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Handicapped bird getting picked on

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wild Prime, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Wild Prime

    Wild Prime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 4, 2011
    Idaho
    I have 14 birds that are all about 3 years old, they all grew up together.I bought them when they were 2 years old. One of the hens is a Buff Orpington with a bum leg, because her previous owner stepped on her when she was a chick. The leg healed crooked. She can walk but slowly, and only runs when she gets really excited. Because of her bum leg she is the bottom of the pecking order, but that has not been an issue until now.

    The weather just turned cold, getting below 40 degrees at night and I noticed she was a bit droopy looking (she is also molting). She did this last year as well and recovered after a couple of weeks. Made sure to give her fresh greens and fruit, and electrolytes to help give her some energy. Noticed the other day that almost all the hens and one of my 2 roosters is picking on her. They just give her a tap on the head, she flips out and runs away and isolates herself. However, in the morning and evenings she gets along just great, roosting with them and pecking around in the yard. In the afternoon she typically sits down because it is hard for her to walk, so she spends most of her time resting. Now she can't rest because the other birds come after her. The funny thing is, the top hen doesn't bother her, the lackeys further down start it, and then the rooster (he is a Banty). I feel that she is more terrified of the rooster than the hens. They don't pull her feathers out or draw blood, just a light tap on the head. Her comb is still red and she still clucks at me when I come in like she usually does.

    Isolating the ring leaders isn't an option because I have no where to put them where they can stay warm at night (if this was during the summer I would be able to.) Ive tried picking her up and pretending to shove her at the others while holding her to help convey the message to back off, and that worked for a day or two. I was going to try locking the trouble makers in the run, and keep her inside the coop where the food and water is and let the bullies come in at night. But the weathers been so horrible I havent gotten to it. Do you think this strategy could work? She is my fave hen and I don't want to get rid of her (none of my neighbors will take her bcause she doesn't lay.)
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    If she were mine, I would wire her off a small section of the coop and give her her own food and water. They'll likely keep on picking at her, and she's extremely disadvantaged since she can't even get away. Good luck!
     
  3. Wild Prime

    Wild Prime Chillin' With My Peeps

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    0
    97
    Nov 4, 2011
    Idaho
    I wouldn't be able to wire off a section because she wouldn't be able to get back into the coop during the day, there's only one door.

    Today since the weather was nicer I locked the naughty ones outside and kept her in the coop to eat and drink without being bothered. I noticed she has a hard time eating, I think her beak is too long because, unlike a normal hen, she doesn't spend a lot of time pecking around in the dirt. I think it's making it hard for her to eat. Should I trim it? And what do I use to trim? I have nail clippers for my parrot
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    Instead of trimming, you can just place a rock or cinder block inside. She should use it for beak maintenance. If you must do it yourself, a nail file, dremmel tool or clippers will work, just don't file, dremmel or clip too short.

    Can you not make her a separate space inside the coop, is it too small or something? A rabbit cage or small dog crate would work. You could bring her out for supervised play time so you know she isn't picked on. Good luck, I'm not really sure what to recommend. I know somewhere on BYC there's a thread for special needs chickens, it may give you some ideas :) Try typing special needs into the search var and see what it turns up!
     

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