Help. I tried posting this on the GLW thread, but got no response.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MamaDoolittle, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2015
    West Michigan
    So I have a 27 week old GLW. She is one of 4 pullets I have. She shows some signs of be ready to lay (red comb and big red wattles, also squats when startled). My problem is she has startled to become aggressive to my 2 younger pullets. They are 7 weeks younger and this is new. She is pulling out their tail feathers. I like in a semi-rural suburb and really don't have room to separate her. I'm wondering if she might calm down once she starts laying. Could she just be hormonal, or should I think about rehoming her. I would really prefer not to, but I can't have her endangering my other two.
     
  2. MarcyR1011

    MarcyR1011 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2015
    Hemlock Michigan
    How long has this been happening? When I combined 5 month old pullets with 15 week old pullets the older ones picked on the younger ones for a couple of days. Once they established the pecking order things were fine.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Just before some hens start laying they do become vocal, bossy and moody, she is experiencing something similar to PMS, they almost always calm down after they start laying, so give her some time, also as they all reach point of lay they will no longer get along as well as they used to, so make sure you have enough room to get away from each other. Chicks who liked snuggling with their siblings will want some space after maturity.
     
  4. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2015
    West Michigan
    Thank you so much for the reply! I was thinking/hoping that she might be PMSing chicken style. The younger 2 have always given her a wide berth, but she always let them eat beside her before. They do have room to escape, it's just she was sneaking up on them. Usually waiting until they were watching what I was doing. Poor things were hoping for a treat and got a tail pull instead. I'll just keep a lookout and hope she settles down.
     
  5. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2015
    West Michigan
    It has only been in the last week or so. They have been together since late August, so pecking order was well established. That is way I was concerned.
     
  6. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2015
    West Michigan
    Now Agnes has pulled all of the feathers off the bottom of her closest pal, my BA. My BA is the only one who is laying and this breaks my heart. I could use some guidance on what to do. I have them separated at this point, but I just don't have the set up to keep it up.
     
  7. MarcyR1011

    MarcyR1011 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2015
    Hemlock Michigan
    I agree... I think the best thing to do is to keep them separated for a week or so. Then try adding her back to the rest and see if it helps. Good luck!
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    Feather picking can be caused by not enough protein in the diet. I think this might be what's going on, it's best to keep young birds under a year on a non medicated grower or an all flock with 18-24 % protein, layer only has 16% which is fine for adults but younger birds are still growing as well as laying so the need extra protein, and if you feed anything else besides a ration than you dilute the protein if it isn't a high protein treat.
     
  9. MamaDoolittle

    MamaDoolittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2015
    West Michigan
    They are on grower because only one is laying. I did supplement with some scrambled egg as I had read that. Any idea how long it will take to remedy if it is a lack of protein? I have also hung a head of cabbage in 2 different places in the run to help with winter boredom.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    That's good they are on grower, cottage cheese is a good protein source, and you could try a flock block or suet for boredom. A lot of hens get a bit bossy during the 6-12 months age. Whether she stops or not can depend on whether it's become a behavior as opposed to a need for more protein, that's harder to stop, if it doesn't, you may have some hard decisions to make, Wyandotte don't do well in a confined set up so she may never get better. It is certainly unfair to the rest of the flock.

    I would keep her confined for a week or so than let her out and see if her place in the pecking order has changed enough for her to think otherwise about feather picking.
     

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