Ex battery hen behaviour

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newchuck, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. newchuck

    newchuck Hatching

    Feb 16, 2016
    Hello, I am all new to this having rescued four battery hens approximately 2 weeks ago. The birds are now looking much happier and healthier than the poor featherless friends I collected. Two are much more confident than the others now, quite happy to venture outside and scratch for food. A third one is now also starting to become braver, but my little runt, the one with no tail feathers and the least feathers of all seems to be getting left out a lot.
    It's cold here now and the other three seem to be snuggling in for th night together leaving the little one alone. There's plenty of bedding to keep them all warm and it's off the ground. After the last two nights finding the three ontop of each other snuggled and warm, I'm getting more concerned about the runt. She's eating but she won't come out the coop. She was on the floor tonight on her own just standing there so I've lifted her into bed. She tries to join the other girls but they don't seem happy about that. I dont think there's been any plucking or pecking but it's hard to tell as the poor thing looked ready for packaging when I got her....some feather now returning but still a while to go before full coverage.
    What shall I do? Just let them get on with it? Keeping an eye on her progress?
    I'm getting two or three eggs a day but yesterday fond they had destroyed one egg but left the other. Could that have been her egg?
    I never knew chicks could be so cruel to each other!!
    All suggestions welcome!
    Thanks x
  2. Paganrose

    Paganrose Songster

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you could join us! Be sure to check out the learning center- there is tons of valuable information there!

    Chickens have a very strict social order. It sounds like your runt is at the bottom of the pecking order. How much space do your girls have? sometimes if they do not have enough space, or things to occupy themselves they will develop mean behaviors. Battery hens also have a hefty adjustment- going from environmentally controlled setting to a coop and colder run may be stressing out your bird. She also sounds like she is in a hard molt, and so doesn't have as much insulation. Make sure your girls are getting a high protein feed while feathering out.

    Keep an eye on the birds and watch for feather picking. The hens may eat eggs if board or confined too much, but generally only eat eggs that are broken. (make sure these girls have plenty of oyster shell available, sometimes battery birds can be lacking calcium, making shells weak.

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