed or ill or so on , just when a chick was too weak in his eyes he removed it and said to us it died in its sleep ( yeah my lil brothers believed that but I knew he killed them ofcourse so I called him often a very unhumane person but he is in fact right about his decision , he was a true expert in fact )
    Now as she grew older , and the other chicks back then too , they started to fight more often , my dad never gave fully attention to that , to him it was just the usual business that chicks do fight and he even liked that because , and I quote my old man " if they're fighting they got some spirit and that just means they are healthy enough to handle it if they get older "
    now after his passing it went clear what was actually going (wr)on(g) , it was her , this cannibal that constantly pecked others ( installed a camera so we noticed their behaviors ) . Now I have never been really active with the chickens , my siblings did all the care there so I just left them , even when they decided my yard was better so they just started to move all the chickens to my yard and did some working in it next to my house here so they did all the work , it is only recently I started to take care of them , some years now and always the same hen doing things differently than the rest of them , indeed my " broody cannibal '' .

    A description of the behavior of this one and even how she looks ( I'm still figuring out how to get my pics on ) :

    she has a very odd beak , the upper thing is only half the size in comparing of the under one , she has an extremely long beak too ( the under side is )
    she has very tiny nosewholes and is often just breathing trough her mouth but she doesn't care about that , I clean that nose daily with a cleaner for babies .

    If she eats no other hen is with her , she hunts them all down and just eats , even when you try to stop her when she is pecking and eating nothing works , read NOTHING ! my siblings even jumped on her once when she pecked ( and she does not even stop for a second ) a marans who got sevearly injured by her , she kept going on and on , and pecked the poor marans to death , how that went ?
    the poor marans was just quite and went for a sip of water , the sussex pecked her , again , again and this right under our noses as we just cleaned the waterer , she did not stop when we all yelled at her " susy enough enough !!!!!!! '' she looked really deaf too but isn't ( we did a check up with a vet ) , we started to pull her of the marans who had putted her head into the bushes in the run , she tries to run but there we have our disgusting cannibal again chasing the marans , she got pecked on tail , back , cloaca and all the sussex could peck her on , she was bleeding the poor thing , we stapped into the coop because I started screaming get that uggly white one off that dark one NOW !!!! she is BLEEDING BADLY LOOK !!! one of my siblings tried to lift her up but even during that she kept holding the feathers of the marans and refused to let go , she has always a crazy glare in her eyes too as if she doesn't understand anything ( but oy yes she DOES ) we started to get the sussex of that marans with THREE people , now guess what her reaction was ? NOTHING AT ALL !! as if she was just doing nothing wrong !! we putted her that day apart from the flock into the coop whe she is staying now ( guinypig house ) .
    Assuming she now must have learned a lesson and taken care of the wounded marans who also got seperated from the flock as we tought it was a personal attack we putted her back the next day , now early morning they all had to lay ofcourse , we expected she would also just go for a place in the nestingboxes , no , not at all , when we wanted to get the eggs we got ourselfs a dead chicken ( also a marans , well crossbreed from marans and a questionmark ) she had been pecked during laying , reason that we know that is due the fact her entire tail and cloaca were pecked so badly that it was even totally ruptured and partially gone , she died in the box and guess who was eating parts of her ? Yes indeed , that disgusting CRAZYYYY sussex ! looking at us as if she just ate some corn ! asking for some scraps like we usually give around that time .
    She always has her wings as if they are too big for her but they are not ( she has them 5 cm removed from the body and HANGING down to the ground ) when she has to lay she intentionally seeks out a place where the egg would break !
    Always has been that way , she refuses to lay if there is any soft flooring ! now today she is eggbound (again ) due the soft underground in the nestingboxes , and with refusing I really mean refusing , she is perfectly able too but she tries to hold it in unless you would give her a very hard box of wood without flooring , she would lay right away !
    I talked to my siblings about her and they first like to give her a second chance while I said I want her GONE , they refuse I'd cull her and refer to our cooler in the house with the note " there is still a whole chicken in the cooler no she gets another chance , she is one of our father ! " the decision tough also includes : no hard flooring , she is not "really eggbound " , so she now sits on the soft flooring , refusing to lay an egg and is constantly complaining , if she doesn't lay she is anyhow going to die and it will be HER own funeral SHE decided .
    I'd prefer to cull her but I'll just have to wait now , this is day two btw that she is sitting like a pinguin ...
     
  7. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you have sorted how this will work out. Understand animal behavior is not like human behavior. Check out Temple Grandin book Animals in Translation. She explains it better than I can.
     
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  8. strangeanimal

    strangeanimal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow , that is a huge light in the animalworld ! More is in fact that we (humans) often do not think about the fact an animal can be perfectly healty on the outside like any other human , yet might have a disturbed way of thinking , in other words psychology of animals is her writing for a huge part and if there is anything I do understand and learn fast and did already learn too , well , you can call it psychology :)) . Thank you SO much for that post !!!

