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Dealing With Bullies?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kwheat98, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    I had 7 young laying hens, and about a month ago one was pecked to death. A few weeks later I noticed that a few of the others had bloody wounds like the one that died, and decided to isolate them. While they were isolated, I let them free-range with the others for about an hour every other day, and they all got along fine.

    I recently decided to put the isolated hens back into the coop with the others, so I let them all free-range first. I noticed that a few of them started fighting, and I isolated the one that was picking most fights and the one who was getting most picked on (the skinniest- I guess that's why she's bullied). While free-ranging, it seemed that the 4 left over were fine, but later in the coop tussled a little.

    The hens are now in two groups- the formally-hurt ones and the others, and they get along within their groups, but not with each other.

    I have the bullies in isolation now, because I don't know what to do. I can't have them fighting with and killing the formally-hurt ones.

    Any ideas?

    I may be able to find a home for one of the groups if I have to.
     
  2. AtlantisPeeps

    AtlantisPeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2014
    US
    I've never figured out a way to stop the act of bullying, but I have some ways here that help manage it.

    1. Trim the bullies beaks.
    Usually, the top half of the beak overlaps the bottom into a "hawk point". You want to use nail clippers to trim the point off, making it even with the lower beak. This is beneficial as dull beaks can't penetrate skin as well as sharp ones.

    2. (warning: messy!) Put pine tar on areas of your victim chickens where the bullies usually peck. The stuff stinks and is sticky, so when the bullies peck it they get this nasty sticky stuff in their beaks and usually back off. You can also apply pine tar on minor wounds to hide redness (all chickens will attack any blood or redness).

    3. Give the chickens something to do other than pick on each other. Take some dry corn and sprinkle it everywhere. Chickens love searching and finding these little heavenly nuggets. They will be too busy finding these snacks to pick on each other!

    Hope these ideas help you as much as they help me!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    There are several reasons why birds go after each other as you described : Since one was pecked to death and others bloodied, I suspect there isnt enough living space and are too crowded together. Separating them and then reintegrating aggravates the situation.
    There will be pecking order issues as well, but normally get worked out and dont last long. Another reason could be their diet. Layer feed is recommended but you could temporarily provide them gamebird feed and observe if there's decreased fighting.
    I recommend that you expand your chicken pen/run, possibly expand your hen house, provide another feeder. You can also provide things to distract them such as hanging a head of lettuce or cabbage in the pen, place a mirror in the pen or build a wooden ladder for them to hop up on to preen themselves (not too high of a ladder.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Quote: The best way to protect wounds on your girls is with Blu-Kote:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    That's what confuses me so much- the coop is plenty big enough for 7 chickens, much less 6. They've been living together from the time they were chicks and this has only just started a month ago- they're about 8 months old now.

    When i had them all out, it started out as them just pecking grass out of one another's mouths, then they would peck at each other's faces. The fighting was a lot more than pecking, though- they would latch onto one another and claw at each other- a lot more than sisterly bickering.

    Right now I have the bullies in cages, like I had the injured ones in, and the now-healed ones in the coop. I know it's not ideal, but I don't know if I can ever even have them roaming at the same time again.

    The point is, I'm nervous to try to have them all together even with things to distract them there...

    Do you think I should give it another shot with having hem all roaming together, or do you have any other suggestions?

    It's winter, and it's not snowy now, but it will be soon... I'd like to have them all in the coop and taken care of before the weather gets too hectic..
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  6. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    That's what confuses me so much- the coop is plenty big enough for 7 chickens, much less 6. They've been living together from the time they were chicks and this has only just started a month ago- they're about 8 months old now.

    When i had them all out, it started out as them just pecking grass out of one another's mouths, then they would peck at each other's faces. The fighting was a lot more than pecking, though- they would latch onto one another and claw at each other- a lot more than sisterly bickering.

    Right now I have the bullies in cages, like I had the injured ones in, and the now-healed ones in the coop. I know it's not ideal, but I don't know if I can ever even have them roaming at the same time again.

    The point is, I'm nervous to try to have them all together even with things to distract them there...

    Do you think I should give it another shot with having hem all roaming together, or do you have any other suggestions?

    It's winter, and it's not snowy now, but it will be soon... I'd like to have them all in the coop and taken care of before the weather gets too hectic..
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
  8. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    Wow... that's interesting. :D Expensive, though

    You wouldn't happen to know anything about introducing two different flocks, would you? I have two sets of 6 chickens, and I'd like to be able to have them all out at the same time, for convenience.
     
  9. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

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    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    I might try clipping their beaks, it's just a matter of getting them to sit still. :D All of these are great ideas- thanks! I just have to figure out how to keep them from fighting in general.
     
  10. kwheat98

    kwheat98 New Egg

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    7
    Nov 21, 2014
    Indiana
    Thanks! I'll keep that in mind if it happens again!
     

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