Bullying, Egg-Eating, and Depression?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by buffy-the-eggpile-layer, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. buffy-the-eggpile-layer

    buffy-the-eggpile-layer Songster

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    Poor Darla our EE is having a rough go of it. She's a new layer, can't figure out how to use the boxes, is getting her eggs eaten, and now is the target of bullying. She's also seemed to have gotten depressed, or worse, is under the weather.

    Original thread is here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/help-chickens-eating-eggs.1332541/ (see latest update)

    This is the latest update:

    I don't know if you all will see this but the plot has thickened in a somewhat sad way. We do believe Darla has continued to lay in the run every day and all the other girls eat her eggs (we are always a few moments too late). She generally seems confused about the whole thing.

    Anyway, today I noticed she was getting particularly brutally picked on (which is not normal for our flock). Every time she'd try to eat she'd get a peck, and eventually she'd wander to the other corner of the run sheepishly not knowing what to do with herself and then lying down. I even saw her take a barrage to her crown while she stayed low in a gesture of submission. When the coast would be clear she'd get up and start eating like crazy, but then the same problem hens would see her, start eating, and peck at her until she runs away. I did notice that she had a bit of a comb and beak injury (which I sprayed Vetericyn on).

    Well, the thing is, she's noticeably more out of it and slower--like, she lays down and goes to sleep a lot (in between trying to eat and drinking--she perks up a ton when she can). When walking around she seems slower, stiller, and like she doesn't know what to do with herself--not walking like a penguin or anything though. Her poops look fine. She's just... depressed-seeming.

    So, do chickens get depressed from bullying? Is it possible the stress of starting to lay plus all the bullying (and having her eggs eaten) has gotten to her? Or is she sick and they sense it, hence said bullying? Do you think egg binding could be happening this go-round?

    Hoping someone sees this. My heart breaks for her and I hope this is only temporary. My flock had been so harmonious prior to all the laying.​
     
    cbain0432 and slordaz like this.
  2. buffy-the-eggpile-layer

    buffy-the-eggpile-layer Songster

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    IMG_20190812_184912-01.jpeg
    Here she is about a month or so back
     

    Attached Files:

  3. hysop

    hysop Chirping

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    Aww sorry to hear that. Did they grow up together? I had a black jersey giant who was at the bottom of the pecking order and same thing would happen when she tried to eat. But they free ranged so she could eat when everyone was done and not be bothered or I would feed her a good ways away from the others. I have since lost one black jersey giant but I don’t know if it was her or not, but there’s no more bullying to that extent.
     
  4. slordaz

    slordaz hatchaholic

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    First off are they getting enough protein and calcium? sounds like something is missing in their diet or they may have worms, which you won't see in poop until they have a worm overload.

    Secondly do you have more than one feeding and watering station set up?

    I would recommend actually making a barrier so she is still with the flock but they can not get to her. if need be find another EE to put with her for companionship.
     
  5. buffy-the-eggpile-layer

    buffy-the-eggpile-layer Songster

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    Yeah they were raised together and really very peaceful. She started laying around the time the top hens did (they're about 22 weeks now) but for some reason could not get the hang of it. Everyone laid in the boxes and she'd lay right in the run and they'd get eaten immediately. Right around that time she's also suddenly become the target of uncharacteristic bullying, and now seems depressed (or sick). She does eat and drink plenty when given the chance. We've been adding feeding stations and making sure she gets her fill. Ours don't free range though :(
     
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  6. buffy-the-eggpile-layer

    buffy-the-eggpile-layer Songster

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    Because hers immediately get eaten it's also hard to determine if she's laying regularly or maybe egg bound. So that's a looming concern, too.
     
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  7. buffy-the-eggpile-layer

    buffy-the-eggpile-layer Songster

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    They are on layer feed with oyster shell free choice (and acv in water). All the other four layers use the nesting boxes and those eggs are untouched all day. She drops it in the run and they go right for it.

    We may have to separate her. Unfortunately she is not the brightest of the bunch and seems to need social cues to realize she needs to eat and drink.

    We do have another EE... Cute thing: despite all the bullying, our other EE always lays next to Darla and will groom her. It's so sweet and I'm happy for that.
     
    cbain0432, EggWalrus and slordaz like this.
  8. hysop

    hysop Chirping

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    I would do what slordaz recommended and quarantine her off but where the others can see her. That way you can monitor her egg production and food intake and such. Is the run big enough to hold all of them?
     
  9. slordaz

    slordaz hatchaholic

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    if you want to check for egg bound you can always do a Epsom salt soak for 10'15 minutes or as tolerated, and while drying her off check to see if you can feel egg in there.
    it's hard to say if she has been laying normal eggs or not as you haven't seen any. but seperating her like that to make sure she is getting enough and isn't calcium deficient would be a good start and let you see what kind of egg she is laying. you can put a temp divider in there for her
     
  10. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

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    What breeds do you have? Is Darla your only Easter Egger.
     
    cbain0432 likes this.

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