Help with chickens hurting each other

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by corrschickfarm, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. corrschickfarm

    corrschickfarm New Egg

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    Sep 4, 2014
    Duluth, Minnesota
    This is happened to three of our chickens now and I don't know what to do about it does anybody have any advice? Has anybody else experienced this and what did you do?
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  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Ouch, that looks painful! Poor chicken!

    First up - separate that bird from the flock immediately and put her into a confined pen where she will be safe. Chickens are vicious and if they see or smell blood they will keep on pecking at it until the other bird dies from their injuries. Clean out the wound well, feed her up and keep her warm and safe until she is completely healed up.

    Next up we need to ascertain who is inflicting the injuries. Is it other hens who are doing it? Or is there a possibility that a rooster is causing it during mating? Quite often the rooster will grab hold of the hen's comb to 'hang on' to her whilst treading. If that is the case, I would recommend removing that rooster and getting another one which is gentler on your hens.

    If it's another chicken doing the damage, I would isolate that chicken for a week or two and then reintegrate her back into the flock AFTER this girl has healed up and been added back into the flock herself. By that time the mean hen will have lost her dominance and seniority in the flock and will be less likely to attack the other hens.

    I would also bump up their protein intake (maybe some extra meat or mealworms?) and make sure they either get free ranging time, or if they are cooped up provide some chicken entertainment. A bored bird is more likely to peck, but if you hang up fruit for them to jump for, provide whole melons and tomatoes for them to eat, and throw in some tree branches and logs for them to climb on and hide in they will be less likely to go after each other for fun.

    That's about the best I can come up with I'm afraid. I do hope you girl heals up ok.

    - Krista
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
    2 people like this.
  3. corrschickfarm

    corrschickfarm New Egg

    6
    1
    9
    Sep 4, 2014
    Duluth, Minnesota

    Thank you, we do have a rooster who I was sure was the reason this was happening but my daughter said she aw one of the hens pecking her but if she was injured by the rooster then the hens would be responding to the blood. Would it work with the dominance and mating if we confined him for a while or would he just go back to how he was before? We are in Duluth mn so they don't want to go out because of weather but I'm going to try and make the coop entertaining. Thank you again. :)
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    How much space do they have in the coop? If they are stuck in a small space due to weather this situation will get worse before it gets better. Once they are stressed and somebody starts pecking, even if it in response to a visible wound, it's often to late to try to redirect that energy with entertainment. At that point they need more space and/or the one doing the pecking needs to be separated for a while and see if she has an attitude adjustment.

    If it is indeed the rooster who initially caused the wound separating him is not likely to change his behavior. If it's an isolated incident well, it happens sometimes. If it happens more then that then I'd remove him from the flock.
     
  5. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,576
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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Exactly right. If I had to put my money on it, I would say that your rooster has done this damage whilst mating, and that the hen which was seen pecking at it afterwards did so only because all of a sudden she saw blood and was tempted to do so. That sort of injury (the de-scalping) is usually due to a rooster's actions during mating.

    If it were me, and I know it's a hard decision to make, I'd be getting rid of that rooster. Confining him won't be the answer for this sort of behaviour - he is simply not a 'good rooster' as far as mating goes, and that is a behaviour I doubt you could change, wether that be by penning him up alone or by some other method. I think he needs to go unfortunately. There are plenty of great roosters out there, in many cases listed for free, so I would get a nice new boy who comes with a good reputation and rehome the 'bad guy.'

    Keeping the coop entertaining for the girls is still a great idea and if the weather is bad and they have to be inside anyway I would definitely recommend doing so. There is certainly no harm in keeping them happy and entertained! I doubt, from the sounds of things though, that they are pecking for any other reason other than the opportunity that the rooster presented them with.

    Best wishes,

    - Krista
     

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