    Also a small update about her ( the sussex ) ;

    she is still no longer allowed to get back to the rest but she can see them , we made the run around the guinypig-coop now big enough for her , she has her own area now where she can really RUN :) but ... the behavior these days :
    she is now really eggbound due the fact she doesn't find it hard enough , she knows the egg will not just splash to eat it and doesn't think about just laying it and then eat it , just because she has never tought about that I assume , she is used to the fact she could steel eggs or let hers splash on the hard floor and eat it . ( we first even assumed she did not lay , untill ... ' that akward moment ofcourse ' ) . I did spend some more time on studying her behavior too , now what I discovered really shows a lot that Catherine describes in her book ! ( oh btw , very proud owner of that now ;) )
    She spends the day often driving herself around in circles going ' drunk ' , crazy and after a few minutes , yes MINUTES :-o she starts to turn her head constantly as if she is following something ROFL ! truth is , she really is sick in her head in fact because today we found her looking beaten up , at first I assumed that probably my youngest brother got mad so I called his cell right away and started shouting but he was angry back at me for saying such things , while I really believed he did because he is the one who had the keys that night so it must have been him right ? no not at all !
    Second thing crossing my mind and my brothers : some youth could have done it !!! ( in the neighbourhood here are a lot of hangaround-teens and on regular basis things get stolen for fun and smashed , same goes for any small animal on the streets ; they get sevearly abused if it is not a dog or cat , for example last year they bound a rabbit to a tree and used it as a dartsboard so you can probably guess what went trough my toughts right ?

    Now a look inside the coop tells an entirely different story ... we are now dealing with not just a cannibal but one that has started to harm itself ! we found a lot of bloodspatter on the walls and ground , really nasty ( I have a pic of that but still don't know where I can put it online without others to find me so they will anyway follow later , might be of use ! ) .
    The scenario ? we can just assume , guess that she has been banging her head against all that she could , so now that side were she already was injured on her eye ? it is ruined , a vet is also not going to get called for the simple reasons :
    1) she is certainly going to do this again , well as long as she lives anyway
    2) that eye is GONE , probably eaten even by her as we were unable to find it anywhere !
    3) we noticed she had been pecking a few toes to get the flesh out , so the decision is made by myself , younger brother but not yet the permission of the youngest one ... so when ? SOON anyway as she is a danger to us , the flock , herself and has no life nor use / is only costing money I need for the other chickens when they are ill or just routine meds and checks and as we are LUCKILY expecting new chicks we can't afford it to keep feeding her , housing her , etc , as you all know our eggs are VERY much more expensive than the ones we buy at the supermarket !

    so the conclusion for this chicken is just beyond sad in fact ... She doesn't really mind the fact that she is alone as long as she can see the others but she never communicated anyway so she is not going to miss company to chat and walk into the grass but more because she is seeing the others like we do in the supermarket : packed up in some paper and already plucked , sort of speak ...
    however we oddly enough noticed one big thing , and I find it just the worst part ... She is missing someone to talk to or get attention from :'( , turns out she is missing me :(( , there is less work in her coop so I'm done very quikly and move on to the others where there is a lot of work to do .
    How I noticed ( actually little brother did both together with me ) was during the time I was cleaning out her coop , she stood there looking at me and like I usually do , (I think we all do , sort of talking to yourself perhaps for some ) i started talking to her like any other day , just stupid things like " yeah now you r looking veryyy pretty , as if you are beaten up , nice make up artist you are ! first playing strippoker now putting on make up , you teenager haha ' that was it for the day as she saw me leaving and suddenly my brother tapped me on the shoulder pointing at her .
    I did indeed hear something too but I wasn't really sure it was here because she never sounded like that before ;
    she sat with her head down , depressed , looking sad and was gently making sounds to make me come back , can't even describe how it felt to see her like this , somehow pure grief already because no she is not going to adapt in any way at all plus no she will not be anymore so I just COULD NOT go back , it just touched me too much and if I now have more a bonding with her having her culled is not going to happen , even now already having a problem with that . It is a sunny day and usually that is for her like a kid that has found it's toys for the sandbox , no sunbathing hen today , nor dustbath , nor eating , nor drinking and always excited as she can see me working in the yard but always so sad that it is not in her coop / run , for the first time in those years now I did pick her up for looking at her , to say goodbye in fact and I think she sensed it , she putted her head down to my arm and started crying ... I today have been looking at a chicken telling me " I do feel guilty but can't help myself , I miss being with you and everyone else , I am beyond sad and depressed , please hugh me "
    And for info : I did take her gently into my arms and she came closer and closer so yes I hughed her but started to cry so I putted her back ...

    And for once and for all : animals can be cruel , tough and a pain in the ... but even when they are like this one , I couldn't stand her anymore , there is just one thing to blame , or perhaps even two (sometimes three ) :
    first of all the different languague , secondly the anger that makes us even more blind because instead of getting upset / angry we should try to get a closer look ( people that kill are also unwanted but did we ask ourselfs already what might have gotten a man / woman so far ? even without a ' cause ' or ' trigger ' , in psychology there are triggers from outside but also from inside so let us just try to understand more and as we do , what we shall learn in time , even by making tons of mistakes , we can only help even those even better and notice the signs in time ( for her it is too late but a chick or very young chicken has a bigger chance , if we are atleast willing to give that chance . )

    As this situation is ' closed ' , it's OK to put a lock on it , unless people might find it usefull enough or like to add for example a simular experience , as the person I quoted here posted btw a very important title of a book I think we all should understand ... and if we can share THAT knowlegde ? we are going to get our flock much better , even when it is all going well , I really recommand just the fact we'd try to UNDERSTAND .

    Kind Regards ,
    also a goodbye from susy the (troubled ) sussex yet has feelings too
     

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