Help!!! This is my last hope!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JCAndrews25, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. JCAndrews25

    JCAndrews25 Hatching

    Sep 27, 2016
    I have had my flock for about a year and a half now. When we started we had 22 female chickens, 5 males, and 2 female turkeys. I have been trying to take the advice from local FB pages which has lead to us having to cull two of our roosters, and both of our turkeys died [​IMG] Since the Turkey's passing (last November). The chickens have been extremely aggressive towards each other! So much so that most of the girls have bare butts, and a few have lost their wing feathers! Just this morning, I had to pull 7 chickens off of one that they were attacking. She was so badly hurt that my husband had to humanely euthanize her[​IMG] At first we thought it was the alpha male (white silkie) since the other two males are tiny bantams. But the more I watched they all pick on each other! They are fed a high protein diet, free range on the weekends when we can protect them from the coyotes, they get scratch, are given mealworms and sunflower seeds to entice them back in from free ranging, oyster shell, dust baths, toys for boredom......what am I doing wrong? I have posted them to give them to a better home as pets/egg layers since I want them to have a happy life but, my husband wants to keep them. I can't live with myself with them living like this!
  2. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

    Apr 24, 2016
    Hello, welcome to Backyard chickens. Are hens pecking on each other, or is is mainly roosters ganging up on hens? I know in my flock, a rooster will get a hen and start mating with her, then the commotion attracts the other roosters and they literally take turns mating with the hen. The hens have gotten smart, and run away as quickly as possible now. I suggest rehoming the two roosters, whichever ones they may be, to a new flock, you may just have too many roosters and they are creating too much tension with in the flock. Also, what living environment are they in? Do they free range, or are they in a run? If they are in a run, what are the dimensions of the run? Often, when chickens are too crowded, that will lead to cannibalism and feather picking. Hope this helps, and have fun on Backyard chickens!
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - thanks for joining us, but sorry to hear about your issues. You mention that they free range, so it seems strange that your girls are attacking each other. I know that this can sometimes happen when a flock member is showing signs of ill health (the signs are not necessarily apparent to humans) - its their instinct to drive the ill chicken out of the flock. After that, I'm at a loss. I would suggest that you send a Personal Message to @aart - she has considerable experience and is bound to have some good advice. To send a PM, simply put the member name in the search box, and click on a link. Once in the link, click on the pull down menu on the member's name and the "Send PM" option is there. You could, alternatively post your issue in the forum - "Managing your Flock".

    Best wishes and good luck
    1 person likes this.
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, JCANDREWS, and :welcome. Pleased to have you with us. Really sorry that you are having a rough time with your chickens. I really can't imagine what's going on with your flock. I hope others on BYC are able to help. Best of luck.
    1 person likes this.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    If it's possible some way, I would put the hostile ones in separate crates and see if what remains gets along together. Are they all the same breed or different breed? If they are allowed to go on this way, you will be finding dead chickens, or parts of dead chickens - chickens will cannibalize if they get the chance.
  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    It's unusual to have hens or pullets "dogpile" another bird the way your describing. Were the aggressors cockerels by chance?
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    More information, and pics if possible, on your of coops and runs, in feet by feet, would be a good place to start.
    1 person likes this.
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I appreciate that you free range them at the weekend when you can watch them but it may be a case of their run not being big enough to keep them entertained through the week and sometimes them being allowed to free range part of the time makes them more frustrated when they are penned. They may also be moulting at this time of year and this will mean that they are more vulnerable once pecking starts. Hens can also get quite grumpy when they moult which may lead to them overreacting. I appreciate that this problem has been going on for some time and therefore cannot all be attributed solely to moulting but it can be a combination of factors that trigger things to get worse like this.

    Have you seen the behaviour occur when they are free ranging or only when they are penned? When you start out with chicks, the coop and run seems huge, and because they grow slowly, you sometimes don't realise that it has become cramped until things turn nasty... not saying this is the case, but it's just something to consider..
    I would also agree that it may be the case that the chickens being picked on are sick and in an enclosed pen they cannot get away when the others start trying to drive them out.
    It could also be that there are some hens that are getting over mated and being damaged by the cockerels and then the others are pecking at the injuries. Once there is blood it can become a feeding frenzy.

    Oh and welcome to BYC. I hope we are able to help you solve your problem. I can imagine it must be horrible to have to deal with such behaviour.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  9. Try this.....Cut out all treats for two weeks....Put up more roosting spots if you can and try free ranging a bit more....?
    Over crowding and boredom could be the issue? Nutrition will change behaviour in Chickens...This is how I feed my Birds...
    50/50 ratio....Grower crumble, Layer pellets and oyster shell....
    It could take a bit longer than two weeks? I gave this a time line to see if any changes? Only 5% daily should be treats....I give mine Treats once or twice a week...

    Sorry things have gone so out of tune with your birds...

    1 person likes this.

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