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Chicken attacking ALL the other chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mkgurgan, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. mkgurgan

    mkgurgan New Egg

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    We have a 3 yo Rhode Island Red that is attacking every other member (two 2yo Columbian Wyandottes and one 10 yo Americauna) of the flock any time she is near them. She charges them, jumps on their backs, and rips out chunks of feathers and pecks the base of their skulls. She will keep going until they are bloodied if not stopped and may be responsible for the wound that ultimately killed one of our hens (another RIR that she was raised from a chick with) a few weeks ago. I know pecking order is a real thing, but I've just never seen a hen that keeps going after another has submitted. We had the two RIRS separated as she had never attacked it before but if she has the opportunity to get near the other chickens she immediately goes after them. Now that one is dead and I feel terrible because I think she may have done it when I wasnt home. We've tried separating her and reintroducing with no change in her behavior. It used to be one happy flock, but she's flipped and at this point I'm ready to just get rid of her to keep the rest of the chickens safe. Any other suggestions?
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Time for chicken soup.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    x2! She may have developed a health issue that's changed her behavior, but she needs to go ASAP, and not to another flock. Mary
     
  4. sunshineacre

    sunshineacre Out Of The Brooder

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    I am following this post. We have a similar though not quite as bad (meaning no fatality yet) problem. We had 5 hens raised together. Our Plymouth Rock was always solid in personality - not aggressive not meek, just middle of the pack. Our maran, the head of the pecking order was brutally attacked by two dogs and we had to separate her for 3 weeks. While that was happening the Plymouth Rock rose to the top of the pecking order and it seems to have gone to her head. Now she attacks the injured bird that we reintroduced and attacks our three little pullets. I am thinking about rehoming her after trying the same techniques you described.

    Good Luck!

    Grace
    http://sunshineacre.com
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    First, for anyone who's having problems to this degree, I suggest that you consider the housing. Even though nothing may have changed, perhaps they are a bit crowded? Do you have a bare minimum of 4 s.f. in coop, and 10 s.f. in run per bird. Are the perches far enough from the walls and ceiling that they can perch comfortably without any feathers touching the wall behind them? Can they easily jump up and down? Is there enough room so that when one bird jumps up, he can do so without displacing a flock mate? Can they perch without getting their toes nipped from below? Are there hiding places in the coop and run? A place where a bird can duck out of sight for a bit? Hay bales are great stress busters! Be sure these locations are not dead ends! Even worse than being chased is being cornered! You might consider putting them on a high protein diet. While their protein intake may be adequate, perhaps a boost might make a difference. After trying these things, if isolation doesn't help, I recommend chicken stew. Don't pass your problem bird on to any one else without full disclosure.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. mkgurgan

    mkgurgan New Egg

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    Space isn't the issue. We currently only have 4 chickens (5 before we lost one two weeks ago) and they're divided between two coops. It all started when the head chicken (the very old Americauna) hurt her leg and was limping. We separated her until she was healed and then attempted to reintroduce. It did not go well as the RIR was the new boss and didn't want her back. We moved her into a new coop that we had been in the process of building. But without her as a target the RIR started attacking all the other chickens except the other RIR. So now we've had 2 coops going for 6 months, one with the RIRs and one with the Americauna and 2 Wyandottes. 2 weeks ago we came out to find the nicer of the two RIR a mess. We tried to clean her up and treat her but she died. I can just keep the RIR on her own in the old coop,but it seems like a sad lonely life. But any time one of the other chickens gets loose in the yard (the RIR free ranges all she wants in the back yard) she immediately goes after them. I get why she wold go after the weak old chicken, but now she attacks any chicken she sees and may have killed the one chicken she got along with. I never imagined trying to reintroduce an old chicken would cause this type of response. Guess I was just naive.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens can be pretty nasty---velociraptors--- at times. I wouldn't keep a bird who was such a bad flock member! Pecking order is one thing, causing serious injury, and severe stress in the flock, is a different issue entirely. Mary
     
  8. sunshineacre

    sunshineacre Out Of The Brooder

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    Space not an issue here either. Our main coop is roomy and they have about 1/10 of an acre to free range. The three babies are in a separate coop for now. For us I think its an issue of temporarily being at the top of the pecking order going to our Plmouth Rock's head. :-(

    Grace
    http://sunshineacre.com
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Soup.
     
  10. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ditto
     

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