Chicken Battle Royal-HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by edouble, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. edouble

    edouble New Egg

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    Jul 22, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hello Folks,

    I've got 4 chickens, all about 2 1/2 years old. They have been together since they were chicks and have always been great
    buddies...

    All that changed about 2 weeks ago when I found Curry, my Buff Orpington, cowering in my yard with feathers missing on her head and blood behind her comb. The wounds weren't deep but it didn't look like it felt good. When I picked her up and brought her over to the other hens she was immediately attacked by them after I got about 15 feet away! It appears there was a ring leader, Casserole, who would jump on her back and peck at her head. I kept Casserole separated for a few days in another part of the coop and everything seemed to calm down. When they were introduced again there were no problems for a couple days...but then the attacks began again! Now Curry just runs and cowers at the sight of any of the other chickens, and ALL the chickens wont hesitate to jump on her and peck away if given the opportunity.

    Even the other three hens have began to fight each other more often. I'm not talking about a peck here and there, its a all out brawl! jumping and bumping and pecking! Curry stays out of it because she hides all day. But one of the hens must have got to her a day ago and drew blood again, this time pretty bad. She never fights back. Her wounds are cleaned up and I've been applying Blu-Kote but it doesn't help reducing the fighting. I am at a loss what to do. No one fights while I'm around but I can't be around all day...

    Curry is constantly puffed up when the other 3 hens are around and this seems to agitate them more. I just wish she would stick up for herself.

    I thought perhaps I would just have to get rid of Casserole and that would solve it, but now the other hens love to attack poor curry too, as well as each other.

    Has anyone dealt with this behavior before? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    -Erik
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Is Curry Broody? That can often cause fighting amongst hens, and being puffed up is one of the signs.
     
  3. edouble

    edouble New Egg

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    Jul 22, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    She is my broodiest bird, but I don't think she is at the moment. Although one of my theories is that she was broody a bit ago and that may have been what started this whole thing.

    She's been broody lots of times in the past and the other hens have never seemed to care much.

    What worries me most is that she keeps getting new wounds everyday. And that perhaps it's her wounds that are now the target. She's not eating much because she's afraid to go near the food.

    I'm not sure that separating her is a good idea because I fear it will just prolong this battle. I dont know...
     
  4. sarahandjay

    sarahandjay Chillin' With My Peeps

    What is the coop and run situation? If they all are starting to fight do they have enough space and enough to keep themselves busy?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Such behavior I associate with some behaviorally wrong with the bird being attacked. Normally it would produce submission signals that would cause attack to terminate. Part of the signals is to get away from attacker.
     
  6. edouble

    edouble New Egg

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    Jul 22, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    Coop and run are about 3x5 and 8x8 respectively, but they free range in the yard for most of the day. The yard is large with plenty of places to hide. Most all of the attacks have been while out in the yard. Curry hides in the yard all day under bushes. When she emerges to get water or something they spot her, and she puffs up and tries to run but usually they pounce on her before she can get away.

    The attacks by the other 3 chickens involve jumping on her back and pecking her head. The other 3 hens have been fighting more than usual too but have not inflicted the type of injuries that Curry has sustained.

    I just don't get it. They have all got along for over two years without issue.
     
  7. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2016
    Could Curry be ill? Chickens can be ruthless when one shows weakness.
     
  8. sarahandjay

    sarahandjay Chillin' With My Peeps

    If curry stays puffed up thats part of the issue. Whenever my broodys make a run from their nest to food water or just to poop if the others are near by they will get attacked by whomever is closet and they do not stop until the broody retreats. Curry is displaying a signal to the others that is a challenge ie the puffing up or staying puffed up.
    As for the others fighting wonder if they are trying to reestablish their pecking order eslecially if curry is at the way bottom and staying hidden most of the days.
     

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