1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Deadly chicken behavior

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amortonchick, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
    For about one month now I have been dealing with bad behavior from one of my Ameracauna hens. We have a total of five and have never had a problem like this. This is beyond bullying, it is as if she wants to kill one of my Rhode Island Reds. I started by isolating Buffy (the victim) as I thought maybe she was ill. Her poop was definitely not normal and both chickens had stopped laying eggs. I kept her isolated for almost 2 weeks and upon returning her to the group the attacks from Cadbury (bully) were worse. I then removed Cadbury and would periodically try meetings as long as I was present to watch. Each and every time it ends the same. Buffy will immediately run from Cadbury and then there would be an attack, not pecking...a full on grab her by the neck and pin her down. I stopped putting them together at all for awhile and only reintroduced them at night in the coop and they seem to do okay but Buffy at times will opt to sleep away from the rest in a nest box rather than on the roost. As soon as morning comes it's the same thing and I remove the bully right away. I feel letting the "work it out" will result in Buffy's death. Her comb has become bloody and she appears to be losing a lot of feathers from the vicious attacks. I feel I have tried everything and if it keeps going it will not end well for poor Buffy.

    In a couple of weeks we will be introducing new chicks to our existing flock and I want to have this problem under control before that takes place. If anyone has any advice or past experiences with this problem I would love to hear from you. Suggestions or sharing of your stories please! I am completely frustrated and feel the only solution is to remove Cadbury permanently. If so, would the best option be to offer her to someone else so that she has to establish pecking order within a new group? We don't want to have to deal with culling her if possible.
     
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    The best you can try in order to keep her is, separate her for 6 weeks and trim her beak right to the blood line so it hurts her to peck hard. If that doesn't do it, rehome or cull her. Meanwhile, really keep an eye on the bird that goes in the box to sleep. That is not normal and except for brooding is a good indicator of illness. If the aggressive hen is being the rooster she may be trying to cull the sick bird. In that case, she is doing her job and the other hen has issues.
     
  3. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
    If she was sick wouldn't the others join in trying to hurt her? I have them all on antibiotics just in case of illness. I've only seen her sleep in the nest box once, but found her in the coop up high alone the first day I suspected something was wrong. 6 weeks is so long to separate, is this 6 weeks of no contact with the others at all? Thank you for your comment, this does give me some things to think about.
     
  4. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Yes, no contact. you want to put her at the bottom of the pecking order. You also want time to get the other bird healthy. If you think she is sick, maybe she should be separate too so you can monitor everything about her. You may be able to get the sick one back in good health before the bully returns. That should change the dynamics.
    Cadbury is doing the work, they will wait until Buffy is weaker. Then they will join in the fun of finishing her off. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  5. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
    We are pretty low on space with all the new chicks and ducks we are housing in the garage in the brooder. I feel I can only isolate one of them. If I had to choose one to separate should it be Buffy?
     
  6. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    I would say yes for now. I was thinking about this. I always have 3 types of birds in all flocks I have had. RIR's. BO's and EE's. I also have other birds in these flocks but they come and go. The day I have an EE get over on an RIR, I would immediately be looking for what is wrong with the RIR. EE's can run the gamut from calm to flighty to somewhat aggressive. While RIR's are naturally aggressive (yet still even tempered) and larger than EE's. RIR's should be able to make short work of a fight with an EE.
     
  7. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
    I'm glad you pointed this out because without having said so we have made notice of the fact that the tables seem to have turned. When the girls were younger I had to separate Buffy due to bullying and Cadbury seemed the culprit. I have always heard EE's were calm and not as aggressive as RIR as you have said. Buffy runs and hides and like this morning just laid under her without a fight. I think you are onto something, I will definitely make a private home for Buffy, this opens up more questions for me though. If she is ill how much distance away should she be from the younger chicks. To be protected at night we only have the garage for now. I can't thank you enough for your input. I am already getting a sense of relief just knowing somebody is listening. All of our girls are very loved pets so this hard for all of us.
     
  8. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Put Buffy in a different room from chicks. Always do chick chores before Buffy chores. Practice strict biosecurity right now. Keep asking Q's and tell us your observations. We are here for you. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
     
  10. amortonchick

    amortonchick Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    24
    Apr 2, 2015
    Milton, WA
    Well, not a week has gone by and Buffy has been isolated from the other 4 hens at night. She has come to know where her new resting place at night is. I let her out most all day to free range around the yard and if the others are out with her she usually hides. If I keep Cadbury in the pen she will mingle with the others but everything changes once I let Cadbury loose. I've noticed in the morning Buffy has what looks like course dry skin on her back, visible on the outer feathers and I am beginning to see more and more that her feathers on her chest seem scarce. There has not been an attack in awhile to warrant additional feather loss. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by