Shadrach

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Yes he's been cuddled and pampered and petted since before Holly decided she was done with them so I can see him thinking of me as a 2nd mother. It also was apparently not a 1 time thing either, he tried it again this evening when I reached down to pick him up to place him on the roost. Hopefully, if I keep jerking my hand away he'll get the message and stop. We had the farrier out to shoe the horses this afternoon so I was outside for a solid 3 hours and half the time he spent beside me or in my lap. I kept watching him and waiting for him to try it again but he didn't. So when it was roosting time I relaxed my guard a little and once again I was caught by surprise. I'll be ready tomorrow night and will pick him up a little different so maybe he wont try it. As long as this is not a sign of future people aggression as embarrassing as it may be I'll work around it and hopefully he stops.

Wait, if I read this correctly your saying instead of jerking my hand away I need to let him finish? If so that is just lovely. Why my hand branch instead of a perfectly good filthy barn boot. I knew it wasn't really a dance but it looks like it and it's what everyone around me calls it. If one of my young boys try it I just walk through them and make them back up. After a time or two they give up on me and redirect their attention to the hens. I had 1 boy who liked to flare his hackles at me, but did not flog or bite until Butter got injured. She was his favorite hen and after her stay in the house when I moved her back outside and would let her out to exercise he came running to try and breed her. She was too unsteady on her feet so I gently pushed him back on the chest. He circled around and tried it again. I again pushed him back and he crossed the line and flogged. He had a new home with full disclosure in under a week.
There are quite a few people on BYC who seem delighted that when they go to run their hand down a hens back the hen squats for them. As this behaviour gets reinforced by repeatedly doing this it may get to the point when that hen squats for their keeper when the keeper gets within a certain distance of the hen. That hen, the one that squats, thinks she’s having sex with the keeper. Often this makes a female keeper the rooster in the hens eyes. I don’t read many complaints regarding this type of female chicken behaviour.

I find it immensely frustrating that when it comes to the males, cockerel and roosters all that tolerance and delight disappears. After all, it is the keeper that has encouraged the behaviours in both sexes of chicken. There is a word that crops up over and over again on BYC. It seems that some people are completely obsessed by the concept. The word is dominance. But, it seems fine if a keeper is dominating a hen by encouraging the hen to squat for them.

A further problem is male chickens ime at least, are much friendlier than female hens when they are young. The keeper naturally likes the cuddles and the giving of treats and encourages the cockerel to believe that the keeper is part of the chicken hierarchy. While the cockerel is young sex isn’t an issue but when they mature, there are essentially three types of being in their world, hens that need to be courted, herded and mated and other males that need to be fought and kept away from that cockerel/roosters hens. Then there are the unrelated/undefined like the house dog, other creatures etc.

All creatures, at least those that haven’t been interfered with to the extent that they are essentially toys for humans will defend their young, attempt to mate with others in their group/tribe/flock and show aggressive behaviour to any threat they perceive. It’s no good people banging on about how they are the one that feeds and houses and cares for the creatures in question; very roughly you are either a group member or you are not. As with any group there are expected behaviours for group members.

For a male chicken any females in the group are his females. It really doesn’t seem to matter whether they are chickens or not.

It would of course help if people who decided to get chickens because they are so cuddly and learn’t a great deal more about the chicken and how they behave before they go and get chickens.

A video of some chickens ripping a mouse to shreds, or one of a couple of hens or roosters fighting, might help remind people that chickens are not really the cuddly fluff balls some people take them for. This way, when their true nature becomes apparent there would be less shock and horror when some of the less pleasant or difficult behaviours manifest themselves.

In the simplest terms; If you don’t want a rooster to try and mate with you then don’t lead him on.

If you don’t want him to attack you then don’t pick up his hens. He thinks and so do they, that you are mating them.

Don’t carry out any behaviour that might suggest to a rooster that you are trying to lure his hens away from him.

Finally and seemingly most difficult for humans, accept that these are intelligent creatures that do what they do for a reason and not because they are genetically bad or good.

In my years of chicken care I’ve been flogged, pecked, scratched, charged at, stroked, groomed, the list goes on. If some young cockerel sees me as it’s mum and later as one of his hens, then I am responsible for him believing this and I have to learn how to deal with it, as I am for the vast majority of the chicken behaviour towards me from both sexes.
 

Shadrach

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This cat appears to be attacking half-heartedly imo. Looked like an unneutered male cat looking for a fight, not for a meal, and a play-fight at that, i.e., looking to dominate, not even seriously wound. In my opinion he wasn't hungry, didn't need or want to kill and eat. He could have delivered a kill bite in each attack, well-positioned in all of them for that. It was more an ill-tempered wrestling match for the cat, and a territorial defense by the hens, as in my opinion the chickens have experienced this before, or they would have run and made much more noise, esp after that first attack, the released hen just walks away, and the second hen who gets jumped from behind was cautiously walking and not panicked either. All probably very entertaining to the people there. Sad.
I agree, sad.
 

