Hen being attacked by not only other hen but also rooster.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by donnaboydjones, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. donnaboydjones

    donnaboydjones Chillin' With My Peeps

    Im new to being a chicken owner and have had my flock since august/October.
    Up until 2 weeks ago everything was paradise. My chickens were allowed free range while I was home and in the pen when I wasn't. I've lost two hens in two weeks due to eagles, so I've not allowed my chickens to be free in the yard since. The size of the pen not including the coop is 40x16 with 1/3 of it separated for my 11 week old chicks that I bring out into the yard during the day.
    This morning I caught my Americana hen going after my RIR hen. I separated them for a while and thought everything was ok and then I saw the rooster going after the RIR. Separated het from them for awhile and then put them back together after a while. Tonight a neighbor came over to being them some fresh vegetables and mentioned the rooster wouldn't leave my RIR along thinking they were loving one another. I found the RIR in the coop with the rooster and the americana hen on top of her. Once I got them off of her she had been pecked to the point that there was blood on all sides of her comb, around her eyes, ears and feathers ripped out on her head and neck. I've put her in separate quarters for the night even though she was distressed to be separated from the flock.
    My questions is, what caused it in the first place? Initially my RIR was the head of the hens. I have a total of four hens and the rooster. The chicks live in the garage at night and I'll put them together when they are the same size as the adults. Also, how can I keep them from attacking the RIR again once she heals?
    Im baffled, upset and not sure what to do. Can't understand how there was such peace and harmony and now all this. I've heard of other hens attacking each other but never a rooster. Up until today he was the kindest, loving rooster anyone could ask for.
    Please help me know what caused this, how to fix it and what to do to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    Is the rooster mounting her? I had a big old hen who was getting too much attention from the rooster so she would attack a younger hen, pinning her to the ground. The rooster would look at it like a submission position and mount the young hen (with the old hen still attacking). Then when the rooster mounted the young hen the old hen would attack the young one at the same time. This amounted to mounting and beating every five minutes or so. I think the old bitty did this so the rooster would bother someone else! Seriously. Unfortunately, that also promoted gang activity and the others started joining in. They ended up getting part of an eyelid of my little girl so I had to intervene. I'd have to come to her rescue every morning. I'd give her extra special treatment, feed her goodies in front of the others and separate her when I had to. Be careful because they can totally mutilate and blind her. I put that tarry no pick on her comb. Another thing I did is upgrade the run and try and make it a better situation. Things to do, more shade, multiple water and food situations. Make sure there is water where this hen can get to it. If she has to hide in the coop a lot, put water in there. Unfortunately, they get so traumatized they're afraid to do anything so the sooner you handle it the better.
  3. Vora

    Vora Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 15, 2011
    That's a big pen! [​IMG] Are you sure you didn't mean 4 x 16?!

    Okay, okay, maybe some of the breeders on here (not the urban folks with only a few chickens, like me) have pens that big, but gee! That'd be a lot of space for 4 hens, a rooster, and some 11-week olds.

    Also; [​IMG]

    As for your issue...
    Are you absolutely sure that there are no health problems with your RIR hen? Sometimes the other chickens can sense that there's something wrong with a member of the flock, and they'll act upon it violently. Kind of like a hen pushing an egg out of the nest because something's just not quite right about it.
    I'd check her over thoroughly, just in case, and see if something's amiss (other than her newly-acquired injuries.)

    Otherwise, sometimes the pecking order simply changes for no reason detectable to us human-folk. Perhaps your other chickens felt that your RIR should no longer be leader of the flock, and she decided that she still wanted to be boss... and then a fight ensued. Who knows what goes on in their little chicken brains?

    I would suggest that you quarantine her until you assure yourself that she's healthy and healed, and then perhaps put her into the section you have partitioned off for your younger chicks, and see if she does better with them.
  4. donnaboydjones

    donnaboydjones Chillin' With My Peeps

    :)Lol It really is 40x16 for the chicken pen. I live on ten acres and I wanted my chickens to have a nice size area to live in. I live in Washington state were the eagles are like roaches, so I knew there would be times I'd need to keep them in verses the yard.

    I've got the RIR separated in the chicks section As suggested. We are right in the middle of renovating our chicken coop from 8x10 to 16 feet wide, 10 feet deep. And L shaped.

    I had noticed in the past that the Americana hen always gave it to the rooster and if the others ran from him she would go after them with a peek, so I thought that was the issue, but she went after the RIR all day. As far As the rooster goes, I'm not sure if he Wa trying to mount her or not. I would think he would have done it and left her alone verses messing with her all day like the Americana. And why would they just go after her and not the other two hens?
    They are all in the pen with the RIR separated and all is well on Donnas chicken farm.[​IMG]

    Also, I noticed what I thought was/is dried blood, but could it be foul pox and if so, would that have made them attack her? Im grasping at straws cause I'm so dumb founded.
    Thank y'all for taking the time to read my poster earlier and respond.
    I really appreciated it!!
  5. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    That's funny. The mean old bitty I was talking about was a large ameraucana hen! For some reason the roosters always LOVED her (or should I say LOVED ON HER). Anyway, I think she was doing it to divert the focus to some other hen. Clever girl.
  6. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2010
    Once blood was drawn, it likely caused more blood to be drawn - it could have been dried blood from an earlier attack but I have noticed with my chickens that if there is any blood anywhere or even just a spot that they think doesn't look right, they all go after it and cause more injury. Keep the RIR hen separate and inspect her thoroughly, let her heal and then try again. If the Ameracauna hen starts attacking again, separate her from the flock for an attitude adjustment before the others join in.
  7. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2010
    Another thing that might be happening is that the coop renovations are disturbing the chickens enough that it has caused a change in the pecking order or just general acting out - chickens do not like change! Even if it is for the best and they get improved and expanded digs. [​IMG]
  8. 70monte

    70monte Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    This is the exact same thing that happened to my small flock. I have five RIR's, one rooster and four hens. For some reason, a few months ago the rooster and the other hens have decided to pick and beat up on one of the others. I have did everything I can think of even chasing the hens and rooster down but nothing has worked. They will probably end up killing her one day.

  9. tadyergey

    tadyergey Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2011
    Nokesville, VA
    My Coop
    I just found one of my Leghorn hens with a black (scabbed) & bloody comb. I think the original wound cam from my novice roo pulling on it while the were getting busy. I heard a big ruckus and saw another hen picking at this bloody comb. I have separated here and she'll have a week to heal since I am going on vacation and I won't ask the the pet sitter to mess with her. 2 questions:

    1. What is tarry no-pick? [​IMG]

    2. will I have any issues reintroducing her to the flock? [​IMG]

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