HELP! My hen is going insane! HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Danceswithchicks, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Danceswithchicks

    Danceswithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have two hens that do not get along at all! Gwendolyn, a larger, more bossy hen has been attacking the smaller hen, Chick. Chick has marks on her face where Gwen has poked her, but the strangest thing is her behavior. Chick has been sitting on the roosts inside when the other chickens free-range. If I open the door to see where she is, she crouches really low and gives me a please-don't-hurt-me look. When she does come out, she crouches, and barely eats. If she does try to eat Gwen will bite at her and lift her neck feathers aggressivly. This has been going on for a few weeks. I'm not sure if this is the reason, but a few months ago Gwen went broody. Even though she had her own nesting box, Chick would sit on Gwen's head and shove her freshly laid eggs underneath Gwen to have her take care of them! These girls turned one in August. Help!
     
  2. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think Chick may be injured. If not she is certainly in danger of it.

    There is almost no aggression in my flock between hens. Perhaps that is because I have roosters too. But I have some structures in their area where a hen can escape being chased by a rooster. Maybe you can put a pallet up on some blocks just high enough for Chick to duck under and too low for Gwen.

    Good luck with her. [​IMG]
     
  3. Chooksaurus

    Chooksaurus Chillin' With My Peeps

    120
    0
    109
    Aug 8, 2009
    NW WI
    Isolate one of them so that Chick has a chance to recover or she may very well end up dead.
     
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:Make sure she doesn't stop eating or she will get even more sick or injured. Check her crop at night, when she gets onto the roost. If her crop isn't full like the others, you should step in and try to get her eating more, even if it means a little more work for you, temporarily.

    I had a similar situation. I have 5 hens who are 24-25 weeks old. The littlest one, an EE, is at the bottom of the pecking order. I observed her freaking out when a few of the top hens came to the feeder while she was eating. She'd sorta shriek and run crazy-like to try and get away from them. I think they were pecking her head a bit, when they found her eating. Anyway, I took her aside, and went into the house with her, checked her over for injuries -- she had none. I checked her crop that night, once she was on the roost, and I also checked the others. Theirs were fat and heavy; she just had a smallish bulge. So, next day I began to give her an extra protein treat each late afternoon or early a.m., by herself, inside the house, where the other hens couldn't see. I'd give her some scrambled egg, or fish bits, sunflower seeds, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. I also took that time to check her over for any injuries. After about 2 weeks of that routine, I noticed that she was eating more aggressively around the others birds, and eating a lot more food - plus, she got better at loading up her crop before bedtime. She still freaks out around the bullies, but not nearly as much as before. I stopped the "special" feedings once I decided she was putting on more weight and was getting bolder with food.

    Anyway, I'm hoping you can help your little Chick get stronger by temporarily giving her a peaceful place to eat, away from the others. And check her for injuries (she maybe hiding them).
     
  5. catfish/okie

    catfish/okie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chic has insulted Gwen and Gwen is still not over it.She probably never will. Do you have a roo? some roos wont let their hens fight. But another one may gang up with Gwen and attack chic too.
     
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    put out another feeder or dish, so chick can get to it, as far as chick putting eggs where gwen is setting, that's not unusual, very common actually.

    It sounds like the crouching is her squatting as if to a roo, also very common, sign of docility in the face of authority, which if she's the low hen in the pecking order, is just about everyone else including you. They do it to roosters, but also to each other to show submission.

    If no one is bloody, and they all get food, leave them to work it out. If you want to isolate one, I usually say pull the most agressive so the tension is lessoned, but if gwen is broody, that may not work. If you pull chick out, I reccomend bringing another docile hen with her so she has a friend and pen them in a 'safe' area. they can pal around a little bit while chick recovers. They usually eat much better if they have a friend around, not exactly sure why that is.

    I have one now who is a little shy and avoids all the others too, I just try to give her more treats, though she hangs around the coop after the others leave then eats her fill, chick may be doing that too.
     
  7. Danceswithchicks

    Danceswithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! I'll try the special feedings!
     
  8. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    Texas
    I would put peepers on the aggressors and leave them on for a month or so. That solves the problem absolutely. You can get clip-on peepers from eggcarton.com
     
  9. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    Quote:Wow - I could have wrote that. Our little EE had the same exact problem, we did the same exact thing and it gave her so much confidence. She's still leery of them, but not like before. She's probably put a pound or so on in the last month!

    Good luck with Chick!
     
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    27
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    I'd lock the agressive one up for about a week and then put her back with the flock. She will have lost all standing in the flock, forgotten about beating up the other hen, and the other hen that was getting picked on should be able to regain her standing so she's not an outcast and a target. That should put the 2 of them on more even ground so one doesn't beat the other up.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by