Chicken attacked by flock during night

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by StephanieC, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
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    This morning after I opened the coop to let everyone out, I looked in the roost area/nest box area to see if I had any eggs, and saw blood all over the foil I put down over the wire floor.

    Horrified, I examined the chickens and found that my one Barred Rock, Cuda, was all bloody where her comb is starting to grow up (she is six months and still quite immature). I thought everything was fine out in the yard, but then I noticed when I put out a pear for them to eat, Cuda was getting pecked.

    I have isolated her in a dog crate for the moment. I am treating her wounded head, of course. She lost a lot of blood, and it horrifies me to think of her stuck in the coop all night getting pecked like that.

    Why would they suddenly turn on her like this? And will I be able to reintroduce her to the flock successfully once she has healed?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Dad of the coop

    Dad of the coop Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2014
    Hens turn on each other to establish a pecking order. Some hens are sometimes more aggressive in establishing a pecking order. Also if blood is drawn than the hens tend to peck more. Once she is better you can introduce her back into the flock. Do it outside the coop so the other birds not feel like there is a intruder onto their territory. Keep a close eye on her and maybe buy a topical jell called no peck. If the birds start attacking her then put it on the area were they are pecking her. This cream will prevent the others from attacking because when they attack the ointment does not taste good.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    How many birds do you have and how big is your coop? Pecking order issues can turn ugly if there are to many birds in too small a space with not enough room to get away from an aggressive high ranking bird or bully bird.
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    That's exactly my question also @cafarmgirl . I think her coop may be too small for the number of birds in it. Wish the OP would post a pic of their setup so we could have a better look-see and could advise her better.
     
  5. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
    Florida
    I have five birds. They free range all day, in an area about one acre. They are cooped only at night, in a coop that is designed for 6-9 chickens.[​IMG]

    This photo shows the coop, which is two story. They roost on the second level.

    They were about five months when this photo was taken, I believe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  6. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
    Florida
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    These photos show the upstairs roosting area of my coop, which is professionally built and sold as a 6-9 chicken coop. The center roosting bar is 42" long, the full length of the coop is 66", the full width at the bottom is 42". You can see I have nests in two corners.

    I hope this helps. If my coop is too small, I will be seriously ticked off, because I spent many weeks researching before settling on this one. The guy who sells these teaches Chicken 101 classes for backyard chicken owners and seems very knowledgable.

    I have never noticed much pecking order behavior with this flock, nothing that would concern me at all. One of the chickens is pretty rough on my dog, but not on the other chickens.

    Cuda is the smallest in my flock, and seems to be the one stuff happens to. She was almost lost to a hawk when they were chicks.
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    It could very well be that one or more of your flock has pecked on Cuda to the point of bloodiness due to crowding. While the builder of this coop states 6-8 chckens, I would only house maybe 4 standard-to-large breeds in there. Could be his estimate was based on bantam-sized birds.

    When birds are crowded/cramped things can get ugly quickly. I notice that your roost bar appears to be a 2 x 2 (?). If so, I would replace that as soon as possible to a 2 x 4 laying flat. Two inches of "foot room" really isn't adequate for hens. They like to lay their feet flat when roosting at night, and also allows them to lay down on their feet more readily during the cold of winter. Another thing that might possibly be attributing to the fighting/chaos going on is ventilation. With an a-frame you obviously don't have much choice as to where to drop in better ventilation, because you don't want air hitting them while roosting, so that leaves out both of the side walls.
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I agree with iwiw60, I think you are short on space in your coop. I suppose you might squeeze 6-9 very small bantams in that coop but not standard size birds. I wouldn't recommend that many bantams either lol! I suppose I MIGHT squeeze 3 standard birds in there, I don't know, I'm just not a fan of small spaces for any animal. Many pre-fab coop's or built-to-order coops vastly overstate how many birds they can handle. A rule of thumb is at least one foot in length of roost space per bird. So at 42 inches of roost space with 5 birds things are pretty tight. I tend to go a lot larger then published minimum's when it comes to roost space and floor space as the problems encountered when birds are to crowded can be a big headache to say the least.
     
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  9. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
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    Thanks, that is discouraging that you think they are crowded. I don't know what I can do about that.

    The ventilation should be good inside this coop, the air comes in from underneath and their is roof ventilation, so even in our super hot Florida simmers it seems to stay cool enough at night. Maybe I am making a mistake putting the oven liners over the mesh floor?

    The roost bar is a 2x4 with the 2" side up, which I thought was common for warm climates. Perhaps I could add a 2x4 the other way on top of the one that is there.

    The second nest was added recently, should I take it out to allow more space? I have a nest box outside, and only one chicken is laying now anyway.
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    My Coop
    The only options for addressing a crowding issue are reduce the number of birds or increase the amount of space (build).
     

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