fighting hens,why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by palabeco, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. palabeco

    palabeco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 29, 2007
    S.W. PA
    Yesterday afternoon, we saw 2 of our hens get into a fight, they are older and we have had them for a year. One is a rir and the other a sex link. They had their neck feathers fluffed out and were chest bumping, then the rir gave the sexlink a good peck in the neck, and she went down, then some other chickens came over to investigate, and so did I. She was laying there with her head tucked under and the rir tried to peck her again, I smacked her and said leave her alone, and she tried it again, again I smacked her, and she walked away. The sexlink then got up and walked away. Checked her out and no visible injuries. Why do hens fight? Should I have intervened? Was it just a spat? Should I separate them? The only thing they were doing before the fight was trying to eat the duck food (Chick grower) my son just brought out. Oh, and btw, neither one of them is top hen, my white leghorn is top.
     
  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Even if neither of them is the top hen there will still be a pecking order between them. Once the hen had tucked her head, she had submitted. The extra pecks are so that she gets the point.

    Some folks will say to let them work it out, but I can't stand by and let one peck the crap out of another. I have seperated several hen fights. I will be doing it alot in a few days, because I am putting the Australorp hens into the main henhouse so I can do some remodeling to their house.

    Matt
     
  3. dixiechick

    dixiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    sounds like they were trying to establish the pecking order under the top hen. The pecking order will be established all the way down the line.

    But I am like you. I intervene too. I can't stand to see them fight. I'm top hen around here and no one is allowed to fight beneath me! [​IMG]
     
  4. palabeco

    palabeco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 29, 2007
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    Even after a year , they still fight for pecking order? This is the first real fight I have seen, although they could fight when I'm not around I guess.
     
  5. dixiechick

    dixiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    They will fight if another hen wants to change her status and challenges a "higher ordered" hen to a fight, or if the "higher ordered" hen feels threatened that she is about to be demoted...[​IMG]
     
  6. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I handle the chickens the same way I handle the cats. If I see a fight start, I watch very closely. When it looks like someone's going too far, I intervene. I'm not dealing with injuries/vet bills because they can't work it out. Of course, none of this applies to my favourite hen and my favourite cat. Nobody gets to pick on them!! They're under the protection of Big Mama ChickenCatGoat.
     
  7. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Washington County, NY
    I'm having a similar problem: I had one hen that was separated from the flock. When I tried to reintegrate her, she fought bitterly with one of the others (there are only 3 and one roo). I was told to let them go at it, that they need to resolve it themselves, but they don't seem to be getting over it and look battered around the head when I separate them.

    I think this is a more serious problem with a small flock.

    I haven't been able to solve it and wish I could!
     
  8. chicksinthemachine

    chicksinthemachine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2008
    Henley,MO
    I personally would let them to do the normal pecking order pecking but if it get to violent then stop it. I have some with the same problem but I have 2 roo's and know have been dividing into two groups. When they are in the pen no problem they even sleep together but free ranging if one of one flock goes to the other IT'S ON LIKE DONKLY CONG! LOL
     
  9. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's interesting. I've been trying to get them used to each other outside of the coop and run, while free-ranging, assuming they would be able to get away from each other and there would be less hostility. Maybe I should try indoor integration again.

    In the last fight, one hen's eye was injured and I took her to the vet, who advised that I just keep them separate. The vet isn't a chicken expert but said they might actually kill each other.
     

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