Have you ever had a chicken you just couldn't stand?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BigDaddy'sGurl, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I know it sounds bad, but hear me out:

    My BR hen, Pauline, lays JUMBO eggs and is a real character. But, she is getting on in age. We love her dearly and we wanted to incubate a couple of her eggs and see what came of it. So, at the time that we were planning this (late April 2011) we had a male BO and thought it would be a great opportunity to breed them and hatch a sex-linked baby or two so we could keep the girl, were we to get one. Fast forward to the first week of May 2011 and our hopes were fulfilled when we hatched two little ones... a boy and a girl. We gave the boy to a friend and kept little "Cleo" to raise and one day replace Pauline. As luck had it, we had a hen go broody shortly before Cleo hatched, so she was raised by that hen and all was well.

    Fast forward about 6 months and it has become apparent that Cleo is a headache, to say the least. Her mother, Pauline, is the most dominant hen in the whole flock. Rules the roost, as it were. Cleo, on the other hand, is the absolute complete LOWEST on the pecking order. She is the largest bird I own, period. HUGE. But she is wildly terrified of any and all other birds, save some new-hatched chicks living in a brooder near the coops. She will GALLOP (not kidding, imagine a hen stampeding wildly) away from all the other birds if they even step near her, and give a distressed "I'm being murdered!!!" honk/cry the entire time. She will throw herself against the fence, against the waterer, against the nest boxes, the feeders, knocking all over just to run away from her imagined attackers. Even when they are not intentionally approaching her. She is so high strung that she spends the vast majority of her time hiding and pacing, and I worry daily that she will have a heart attack. She is late developing, probably due to stress, and hasn't layed yet and doesn't really look like she's getting close to it based on her lack of comb/wattle development. She's probably outweighing her mom now by at least 2 pounds, and her dad by at least one and she is only 6 months old! Honestly though, it pains me to see her so stressed! She is the epitomy of paranoid!!! She is also every bit as terrified of me, if not more so, than she is the other chickens. It breaks my heart! [​IMG] Where all my girls are running under my feet and eating from my hand, Cleo is bashing herself senseless against the coop door to escape me when I am not even glancing her way...

    I have tried the following: separation/isolation wherein I gave her treats by hand. She would rather starve and bruise herself trying to get away. Putting her with younger, less dominant birds... she still beat herself nearly bloody trying to escape. Having her tough it out in the big coop: she loses weight and sleeps in the nest box or hides/paces all day until I have to get everyone else out just to let her eat and drink.

    Keep in mind, she has NEVER been attacked or pecked to the point of missing feathers OR bleeding. Most of her panic is just her paranoia of what another hen's intentions are, but of course when the other hens see her getting so upset they eventually get sick of it and do go after her but I think it's more of a "shut up already!!!" reaction...

    I am almost giving up hope here. I have raised her to nearly point of laying and hate to sell her, but I can't mentally take this much more!!! [​IMG]

  2. I hate to say this, but she would be dinner.....

    I don't know chicken psychology, but I would be tempted to hold her and pet her for a few hours each day.

    Wait, a minute..... what am I saying? She would be dinner. No layee no eatee except I eatee YOU!
  3. acy0029

    acy0029 Songster

    Apr 9, 2011
    I would wait till she does start laying it seems to calm flighty hens down a bit...at least it did for me. [​IMG]
  4. Cackling Hen

    Cackling Hen Just Scratching Around

    Apr 21, 2009
    Port Angeles Wa
    Ha I have one girl like that she is the most weirdest chicken [​IMG] I have ever owned. I would feel bad giving her to someone. your post explains my girl perfect. I dont know what to do
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    With two such friendly breeds it seems so odd that she is scared of everything!

    Maybe when she starts laying it will change..
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011

  6. Are you sure my Speckled Sussex isn't teleporting to your house? That's exactly how she behaves! She was also raised by a broody hen, along with four other chicks. She gets along fine with her sisters, all of whom are normal, but she runs screaming from humans and has since the day she arrived.

    Are there chicken psychologists?
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    When my pullets started laying it change everyone personality. Not nearly as spooky as they were and less afraid of every movement I make. Like has been said, wait till she starts laying as see.
  8. eggscetera

    eggscetera In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2011
    Palmer, Alaska
    I had a Delaware that was driving me nuts- she flew the coop a lot and was into digging up my flowers. She lay rather small eggs to boot. A friend wanted to try raising chickens so I gave her the Delaware and a noisy BR that was also driving me nuts. We have a much happier chicken yard now and these two found a great home.
  9. workinnanie

    workinnanie Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    I hope for your sake (and hers) that she will settle down when she starts laying. You have a lot invested there so I would wait it out.

  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I put up with all kinds of wacko chicken behaviors over the years, and I overlook most of them. Some are dumber than a box of rocks. Others are whacko and paranoid. I can deal with it.

    What I do NOT like is the over the top, dominant mean, I mean wicked mean hen. That is too much for me, I admit.

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