Chicken 'rejected' by flock after a year and a half.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mountain Lori, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Mountain Lori

    Mountain Lori Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 1, 2011
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    Hi. Newbie here. I've had a mixed flock of 24 layers for a year and a half now. As I had no prior experience with chickens and there are no vets in my area that deal with poultry, I've relied heavily on the internet for information and advice. This is one of my favorite go-to sites and thanks to you all, I've done pretty well with them.

    The chicken in question has been with the flock from the beginning and is one of 12 red rocks from the same brood. Two months ago, I noticed that she was skittish in the coop and was afraid to approach the feeder. Every time she moved, the other hens were on her. She was missing quite a few feathers, but I noticed that they also appeared to be growing back in, so I assumed she was in molt. Her comb was a little off-colour too - kind of purple/grey and not as big and floppy as it was (or the others anyway, I never noticed a difference before). Worried about her safety and health, I brought her inside (caged in my spare room) and fed her extra greens and a little cat food for protein. She ate well and her feathers grew back in nicely, but she is not laying, and her comb is still off-colour.

    I tried reintroducing her to the flock about a month ago. They swarmed her immediately, so I removed her again and tried a gradual introduction a few days later. On a warm(ish) day, I let a couple of hens into the run and put her in with them. There were some squabbles, but she seemed to hold her own. After a couple of hours, I opened the entrance to the coop and gave her access to it. She was very hesitant, but she went in and immediately went to the top rung on the roost. There was some pecking from the others, but she seemed to have it under control, and I left her overnight. When I checked on her in the morning, her comb was bloody from several cuts. She stayed on the roost and would not feed. When she moved, the others were on her. I took her out again.

    The weather has been warm, so the girls have had some run-time this past week. I figured that might reduce aggression, so I tried again yesterday, and the same thing happened.

    I have 24 chickens. My coop is 14x12 ft with eight nesting boxes, lots of ledges for them to sit on, five levels on the roost, and light and dark areas for them to choose from. I don't think overcrowding is the problem. I have considered boredom, but it is only the one bird that is picked on. I had a full-spectrum light bulb on 12 hours per day to make up for the short winter days and I tried leaving it off to see if that would reduce aggression, but they are not all attacking each other, only her. Maybe they sense some underlying disease and that is why they're picking on her? I am worried about the colour of her comb, but otherwise, she is shiny, bright-eyed and fat. I was thinking that once the snow clears and they can free range again, this behavior might stop...?

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    When this has happened to me they are driving away the ill or weak...

    maybe you'll get better advice, but you could always make her a house chicken... they have diapers and everything.
     
  3. Sheepy

    Sheepy Out Of The Brooder

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    The same thing happened to my poor Red Star Hen. Its usually because they're sick. You need to separate her from the flock, find out what's wrong with her, and treat it. You can't return her back to the flock until she's 100% healthy and has all her strength back, so she doesn't get picked on, and the others don't get sick.
     
  4. cgtara3

    cgtara3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree. She has to eat and be at least the same size as the rest. If she is being chased around all day, she cannot eat, and instead lives in terror. You might just have a house chicken.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  5. DebbieF

    DebbieF Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New Richmond, WI
    I read on another BYC posting that a purplish comb could mean blood circulation is bad, like heart is slowing down. Perhaps you could research that more. I hope you find the answers.
     
  6. Mountain Lori

    Mountain Lori Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 1, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    @FireTigeris and cgtara3 - lol. That is too funny, because I call her 'Backroom Chicken.' I also have two anti-social 'Backroom' cats that I keep isolated during the night. But seriously, it is my spare bedroom and although she is less annoying than the cats, I'm sure most ppl wouldn't want to sleep with her.

    As for disease, I have considered that. They have all been wormed, and as far as I can tell, have no external parasites. She is bigger and fatter than the others, probably from being inside. I've read that discolouration of the comb could be heart disease? I don't think the colour has changed since I first removed her, so it is not getting worse(?). Are there some treatments I can try to see if it brings the colour up? I agree a vet may be able to tell me what's wrong, but as I said, I can't find one that deals with poultry - I'm not exactly in the heart of chicken country here.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  7. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Well um that's one possibility for comb discolor - but there are lots...

    any illness can turn her combs color- I had a chicken stolen and later returned [​IMG]

    and her comb was a pale pinkish purple- when she got feeling better it reddened back up and she started laying again.

    [​IMG]

    SICK

    [​IMG]

    HEALTHY

    same chicken- sorry its blurry- half dead batteries in a digital camera = bad shots.
     
  8. Mountain Lori

    Mountain Lori Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 1, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    [​IMG] I just remembered, I had an incident during the winter with one of the red rocks. I was cleaning the coop and left the door open. They all went out onto the wooden walkway and scratched about, but it was really cold and the yard was covered in about a foot of snow, so I didn't think they would go anywhere. When I finished, I did a head-count before I closed up. I'm sure you all know what that's like. Two times I counted 23 instead of 24. The third time, I saw one that I had 'missed,' and so closed up the coop and went inside. I went out in the morning to feed them and gather eggs and went back inside. I went out again around sunset to check again for eggs and just happened to catch some movement out of the corner of my eye. There, sitting on the pile of fence posts stacked against the shed, was one of my babies! She had been out all night and day. The daytime temp was -20 C, so I imagine that the overnight temp must have been -25 to -30. She was so cold, she let me just walk up to her and pick her up without a fuss. There was a poor little frozen egg laying on the post underneath her. I put her in the coop and she happily hopped up on the roost under the heat lamp. This happened a few weeks before I noticed the aggressive behavior.

    Could this be the same chicken? Could the discolouration be due to frostbite? Could there be some other permanent damage from the extreme cold?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Western N.C.
    That kind of cold weather cold hurt a chicken, i know what you mean about going out and counting heads i have 22 chickens and I have to count at least 3 to 4 times before making sure all are accounted for. usually frost bite turns blk and then it falls off. Like the other posters said she could have an under lying illness and they can sense it better than us, maybe like you said on an warmer day try putting her out with the others where they can all scratch around and see what happens. Seems if she was real sick she wouldn't be eating thats is usually a big clue that something is wrong when they won't eat. The purplish color of her comb could mean ciculatory problems but it's just a guess. Do her feet and legs feel cold?
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have seen on more than one occasion, a hen attack another hen who had a serious condition. One particular incident involved the head hen in the old ladies coop, a Buff Orp named Sunny, and one of the high ranking hens in the group. Sunny was approaching 5 yrs old and Tux was just a year younger, so they had been together for most of Tux's life.

    Poor Tux suddenly acted like she had had a stroke, looking off into space, staying exactly where I'd pick her up and sit her down. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with her and stood her in front of the feeder to see if she'd eat. The head hen was eating at the feeder. Suddenly, she looked at Tux, then peered closely into her face and attacked her. I'd never seen anyone attack Tux, no one at all. I grabbed her out of the coop, put her in the hospital cage and she was dead by morning. They know when something is not right with another bird.
     

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