Hen Blood Fest

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rossparker, May 30, 2012.

  1. Rossparker

    Rossparker Hatching

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    May 29, 2012
    Hi, I hope someone can help!

    We have had three hens now for just over two years and everything was going great.
    They all get on brilliantly, all sharing the food, water & treats. All slept huddled up together and all laying well.

    But this week I have noticed one hen being pecked and chased all the time, so she cant get to the food. They don't even let her in the coop! She has lost a lot of head feathers and I noticed they had pecked her so hard she has a gash right near her ear!

    I have separated the two bully's into another area for two days so the pecked girl can get a load of food and try and recover a little and thought this will re-juggle the pecking order.

    But this morn I put them back in together and for the first ten minutes it was fine then they started chasing and pecking her under the shed. so I've separated them again.

    Please help!! I don't want to have to get shoot of any but don't know what else to do.

    If it was like this from day one I could sort of understand, but they have been living in harmony for two years!!
    She has stopped laying whilst the other two haven't. That's the only difference.

    Not that I can see her starting to lay again when she is so nervous.

    What to do?????
     
  2. Sgtfirstwife

    Sgtfirstwife Chirping

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    Apr 29, 2012
    Stedman
    Is it just the roosters attacking her or the other hens too?
     
  3. Hi RossParker,

    Welcome to the BYC forum!

    this one will really stump the chicken experts. I wonder if anyone can come up with the answer.

    If the hen being pecked had some tiny injury to begin with (that went un noticed), and the chickens around her saw blood, then they would go after the blood--in a feeding frenzy perhaps, like a shark. Sometimes animals will also attack a sick member of the group.

    It's hard to know if I am understanding correctly, but, did she stop laying and then get picked on, or could the stress of being picked on have caused her to stop laying. Is there any chance to have a vet look over the one that is being attacked to see if there is something wrong that is firing up the other two? Lastly is there any other possible change that could have triggered the behavior changes?

    I hope someone comes up with some good insights for this...I would be really interested to know.
     
  4. Rossparker

    Rossparker Hatching

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    May 29, 2012
    We don't have a rooster. It's the two other hens ganging up on her.

    Don't think our neighbours would like a rooster, plus I'd be worried he'd bully her just as much!
     
  5. Rossparker

    Rossparker Hatching

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    May 29, 2012
    The wound was made by the pecking/attacking, not by any other means.

    She had stopped laying before she was being bullied not because of it.

    I really don't understand after two years of peace, this is happening.

    I don't want to get rid of the one that's being pecked. And she doesn't like being on her own, as the last two days she's been looking a little lost without the offending pair with her!
     
  6. That is what I thought you had meant -- she stopped laying, the got bullied. -- I just wasn't sure, because stress could cause a cessation of laying.

    and the other idea was just a theory--- perhaps they saw a drop of blood that was not perceptible to humans. Has the weather changed? Could they be bored?? Could you put in some cabbage, lettuce, maybe a soccer ball?

    I guess for awhile, you need to keep her apart, until she is fully healed. Can all the chickens see each other? Do they free range? Too many questions? :O)

    I wonder if she was always the lowest one in the pecking order?

    BTW my two BPRs started a nighttime - no one else in the hen house except ME behavior about 2-days ago. I am not always there when they go in....but the couple of times I was, the oldest, largest was blocking the door and everyone else had to struggle in.... I thought maybe she had see a snake or other intruder and was protecting the coop? I finally put her and a companion in another pen. Just because I didn't like the dusk time drama, and didn't want my others to have to fight their way to their nightly roosting place. And I don't know the cause at all...but I have seen a snake around.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  7. Rossparker

    Rossparker Hatching

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    May 29, 2012
    Hi thanks for the feedback.

    The weather has gotten a little warmer, but they have plenty of water, shade and dust to bath in.

    They haven't looked bored, if it's possible to tell! I have been putting in larger fruit and veg, so they have to work at it rather than just swallow!
    I've been cutting melons in half which they love and corn on the cob, they can't seem to get enough of it.

    I'm keeping her in their main run/coop and have put the other two in a smaller space. Don't know how long I should leave it like this for?
    Hoping this will juggle up the pecking order!

    They can't really see each other, but they can hear each other.

    They have a run large enough for the three, but I wouldn't say they were free range. I do let them roam around the garden a few times a week. If I let them out any longer I don't think I'd have much garden left! Amazing how only three of 'em make such mess!!
    may let them out a bit more soon so to keep them entertained.

    If this doesn't stop I think I'm gonna get rid of the lot. It's not nice to see this happening, or for my 2.5 year old!

    Thank you
     
  8. I'm so sympathetic and I think I know how you feel. I had three in an Eglu Classic which is quite small by some folks perspective, and they were so harmonious and tranquil...it was really pleasant...they would sit together and coo and chatter -- like 'old hens'. It partly depends upon the personalities of the chickens.

    I hope that with a little break they can get an attitude adjustment and you will get to keep them. One alternative may be to find a new home for the one who seems to be getting bullied. I wonder if the pecking order can ever really be reshuffled by human intervention. At anyrate.....best of luck with them.
     
  9. Rossparker

    Rossparker Hatching

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    May 29, 2012
    Well after removing the two vicious hens out of the coop and leaving my third on her own for two days, she seems soooo much happier! She has started eating, sun bathing layed two eggs after none for weeks and she has been sleeping in the nest box rather than under the shed cos the other two wouldn't let her in!

    I have re-introduced them today, but not good news. They are still pushing her around and she seems so scared she hasn't eaten, drank, and she hasn't been out from under the shed all day, and she now is under there for the night.

    We have a friend who has said he'd take the two bullies. But was wondering after her being so relaxed and happy on her own for the two days, would she be ok to be left on her own for good??

    Did think of getting a pullet to keep her company! And can you keep Bantams with average size hens?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Ross
     

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