Help! A Big Mean Chicken

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hb, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. hb

    hb In the Brooder

    Dec 19, 2007
    SF Bay Area, California
    I have a Cuckoo Maran (Betty) and a White Crested Polish(Polly Peeps) who were hatched and raised together. They were best friends, always snuggled together, and would have a fit if they were separated even for a minute. Now that's all changed for the worst and it's so heart breaking.

    Betty just started laying her eggs (4 total) and wants nothing to do with poor Polly who's a real sweetie. When they're out free ranging, Betty growls if Polly gets too close to her and will attack her head and rip a few feathers out (doesn't eat them) and Polly squeals in pain.

    Betty also thinks that she doesn't have to share the hen house and will chase Polly out if she goes up into the coop. Polly hasn't layed an egg since Betty started laying, probably because Betty won't let her go into the nest box. Betty only used the nest box once and then made her own nest in the corner.

    She won't allow Polly to roost next to her anymore at night so I had to build a separate roost for Polly to sleep on.

    I'm wondering if maybe Betty thinks that Polly has something to do with her missing eggs. The last couple of days Betty has been throwing the bedding out the chicken door like she's looking for her eggs.

    I hear that Marans are broody and make great mothers, could this be cause for her behavior? Will she ever go back to being the nice, friendly chicken I once had?

    I've smeared anti-peck goop and have sprayed vinegar/water mix on Polly's head, but it doesn't stop the aggression.

    I can see that Polly is confused and hurt by Betty's behavior.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm hoping someone can help me. These are my first chickens, and I just love them. I don't want to have give one of them up.

    Thanks, Heidi
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Sometimes that just happens when they start to lay eggs. On their way to hendom, they go hormonal. I doubt the meanie thinks the eggs are being stolen but if you want, you can try replacing the eggs with golf balls to "trick" her. I never did well with polish because they could not see and would just get pecked bald because they couldn't see the warnings from others before it was too late. Can Polly see? Maybe a haircut may help curb the pecking problem so she doesn't accidentally get in the way of Betty thus resulting in Betty thinking Polly is being rude and not paying attention to her signals. Hope the two can figure it out. Girls usually take a month or two to settle into egg laying and their new found hormones.
  3. hb

    hb In the Brooder

    Dec 19, 2007
    SF Bay Area, California
    Thanks so much for the tips. I think you're right about Polly needing a haircut. Can you tell me how to do that so I don't hurt her feathers?
  4. johnnyjack

    johnnyjack Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    sounds like the girls need a rooster to keep them in line. roo keeps my hens straight.breaks up the fuss.
    i have seen polish with rubberbands in thier poofs so they could see.just a thought . [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    As long as the feather shafts are not still pin featheres, which they shouldn't be at this age, just take scissors and cut them like hair. Start near the ends of the feathers and cut closer and closer to the head till it is clear she can see, or untill you get too close to pin feathers.
  6. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Songster

    Jan 1, 2008
    I was talking to a vet about behavior, what to do when they get rowdy. He told met hat we have to act like the leader as you would with a dog. Stand near them and firmly tell them to stop. Just like a disobedient child or dog. They look up to you just like other pets do. I had a problem with mine getting nasty and I did that and it did work. Try it, it couldn't hurt.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  7. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Yep I had to give my girls a haircut and WOW what a difference it made...It was like a Miracle to them as they could see around them and they had a Great time after that...also it helped protect them from predators as they could see...just wish I had done it sooner as I lost 1 before I did it. Good Luck
  8. hb

    hb In the Brooder

    Dec 19, 2007
    SF Bay Area, California
    I truly appreciate all of the great advice I've been getting.

    I'm working up my courage to give Polly a haircut. It reminds me of cutting my baby's fingernails for the first time.

    Interesting about the behavior modification...It's been my natural reaction to say, "Stop!" or "NO! Betty!" when she attacks Polly when they're roaming around the yard (I don't let them free range without supervision - too many hawks) but I'm not always in the coop breaking up the scraps, so I don't know how effective I'm being.

    My DH wondered if Betty would respond to a quick squirt of water from a spray bottle when caught in the act. Kind of like what some people do to get their dogs/cats to quit a bad habit. Has anyone ever tried that? I don't want to really start blasting her with water unless it's recommended.

    Thanks again!
  9. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010

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