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Help with aggressive hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kristan72, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. kristan72

    kristan72 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've raised some combination of chickens and ducks since I was a kid (mainly ducks) but recently I've just had a backyard flock of chickens for eggs. I wanted to add a few brown egg producers to my flock and found a local ad for golden wyandottes so I thought I might pick a few up. When I got there the coops looked nice and well kept and the chickens all looked healthy. I had let her know a few days in advance that I wanted 2 pullets but she proceeds to hand me a cockerel and a pullet. Now I've been duped by young late blooming roosters before, but this one wasn't even close to looking like a hen. She argued with me a bit (which blew my mind) but ultimately told me that she "couldn't find" the other wyandottes so she asked if I could just take one of the huge white hens that was running around and assured me they were good layers. By this point it was hot and I just wanted to be done (and I had already paid her) so I took the hen she offered me and left. I acclimate all of my new hens by keeping them in a large dog grate in the coop for a few days, which I have done for quite some time now with no issue. The two new girls were fine over night, but in the 5-6 hrs I was gone at work today the white hen has eaten the back of the pullet's head...I have never seen anything like it. The skin on the back of her head, starting where her comb ends, is splayed open all of the way down to her back and her skull and spine are fully exposed. Somehow she's still walking around and eating as I wait on my boyfriend to get home to put her out of her misery.
    My concern is what to do with the white hen. In all of my years of keeping chickens I have never seen this happen and I'm not sure if I want to add her to my flock. I can take a chance and keep her or drop her off at the livestock auction later this week if I decide not to keep her. This is the last time I buy chickens from random ads.
     
  2. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is extremely disturbing. I know chickens can be cannibals although I'm pretty sure it's a learned behavior. Is there any possibility the white hen did this at her previous owners property?
     
  3. kristan72

    kristan72 Out Of The Brooder

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    I emailed the previous owner although I'm skeptical about her telling me the truth at this point. I was reading about cannibalism in chickens and my understanding is that once they do it they are pretty likely to do it again...so I have my doubts about keeping the hen. Also, she grosses me out a little now.
     
  4. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. I think it would be really risky to put her with other chickens at this point, especially if you have more docile breeds like silkies. That really is a weird circumstance you have with that hen.
     
  5. kristan72

    kristan72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Most of my flock are leghorns, and my rooster is large and in charge...he generally keeps the peace between his hens. The only one I would be worried about is our bantam ameraucana hen, but she's so fast no one really messes with her.
     
  6. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's still very odd behavior. Did the young puller make it until your boyfriend got home? How does the older hen act towards you?
     
  7. kristan72

    kristan72 Out Of The Brooder

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    The pullet is still alive...he did not want to put her down since she is still acting normal. I have never seen a chicken that torn up still walking around and eating. I just feel like she has to be in enough pain that it's not worth it to keep her alive.
    The hen is agressive towards all of the other chickens (she goes at them through her cage) but not with me. I've had some hens that were bullies but not this bad. The previous owner seems to think she will be ok once she is free to roam outside.
     
  8. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens are tough. You should wait to cull her. I've had some heal from awful wounds we thought they would die from. Could you post a picture of the wound? Just make sure you keep it very clean. It would be wise to isolate her for a few days.

    With the white hen, I wouldn't want to keep a chicken like that. It is normal for some aggression when you first introduce new chickens, and I have had hens fight through fences in the beginning. They get over it.

    You could take the risk and let her with the others, but there is always the chance she'll do it again. I would let her out and keep a close eye for a while. And if she does hurt more, either get a refund and return her to the owner or cull her. No use it letting all your chickens get hurt from one mean hen.
     
  9. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you cleaned her wounds so it won't get infected? If she can avoid infection she may live a little while longer, I know chickens can survive weird injuries if helped. I wouldn't trust that owner at all. Did she give you that hen or did you pick her out yourself? And if she's being aggressive now in a cage I'd be really nervous to see what'd she do when she's not.
     
  10. kristan72

    kristan72 Out Of The Brooder

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    I rinsed it off but I wasn't quite sure what to use on it..I googled a bit and found a chicken with identical injuries and I think they were using Underwood. I'm not confident that I can find that but I will see what they have at the feed store tomorrow. Anything specific I should be looking for? She is also currently isolated in a quiet spot.
    I didn't even really want her - I was trying to get 2 wyandotte pullets but she said she couldn't find the other pullet so she handed me that hen instead and assured me she was a good layer. I had driven 30 min to get them and I didn't really feel like arguing so I agreed.
     

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