Hen attacked by other hen(s) and now noticing one being very aggressive

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Horse Chick, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Horse Chick

    Horse Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2012
    Rhode Island
    I've been reading some similar threads before posting this one. One of my Buff Orps got attacked by another hen yesterday, resulting in a nasty wound on her lower back near her tail. I pulled her out and brought her in the basement to treat her and place her in a dog crate while she recovers. She was great for the treatment, and the wound was not as deep as I first expected (so much blood) but all her feathers were plucked out in a silver dollar sized area. The wound was fairly clean but I flushed it with diluted betadine and then put Blu-Kote on it.

    I'm currently at work and hubby just called to tell me one of our Barred Rocks is running about biting the others and plucking feathers out. He can't get in there to do anything as he won't go in their pen. So now I have to wait until I get home and figure out which of our darker two Rocks is doing this. I am thinking I will utilize another dog crate and pull her out too so I can stop the bullying and re-establish the order before reintroducing these two. I plan to re-introduce the Buff a day earlier than the bully to give her a head start but would like some advice as this is the first time this has happened and I want to nip it in the bud. I'm thinking the Rock that is doing this is the same that has been getting excitable about their mealworm snack and she'll sometimes fly up at the cup I'm using to distribute them to the girls.

    To give you an idea of their routine, in the morning I let them out of their coop and make sure they have fresh grain and water. I also sprinkle some scratch (mine is corn, oats and sunflower seeds) to keep them busy for at least 15 minutes. I also give them veggies when I have them for them, this morning they got celery, carrots and broccoli (leftovers from last night's dinner but still raw). There are 9 hens, in a 8 x 12 pen with a 4 x 8 coop. They only get to free range on the weekends as they have to be supervised with all the predators we have in our woods (golden eagles, red hawks, coyotes, foxes, and fisher cats). I was thinking of dragging in some logs from the woods into their pen to give them something to play with.

    Any suggestions are welcome, this seems to be getting worse really fast.

    Thank you,
    Heather
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Overall, what percent of protein are they getting in their diet? Do they get any animal protein? Limited space and too little protein are generally considered the primary causes.

    A log or two, a piece of sod or two, a flock block or hanging cabbage type treat, things to jump up on and hide in or under, are among distractions you could try.
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like a good plan to me. Have something for them to do, as Flockwatcher suggests, when you do put her back - and make sure that you have spread the treats around so that they are not all bunched together.
     
  4. Horse Chick

    Horse Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2012
    Rhode Island
    Their diet is primarily their grain which is an organic egg layer pellet by Poulin and it's 16% protein. I also use mealworms to help move them out of the pen to forage and back in at night as they will follow me anywhere for these things. So about twice a week (Sat & Sun) the 9 hens share a total of 4 cups of mealworms. I do put out cabbage or squash or some other veggie twice a week (Tues/Thurs) and they have a large suet type cage with a chicken pecker wrecker assortment of seeds that they chomp on. I don't give them veggies daily as it got too expensive, but next year plan to have a garden and grow extra for them and I've been saving the raw scraps from cooking so they can get some treats here and there. I do spread anything like that all over the pen so they don't fight over it and they are very good about it. They also get the scratch in the morning, I was told not to put out too much, enough so they finish it in less than 1/2 hour.

    I got home and everyone was in the coop as it was after sunset. Hubby couldn't identify which was the bully as we have two darker Rocks and they both look the same to him. So tomorrow morning I'll get up earlier and watch for a while to see if I can catch her in the act. Luckily Buffy is doing well, a little lonely downstairs. I was told to not eat her eggs after treating her with Blu-kote. Wondering if anyone else has opinions on that.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  5. Horse Chick

    Horse Chick Out Of The Brooder

    42
    1
    22
    Oct 20, 2012
    Rhode Island
    I'm also taking a crack at growing some barley fodder, I'm on day 3 of that so hoping that will help entertain the girls.
     

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