Do 'pecky' chickens get better or worse?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by patandchickens, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Still trying to resolve Maryanne/Hazelnut dilemma (https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=87225), can I ask for help one more time?

    Hazelnut is a campine, and like her 5 brothers (all now rehomed) needs to switch to decaf. She would have been terrifically successful as a corporate executive - first female CEO of the entire world, I expect - except for having been born a chicken. Her "get in my way and I will peck you hard" approach is becoming a problem however - she has my Chantecler cockerel's bottom bald and starting to bleed (the two pullets find her annoying but stay out of her way well enough), and she bit poor lonely Maryanne so hard that Maryanne seriously tried to kill her (nearly succeeded, too).

    In your experience, do chickens who are, by breed, "active and high-strung" (and bitey) tend to settle down with time and when put in a larger flock; or is she likely to stay the same or get worse?

    (Am trying to figure out whether to try a double switch - move Hazel in with 9 sussexes and try Maryanne with the 3 chanteclers - or whether to leave Hazel in with chanteclers (cockerel's bottom notwithstanding) and see if Maryanne can live iwht the sussexes).

    Any insights would be REALLY appreciated, I just do not know all that much about chicken and flock behavior and could really use a hand here.

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I read somewhere today or yesterday that you could separate Hazelnut for a week or so, as long as it takes, being away from the flock will drop her pecking order standing down to the bottom, and she will have to be nice to everyone, even the peons
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Thanks seminolewind!

    Actually I just now discovered that since this morning she has ripped off all the feathers from the lower half of the cockerel's neck [​IMG], so I am just going to have to do SOMEthing now. Unfortunately the chanteclers are sort of the chicken equivalent of marshmallows - I wonder if they may be part Buff Orp, seriously [​IMG] - and she is just not working out there [​IMG]

    I have put a listing in Buy/Sell/Trade for her (anyone in Ontario want what would probably be an excellent free-range chicken, very beautiful? Will deliver) and will advertise her on the Canadian MSN group. For now I think I will put her in with the sussexes; either they will clean her clock or keep her in line, or if she causes too much trouble then I may have to VERY reluctantly and sadly think about Hazelnut stew [​IMG]

    Man, chickens are unhelpful sometimes. I *want* to make 'em all happy. They could, like, try to meet me halfway or something, the silly things.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Yea, if she's causing injury, she's better off having to start over at the bottom of someone else's totem pole.
     
  5. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a ring in the beak of one of my hens after I found her following the other one with her beak covered in blood.
    After a month I felt so sorry for her that I took it out, but she had not learned her lesson. She eventually died with the ring in, so I don't think that a pecker will reform. At least, mine did not. She even managed to eat a few feathers with the ring in. Now, her victim has a terrible temper and pecks the other two younger hens, but does not draw blood.
     
  6. 28 chix pix

    28 chix pix Out Of The Brooder

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    I never realized just how brutal chix can be. I have a black sexlink that I thought for a while was a rooster as it aged. She WAS MEAN. I spend a lot of time with my chix and they freerange even moreso when they decide to get out of the chix run. I have found that since her freedom and picking her up and holding her in a baby like position as I stroke her she has done a 180 in regards to respect and docility. She is so wonderful now and she follows me around and begs me to pick her up.
     
  7. 28 chix pix

    28 chix pix Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, just an afterthought. Have you ever tried pine tar? Other chix hate it. You take a Q-tip and dip it in and smear it on the spot they are pecking at. You have to catch it early on though so you don't have to cover the whole chix.

    Hmmmm... wonder where tar and feathers came from?
     

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