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Chicken getting picked on REALLY BAD - Seperated

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tenderkat, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    I lost one of my hens Lily a few weeks ago, and since then Aunt Francie has been bullied off and on by the other girls. I am not sure of the dynamics of flock relations, but this just started when Lily died. I guess the pecking order was disturbed in some way and Aunt Francie is taking the brunt of it. But, she has also been exhibiting some health issues too, so I'm not sure if the rest of the flock senses her weakness and is trying to cull her?

    Yesterday, it got so bad that Aunt Francie refused to come out of the henhouse. Every now and then I would go in there to check on her. Of course the other chickens would run into the house because they were hoping that I had a treat or would let them out. As soon as they saw Aunt Francie sitting in the corner, they all immediately began attacking her head viciously!! Her head is all bloodied and her comb is torn up pretty bad. This happened every time I let them near her! By late morning I realized that she was not safe with them, so I brought her inside the bathroom.

    I have been dealing with overall flock health issues for quite some time, and I have done numerous things to try and get them back in shape. Now, I think I might have a mite infestation, so I need to address that.

    Lily is still in our bathroom, but she seems to be getting restless in the dog crate. And it's not as if I can keep her inside our bathroom for any length of time. I'm wondering if I should treat the wounds on her head with an antibiotic ointment? Also, if I can get her healthy I'm worried about putting her back in with the other girls. It seems as thought they have ostrasized her and the pecking will continue to her death. Does anyone know what my options are?

  2. littlestars17

    littlestars17 Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    They will pick on her more if they know she isnt well, I would treat her wounds, give her some extra tlc and some time to recooperate and get overall flock health back in order
  3. andalusn

    andalusn Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    The bloody head/comb probably does not help the pecking issue.. these birds can be so bad about bloody spots...

    Can you set her up in say a dog Xpen with her dog crate while she heals? If the pen is large enough go get one of the other she got along with and give her a buddy to reattach too???? Then integrate them back into the flock when all are healthy. Do you have a rooster? I know our rooster does not tolerate hen squabbles and will break them up by force. I have a dog pen and a X pen that I use for isolating birds or raising out broody hens w/peeps.

    Are you in the country or urban? I have some hens that have never lived inside the hen house but will spend their day with the flock but sleep in the rafters of the barn or perched on a stall wall w/in about 30 ft of the hen house. So she may do just fine by herself or with a hen buddy but still be part of the flock when she is healed up again. While you have her isolated start treating the rest of the group for the suspected mites etc and maybe they will forget to be bully hens during that time.
  4. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    You can treat her wounds with Neosporin without pain reliever or Polysporin. Usually you would remove the main bully instead of the "victim" but your case is an exception. Get Aunt Francie (cute name) well, treat everyone for mites or whatever is needed. I would then put a bully or two in separate housing for a couple of days while A. F. is returned to the flock. Then reintroduce the bully/bullies who will have to start from the bottom of the pecking order. A full disruption of the flock may help solve you problem. Just keep an eye on them.
  5. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    Last week I had seperated Aunt Francie by putting her in the dog crate inside the coop. Then I thought that wasn't fair, because she wasn't the one who should be in isolation. I let her out, and Margaret kept going after her. So, the next day I put Margaret in the crate. The next day I put all of them together, and the bullying didn't seem as bad. But the problem is that I have 5 chickens, and all 4 are picking on her. She doesn't have any buddies, they are ALL being so mean to her!!

    I was thinking that I might have to rehome her, but it's not as if anyone can take in a sick chicken. I just hope that I can get them all healthy again, and then try to see how I can get Aunt Francie accepted back into the group.
  6. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    If you can get her healed up and try adding extra protein to their diet - it may stop the picking when you add her back into the flock. I started giving mine a can of tuna every couple of days and they stopped picking on my one small hen with a crooked beak.
  7. chkn

    chkn Songster

    Jun 27, 2010
    You know, you'll have to give her extra protection for awhile. I would treat Aunt Francie like a queen in front of the rest. Feed her special treats in front of the others. It will build up her strength. Pick her up and sweet talk her and give her all kinds of encouragement. Don't leave her to the mercy of the rest entirely until the situation improves. Put the blue kote on the cuts and try the tar based no pick stuff. Anything to make it undesirable to 'pick'. Also, a death will cause a change in dynamics. All kinds of stuff happens when hens are stressed. Try and make some improvements like more, better, cleaner space. Get things for them to do like one of those big picking seed blocks. Give variety of places for weaker hens to go and not always be 'face to face' with the others. Make sure you have food and water in more than ONE SPOT so food can't be witheld by the others. Put in extra roosts and perches. You could separate the biggest bully from the rest for awhile. Sometimes it's one hen that instigates.

  8. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    We've got heavy rain for the next two days. This delays addressing the mite issue I guess, but I need to read up on what the best way to treat them and their environment.

    Aunt Francie is in a dog crate in the bathroom, but at least she is safe. I visit her every so often, and since that is our only bathroom, she's never alone for more than a couple of hours. She has food and water, both of which she keeps trying to dump. She wants to do what chickens like to do, scratch, and the bowls are in her way. I had thought about giving her a basket with some straw in it for a little nest in there. I don't think she has layed in a really long time, but I don't want to deny her the option if she needs to. Yesterday, I had wanted to take her outside so that she could exercise out in the yard. I thought it would be good punishment for the other girls to see Aunt Francie have all the freedom she wants out of the run, because that is what they are just dying to do all the time. They could watch her and get as jealous as they want, but it serves them right for being so mean to her. But, the rain came in a bit earlier, so I wasn't able to.

    I will most likely need to keep Aunt Francie inside for quite awhile until I can find a way to integrate her safely back into the flock. I might try and build a small seperate chicken tractor to keep her in so that she can still be outside. I'll need to make sure that it is secure against predators though. It will obviously come in handy in the future as an isolation pen or an infirmary. I never thought that I would have to seperate my chickens. I have had them for two years and they were always fairly peaceful with each other. Margaret still seems to be the most spiteful towards Aunt Francie, so she will probably be the one who serves time in the isolation tractor after Aunt Francie gets well.

    I'm doing everything I know of to get them healthy again. I have wormed them, and switched their feed, and tried various supplements. I'll try to get the coop as sanitized as I can when the rain stops, and follow everyone's recommendations above. Thanks for everyone's help!!!!!!
  9. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    Well, I figured out that their were TWO main instigators, Margaret AND Batgirl. So, just after my last post in June, I pulled them away from the flock and put Aunt Francie back in. Margaret and Batgirl have been in a tiny makeshift cage in the yard, and I have put them in a dogcrate in a shed at night. Aunt Francie has been fine with Doris Mae and Helen, and she has healed up nicely.

    I would like to reintegrate Margaret and Batgirl back into the coop, as keeping them seperate has been an inconvenience. Their little cage is not at all predator proof, so I have had to make sure I'm home every evening to lock them in the shed by dark. I'm still a bit apprehensive about bringing them back into the group because they had become such a bully team. Do you think they will still be bullies now that they were seperated for a couple of weeks? Should I put them back in together or one at a time for a couple of days?

    Any suggestions on how to make this successful are very much appreciated!!!
  10. andalusn

    andalusn Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    I am short on pen space and have a large group that over the weekend decided to pick on two birds and bloody their toes. I pulled them to apply blu-kote and when I put them back they went at them again. I can't really pin point just one bird that starts it. It was suggested that if you take out the trouble makers put them in a pen where the other birds can see them and keep them away for a week or more. This will give enough time for the pecking order to shift and reset and when you bring them back they won't be at the top and may be somewhere at the bottom. Worth a try since you have them in their own pen now.

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