Good news, bad news, need some advice. - Small Update.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by meathook, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2009
    I have 5 red stars and 1 EE. They will be 20 weeks tomorrow. We started getting eggs at just over 17 weeks and today we got 4 for 6. Had a lot of soft shells at first there is oyster shell in the feed but I added some free choice as well and that seems to have worked itself out.

    So here is the issue: Yesterday I went out to the coop and noticed blood in the nest box. At first I thought it was just from egg laying. I checked out the chickens and one of them had a bloody comb. I cleaned it up and noticed the EE was picking on the red star with the bloody comb. The red star wouldn't go back in the coop and subsequently laid an egg in the run. Fast forward to today. I get home and hear a hen squawking in the coop the same red star is in the nest box and the EE is just outside harassing her. So we sat there and shooed the EE away for awhile but then the EE chased the red star into the run and pecked her hard on the head and just after that she dropped her egg in the run.

    Any ideas on what to do. Do I just let them work it out? Are there ways to modify the nest boxes? I don't want eggs in the run and I don't want bloody chickens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  2. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Some hens will ruthlessly fight over the nest...regardless how many nests are available. I, too, have had bloody combs. But, if the harrassment continues beyond the nest (which seems to be the case in your description), then you may need to disrupts the pecking order. If it keeps up, take the EE away from the flock. At our place, we keep them in a large dog crate in our house for a few days. Once the offender is in "jail" for a few days (or even a week), her position in the pecking order is lost. Reintroduce her (usually at night is the best, so that they wake up together) and she will have to reestablish herself. This should help (though some birds are just bossy and act nasty to each other at times).
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Agreed, when your dealing with a single nasty hen a stint in chicken jail will usually resolve the problem.
     
  4. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2009
    The funny thing is the EE seems to get picked at by several of the other chickens. They pick at the muff on her face. I thought she was going to be at the bottom of the order.


    Is it possible to have a complex pecking order or is it generally top to bottom?


    I will keep chicken jail in mind. The EE to my knowledge isn't laying yet. She could be if she is a brown egg layer but I suspect she isn't one of the early layers so not sure why she is so protective over the nest boxes. I am going to make one adjustment to the next boxes tomorrow. Because of the way the door and walls are set up they can walk from one box to the other from the back. That will force any chicken to make a frontal assault instead of sneaking in from behind and chasing them out of the box. I only have two boxes and they all lay in the one on the right.
     
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    And treat the comb with Blu-Kote, so the other hens won't see the blood and start pecking.
     
  6. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2009
    Don't have any blu-kote I will have to get some. It cleaned up good there was no mark of visible blood. I think I am going to try the chicken jail thing I went out to put them in and close the coop and was watching them for a bit and the EE slammed the poor girl in the head again always goes for the comb and not the light little pecks the other birds do to her. The other bird flew up on the roost she had had enough.
     
  7. arherp

    arherp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kentucky
    I would add an extra nest box or two, maybe one on the other end of the coop?
    Also, I would put the aggresor in a small cage for a few days and let the red establish territory in the coop.
     
  8. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2009
    Well quite a day today. I put the EE hen in chicken jail last night. All seems well in the coop the birds seem much more relaxed with the EE out of the picture for awhile. We only got two eggs today so far but they were both double yolkers. [​IMG] The two on the left were today's eggs the little brown one is from the hen that got pecked in the head yesterday and dropped her egg in the run and then a store bought large egg.

    [​IMG]


    Perhaps this is the reason the EE was getting so ornery the last two days.
    [​IMG]

    My daughter went down to the garage to check on her and found a little green egg in the cage. Her first. She is 20 weeks today. The picture is a store bought large egg, the EE egg and one of our double yolkers from this morning. I think I will give her one more day of isolation and try to reintroduce her tomorrow night after they are on the roost for awhile.

    I am going to make a few modifications to the nest box tomorrow.
     
  9. SmartyChick

    SmartyChick An Official Milkmaid

    Oct 19, 2009
    Sullivan County NY
    We had a nasty hen too. We tried solitary confinement, but we eventually had get rid of her (gave her to our neighbor who likes chicken:(). The whole flock was healthier and happier.
     
  10. meathook

    meathook Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2009
    Getting rid of her isn't really an option unless ALL other options have been exhausted. She is my daughters chicken. I would have gotten 6 red stars and been happy but she had to have an EE. I will if that is what I eventually have to do but hoping she will learn her lesson.
     

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