HELP!!!! Hen pecking her chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by simpsoncj, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, two situations in just one day! That hen I asked about the crowing earlier started seriously pecking at two of the chicks this morning and by serious I mean she drew blood on one of their heads! She keeps doing it! Can anyone tell me what is going on???? She is definitely a hen. She is some kind of OEGB mix I believe. She hatched these chicks on Dec 9th 2009 and has been raising them since. I have never witnessed this behaviour before and they live in my dining room so I am with them every day.
     
  2. Quillgirl

    Quillgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some hens are just bad mothers, like some humans... you are going to have to remove the chicks from her and raise them as if you'd received them in the mail. She is not trustworthy so put the babies in a brooder, heat lamp, etc. Put some blue goo on the one with sore head so the other chicks don't decide to peck it even more raw.

    good luck!
     
  3. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with Quillgirl, but I was thinking that maybe she is trying to ween them too early. They do reach a point where they don`t want anything to do with their chicks any longer and maybe she has reached her point. May not be that she`s a bad mom, just fed up as they all get, some early and some later. Just a thought........Pop
     
  4. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I was thinking about that also Pop. She has been a very good mother up until this morning! I did notice the food bowl was low, not empty just lower than I've ever let it be and I was wondering if she was trying to keep one or two away from the food so there would be enough? I fill the bowl all the time but my mother is in hospital and I came home late last night. The other thing is I have them in my dining room in a pen that is 3ft by 3ft attached to a large cage that is 3ft by 2 ft. So I was wondering if space was becoming a problem? I let them outside everyday either for long periods or several times a day. They are only 5 weeks old so if I have to give up Fiona (mother) how warm should I keep them at this stage? Thanks to both of you for responding, I really appreciate it!
    CJ
     
  5. Quillgirl

    Quillgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, they are old enough to need no heat so long as you keep them inside--- i thought they were much younger. Yes, space may be the big problem at this point or a squabble over food. Just keep an eye on them. Once blood is drawn, you could suddenly end up with a flock of little cannibals if you aren't vigilant. Nip that possibility in the bud!

    At 5 weeks, they probably now need close to the adult bird amount of space for roosting and running around. Depending on the breed, they may begin to resent the confinement if they are too close together and will peck more. You may need to separate most of them from the hen, or leave the hen with one or two that she gets along with, and put the others in another pen together. (None will prefer to be alone.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  6. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    You certainly have to be on guard for cannibalism. I believe, at this point, if the hen is rowdy with the chicks, I would put her back with the cock and see how she likes that (she won`t, heh, heh, but if she doesn`t want to be a mom, she needs to get back with the program). I would still provide heat for the chicks with a hanging lamp, to see how they react to it. If they stay away from it, no prob, just remove it, but they may still appriciate a little warmth at 5 weeks.......Pop
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You can't predict when a hen will begin rejecting her chicks. One of my blue Orps tried to kill hers at three weeks old. The second batch she raised, I had to rescue when they were five weeks old and she began chasing them around the strawberry patch, trying to kill them. I grabbed her up, threw a saddle on her and tossed her in with her rooster again. Put the poor traumatized babies back in the broody pen.
     
  8. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all so much for your responses! I separated Fiona from the chicks. They were not happy and my husband said they had a hard time settling down for the night, but Fiona was all nestled in no problem. I had them outside all day today and watched them interact. Fiona consistently left the chicks in one spot and went off about her business as if they didn't exist. Until they forced themselves on her, then she got angry and pecked at them. In particular the one she had already drew blood on. So I guess she is rejecting them. I acquired Fiona along with 8 fertile eggs and she hatched them with five chicks being the final outcome. 2 were liquid and one just didn't get hatched before she got up to take care of the first 5. Since I don't even have the coop up yet, I will have to see if my friend can take Fiona back or find another home for her. I will continue to keep the chicks in my dining room for now. Hopefully Golda, the one with the bloody head, will be alright. We are putting antibiotic cream on it and we will continue to watch to make sure the other chicks don't start pecking at her.This whole thing happened so fast, in a matter of moments really, it is still really shocking to me. I really love Fiona and am not happy at losing her. She is super sweet with all of us and has never shown any kind of meanness. I will miss her.
    Again, thanks for all your help.
    CJ
     
  9. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Maybe someone can keep her short-term for you until you have your coop done.
     
  10. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, Kkatnap, that is exactly what I am hoping! Well, they are currently separated and the chick looks very good and they all seem happy this morning. Last night my husband took care of them and got them settled for the night and he said it was hard for the chicks but Fiona was not disturbed at all. They are all perched on their roost this morning and Fiona is crowing away. [​IMG] It really is too funny to hear. She has been crowing for a couple of weeks now. I posted it in another thread to see if anyone knew why? I thought maybe she was doing it because there's a roo in the chicks and she's trying to show him how. Some people said they have dominant hens who crow when there is no rooster around and I am thinking that is probably the case with Fiona.
    Thanks again for all your help. I feel like I made it through my first crises thanks to BYC!!!
    CJ
     

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