HELP! Flock attacking hen after hatching eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Scifisarah, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2009
    Rockford MI
    My Coop
    I have about a dozen bantam cochin"pet" chickens, hens and one rooster. I had one of the hens sitting on a nest of call duck eggs for me and just returned her to the chicken run. The other chickens beat her ruthlessly until her head is bleeding and both her eyes swell up so she can't see to defend herself anymore. I know there is going to be some trouble, but she seemed half dead the last time I took her out. I returned another hen to the run after sitting on eggs without so much fuss, but this one they seem intent on killing. She was always mid-high pecking order before she sat on the duck eggs, and was one of the nicer looking hens since she wasn't missing any head feathers from getting pecked by the other chickens. She is also at least half the wait of the other chickens since she didn't eat very well while sitting on the eggs so she has trouble fighting back although she tries when she can still see. I do have two Ameracauna hens as well, and they really lay the smack on her since they are so huge. [​IMG] It is them and about 3 of the other hens and the rooster that are doing the worst damage and really stalk and chase her constantly, but everyone gets a peck in when they can.

    Does anyone have advice on how to make this transition go more smoothly? I already put her in a pen right next to the run so they could see her for about a week and get used to her being "around". I also returned her in the evening this time so she could roost with them at night instead of getting beat right away but they are at it again this morning like they did a week ago. Please help!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  2. bigstack

    bigstack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    I am sooooo Sorry! [​IMG] I would just leave her in the close up pen a lil longer, maybe add 1 of the calmer/nicer hens in with her and see how it goes. Maybe by slowly introducing her in 1 by 1 will help. I wish I had a better answer. Maybe some one with more experience will be here soon!

    Good luck and God Bless!
     
  3. caralouise1974

    caralouise1974 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm worried about this situation too, so I can only sympathise and hope that someone comes up with an answer for you. I have a broody who was bottom of the pecking order and now has two week old chicks. I am DREADING trying to re-introduce her to the other girls once she's finished raising the chicks (not to mention how the chicks themselves might get treated!).

    Hope someone's got some bright ideas...
     
  4. abooth

    abooth Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am in the same boat. My broody is sitting now and due to hatch this week. She was at the bottom of the pecking order. I will probably just build a coop for her and her chicks to stay in forever.
     
  5. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She seems to be doing alright today. They pecked her head up again and she got a little bloody, but not nearly as bad as a couple weeks ago when she could not even see. As long as she stays in the area of the run away from the other chickens they are leaving her alone. If we had a smaller run or she was in a tractor, I don't think things would be going as well.

    The funny thing is her change in behavior towards me. When I first took her out to sit on the eggs, she was as distasteful of me as the other chickens, came when I had food but otherwise wanted nothing to do with me. Now when she sees me she runs to greet me and even ran, flapping up the side of the fence about 6 feet before flopping down. If we didn't have netting over the top, she would have climbed the 6 foot fence and jumped over to get to me! A couple times when she was getting picked on bad I stepped in and gave the other attacking hens a good "shove" through the air until they left her alone so I guess she sees me as her protector now.
     
  6. caralouise1974

    caralouise1974 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have always found that to be the case with hens that are getting picked on - they're more than happy to leap into your arms because they know you will protect them. Once they start to move up the pecking order they get more distant again.

    They're so fickle!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rockford MI
    My Coop
    One tip I did want to share with others that might have a chicken in this situation is to give them various obstacles in the chicken run to escape to. For instance, We have a big square sandbox we use for a duck pool, and she will run and get on the other side of it to escape whatever chicken is bothering her. If we didn't have that in there, I imagine she would get pinned in a corner somewhere and get pecked a lot more. I remember doing the same thing with a kitchen table etc. when playing tag as a kid.
     
  8. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scappoose Oregon
    I always set up the old obstacle course when reintroducing a hen. At the same time I make sure theire enough stuff she can't get cornered anywhere.

    Currently I have a broody with chicks in a brooder. She used to be the worst screamer refusing to come within 20 ft of me. now after less than a week of getting treats and dealing with us close up she purrs when she thinks we're bringing her snack. She still pecks the crap out of me if I get to close to a chick, but that's just being a good mommy.
     

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