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Chooks Fighting

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Wild--Star, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Wild--Star

    Wild--Star Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why are my hens fighting?
    I have 3 pekin hens who have started laying in the last few months and they have all gotten along well.
    Now however, the largest one has been attacking the smallest one and the medium sized one who I usually the most docile and is the biggest ones sister helped peck her a bit too. No reason, I just turned around and the big one was attacking the little one. She pecked at her face near her eyes and drew blood, pulled out feathers and jumped on her with the little one cowering underneath her. I know I shouldn't but I couldn't watch it so I pulled the little one away and have now locked the big one in the coop on her own until nightfall. I dont know what to do?
    Why are they fighting? Is the big one trying to show dominance? I was worried she (the littlest one who used to be leader of the flock when they were young) might be sick but other than a pale face, she seems fine! Is there any reasons for a pale face? She has always been pale but I feel like she is even paler now...? :/ someone help? I really dont have a clue what to do and am not really in the right mental state to deal with too much more stress at the moment.
    Why do chickens have to be such a hassle! What can I do?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    A paler face can be a symptom of illness. If that is the case, then its quite normal in chicken society for the rest of the flock to run the sick chicken out of the flock. Having said that, it could be a dominance issue but its difficult to know with any degree of certainty.

    Firstly, I'd treat the injured bird and most importantly, ensure that there are no signs of blood, as that would exacerbate further attacks. Cotton wool and a saline solution or iodine would do the trick, I would imagine.

    Secondly, I would isolate the aggressor and keep her out of sight of the other two birds for a couple of weeks. This should, in theory, reduce her rank once she is re-introduced and hopefully stop the aggression.

    I'm sure other members may have alternative suggestions that may seem more appropriate to you.

    Good luck
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    How big is their coop and run?
     
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy Wild--Star

    Being in Aus, now is the time that the hens [especially Pekins] get broody.

    I have Pekins and when they are coming into broody they do tend to pick on the others, especially if they are higher in the pecking order.

    While being a sign of illness, a pale face can also be a sign that the hen is broody. I have read that this is to show the rooster that she is off limits and she is less attractive to him because of the paleness.

    It could just be totally hormone related.

    With one of my gals, if I am not letting her hatch, she not only goes into the broody breaker to break her but also to protect the rest of the flock from her hormones [​IMG] When she is broken, they are all best buds again.

    I agree with CTKen that you need to ensure that the injured hen is not showing signs of blood, this will cause the others to peck her further.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  5. Bambitracks

    Bambitracks Just Hatched

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    It seems something has shifted. Where your girls raised together? Pekins have very gentle and sweet dispositions. From what I gather the little hen was top ranking? Now that's changed. It happens I have six girls that were raised together since hatchlings they've changed rankings about two or three times. they are not quite a year old yet February 17 is their birthday! (My girls are BSLs just an FYI) but they have never been vicious with each other. Now I have two other white leghorns that came from somewhere I have no clue where but they just joined my flock. My girls will and have singled one of them out the newest, Cheese. (the other leghorn Crackers has been around since they where chicks so she is the oldest and dominant). Neither are really a stable flock member thou. Meaning my girls know and love each other and myself I can pick them up do whatever I want with them but the leghorns stay at a distance. I didn't raise them. sometimes they sleep out in the trees and sometimes they will go in the coop with my girls if they can squeeze in there before I tuck them into bed. But they all appreciate each other! But it appears your little hen has shown some weakness, any signs of distress or sickness? A top ranking hen is always a little stressed due to her position.
    The process of a hen losing her rank can be a horrific ordeal, normally nothing to worry about. But it is never pleasant especially if they were not hatched and raised together. Just keep an eye on them, but separating them like you did today I do believe was a good thing. I have never had hens draw blood when It gets to that point something needs to be done. Because once weakness is shown your girls may kill her. Eyes can be poked out things can happen very quickly! A tear in the comb can be life-threatening it's very hard to stop bleeding! But just keep an eye on them on them, and if things progress just do as you did today and lock the instigator up away from the other two and do that for a few days. Let the little girl get her strength and confidence back.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  6. Wild--Star

    Wild--Star Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all very much x The girls were introduced at a young age and the little one (Daisy, a frizzled Pekin) actually began the alpha chicken straight away even though she was smaller, younger and outnumbered by two. She seemed to be the alpha from then and they all got along fine. Now they are older and up until now have all been good friends. Shadow, the big one, acts like a rooster and is very bossy and has begun to peck at us if we touch her or Daisy and Millie (Millie is Shadows sister so they are very close) but only today out of the blue did Shadow start attacking Daisy and Millie started to join in and give her a little peck as well. Daisy just cowered and didn't fight back. So I think ranks have definitely shifted or are at least in the process of shifting. I haven't been able to tell who was the alpha chicken lately though but I knew it was out of Shadow and little Daisy. Daisys face seems to flush from pale to red so maybe she is healthy as I have not seen any other symptoms of sickness. Perhaps all of this is just hormonal. None of them have gone broody yet so that could be part of it and they may be going broody now. Once I locked Shadow up by herself, the other two got on fine. So I think if they are mean tomorrow, I will clean up Daisy and isolate Shadow in a separate cage. How far from the other hens should I put it? Where they can see each other or out if site? I will put her in for a week maybe? And reintroduce her and see how it goes. Anymore tips would be lovely, thank you all. Despite Daisy looking healthy enough, I have given antibiotics in their water to be sure. There seemed to be no squabbling when I put them all together tonight so fingers crossed all is well in the morning. Thank you again, let me know your thoughts:)
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Wild--Star

    Wild--Star Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also the coop is a decent size and can house up to five hens but they are free range hens.
     
  8. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The bully needs to be out of sight of the other birds, and it can take a couple of weeks to reset. If you put her back in a week watch carefully, if it's not long enough you will need to start over.
    I'd make it two weeks honestly, if it's possible for you to do that. I have a hen that does this, she was separated repeatedly, and it would work for a time, then she'd go broody again and we'd start over. She just beat up everybody. I now keep a rooster, and she no longer bullies. I'm not saying get a rooster just for that, I had other reasons, but in this case it worked for that situation too.
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Exact dimensions?
     
  10. Wild--Star

    Wild--Star Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright thank you I will make it two weeks.
    And I dont know the exact dimensions but its a byc taj mahal coop
     

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