Shadrach

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Awww, Lima. ❤️ If anyone can help her, you can. Do you have a blender? You could put some meat through it, or try some meat baby food. Buttermilk (or yogurt or kefir) can have good calories, too, for mixing into mash. I know dairy isn’t great, but the fermented ones seem to be ok. What about an unsalted nut or seed butter? And spiking mash with just a little coconut oil and honey for more calories?
All of the above could help. Sure I've got a blender, it's a strange old make called a hammer. I've got one of those old whisks too; it's called a fork.:D
My problem isn't really ideas of what to feed her, it's more of ahow and when problem. If I even look like I may have food I'm mobbed. Lima tends to hang back a bit.
 

Shadrach

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Belle update.
She’s breaking my heart! Put her on a roost last night, got her out of the nest box this morning and shut off the coop.
Just had to open it for Snow to lay and then of course…
View attachment 2867191
🥰

My poor baby girl, I feel so dreadful. I’ve left her in there until Snow is finished then I’ll collect the egg and get her out again.
She sat up on my shoulder for a bit prior to this when I squatted in the run to chat, I told her I’m sorry but she just can’t be a mumma right now 🥺
I hated preventingbroody hens from doing what they should. I was lucky in that I did let every hen that wanted to sit and hatch do it at least once. There were very few exceptions.
The problem is, coping with all the demands on resources that another batch of chicks make. Predation helped but even then housing became an issue.
 

Shadrach

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Well everyone jump on me if this is wrong, but is it possible to end her broodiness early by trying to keep or get her belly cool? So taking her out won't help unless she can't sit and make her belly warm anywhere else? This is why people let them sit but on a towel-covered ice pack, or ice cubes. Or take them for a daily (or 2x daily) cool belly soak in a tub. Or (I like this least) put them in a small cage with a little roost and no nest material, preferably placed with everyone out during the day, in the coop at night?
Or why not let her sit, as long as she takes care of herself and eats, poops and bathes every other day or so? Please everyone explain to me what you do, thanks!
I have done the following and bar a very few exceptions it has worked. It may not be possible for some because of verious factors.
I let the hen sit for three or four days. I do this to make sure she switches off her egg laying cycle.
I take her off her nest and take the eggs, but I break one in the nest and mess the nest up.
Most hens go back to the nest and some will sit in or close by for maybe a day then give up.
Next level is to completely destroy the nest and if it's in a coop, prevent them from returning to the nest by blocking it off.
Rare, but I've had to do it with a couple of hens, move the hen in with me for a few days and keep them on the floor. My floors were concrete.

My view; don't bath them or get them to sit on ice or many of the other things people suggest. I found that if it looks as if a predator has discovered the nest then they are less relluctant to abandon it.
 

Shadrach

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@BY Bob.
What I would do now is make sure everyone has access to both coops and let them sort it out. I think your hands off approach regarding living arrangements, chicken politics etc has been the right one. Fact is, it all went South when you decided to get Phyllis and everything since then has been part of trying to sort the original problem out.
Let them be. Pick up the pieces when they've sorted it out themselves. Provide food annd shelter, mop up the blood, comfort the distressed and cross your fingers.
 

RoyalChick

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@BY Bob.
What I would do now is make sure everyone has access to both coops and let them sort it out. I think your hands off approach regarding living arrangements, chicken politics etc has been the right one. Fact is, it all went South when you decided to get Phyllis and everything since then has been part of trying to sort the original problem out.
Let them be. Pick up the pieces when they've sorted it out themselves. Provide food annd shelter, mop up the blood, comfort the distressed and cross your fingers.
I dunno Shad. You can’t interfere and then stop at some random point and ask them to sort it out.
Like it or not there is a goal here related to Phyllis.
Sorting it out for themselves could well mean Phyllis is bullied in both houses. If that were fine then so be it. But I don’t think that is fine for Bob or Mrs BY Bob.
This is a man-made situation so I think Bob has an obligation to try and solve it which he is trying to do by enabling the formation of a Polish Tribe. I suspect that will require some interference if only to keep Phyllis from the non-Polish tribe.
 

rural mouse

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Rare, but I've had to do it with a couple of hens, move the hen in with me for a few days and keep them on the floor. My floors were concrete.

My view; don't bath them or get them to sit on ice or many of the other things people suggest. I found that if it looks as if a predator has discovered the nest then they are less relluctant to abandon it.
Concrete floor if necessary. predator found it:bow
Makes perfect sense!!! If a predator found it once, they'll come back and check the spot again.🛎🛎🛎🛎🛎 I won't forget this tip!
 

BY Bob

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I have been outwitted by a chicken.
The plan last night was to grab a sample of Minnie’s diarrhea by placing a piece of cardboard where she roosts.
This morning I head out with my baggie to collect and drive to the vet.
She left nothing but a feather!
She must have moved in the night but I didn’t catch that on camera and nor can I work out where she moved to.
I will try again tonight.
She does still have diarrhea but maybe a bit less bad. Her comb doesn’t seem that much paler than Dotty’s - here they both are - first Minnie then Dotty. Do you agree?
She ate Kefir, rice and beef liver and she looks bright eyed to me. In the last two photos her tail is down but she is alert and she then went to bathe and her tail went back up.
I am still worried so if any of you spot anything in the photos or have suggestions let me know!
View attachment 2866999 View attachment 2867000 View attachment 2867001 View attachment 2867002 View attachment 2867003
She is looking pretty healthy in these photographs. Her comb does not seem abnormally pale for a molting hen.

I do find her a very attractive hen.
 

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