Hen Attack!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by krturpie, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. krturpie

    krturpie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 11, 2007
    Maryland
    Ok. I confess that I'm a newbie to chicken behavior. So, it should not be surprising that I'm stumped on this one. Advice of greater experience here would be appreciated.

    We had a ~4 mo old pullet go very lethargic with very runny stools. We decided to separate her from the flock while we figure out what was going on. She seemed to be doing much better the next day, so we brought her back to the flock.

    However, the, shall we say eldest, pullet charged her almost the moment we had set the ~4 mo old down, and careened right into her. This wasn't a threat or a nasty peck. She went for her head and neck, digging deep into feather and shredding with a vicious ferocity.

    What happened? They were getting along fine and, in fact, these two were relatively close before. I don't get it. [​IMG]

    Anyway, the only thing I can think of doing is to slowly introduce the 4 mo. back into the flock, starting with bringing her within sight a couple of times a day for a few days then letting her walk around in the run for short stints. Better suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

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    Can you put her into a smaller cage within the coop. That way she'll be exposed to them yet protected. Keep her that way for maybe a week and see how it goes. Looks like someone wants to be on top of the pecking order!
     
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    I would take the mean hen out, and put the pullet back in...see how the rest of the flock gets along with her. If everything goes well....keep the mean hen out for a few days...then place her back in. She will lose her "top dog" place...and should behave better afterwards. Just watch them tho...she might just be determined to keep her position.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    yeah, what they sais, above [​IMG]

    I'd just like to add that, cute and loveable and social though chickens are, they can also, at the very same time and in the very same cute loveable feathery little bodies, be remorseless bullies or killers when blood, weakness or the pecking order is involved. This is not something going wrong, it is not an aberration, it is just, inconveniently, The Nature Of Chickens.

    Think of them as petting-zoo velociraptors whose Prozac prescription sometimes lapses [​IMG]

    You just have to let them work it out unless you feel someone is getting dangerously thrashed in which case you have to figure out a way to provide distance or walls between them.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Quote:LOL!! i would seperate and wait. I had to that that with my moms BR roo and my silkies. Now that the BR roo passed away the BR hens have silkie roos as b/fs
     
  6. krturpie

    krturpie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Think of them as petting-zoo velociraptors whose Prozac prescription sometimes lapses

    LOL! my dw took one of our chickens to a science fair she runs and set her cage next to a picture of a dinosaur and i think there was a sign that said something like "how many dinosaurs do you see?"

    Anyway, this is all good advice. chickflick, a small cage is a good idea. we tried using it before when we had roosters. they did NOT like our new hens. it didn't work, but the roos were shipping out anyway, so we didn't push the approach further. this time i'll try to be a bit more patient.

    But, the attacking hen was normally very even tempered and too some extent, had a calming affect on the rest of the girls. things could get messy if i pull her out. but just recently she's been getting a bit feisty. her comb is turning blood red. i think she's starting and about to lay her first egg.

    So, i was wondering if this is part of a normal behavioral shift in chickens during this stage?​
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  7. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    I think she was giving her a reminder of who is top chick around here.
     
  8. krturpie

    krturpie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update - I put everyone together again and everyone seems happy again. I've got be more careful about the dosage on their Prozac. Also, the "top chick" did lay her egg too, which I still think was affecting her mood.
     

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