Hen Pecking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lefebvre1995, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Lefebvre1995

    Lefebvre1995 New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2014
    [​IMG]what a great website! just spent the last hour going through old forums. Thanks!!!

    2 days ago, we discovered our largest Austrolop pecking the other hens- rotten and ruthlessly! [​IMG] Before that all was PERFECT! They were 8 happy birds, Large coop, good lighting, fresh food and water 2x day, and winter laying at about 50%. She pecked one hen till bleeding badly (at her lower back area). We immediately separated the pecking hen & she has been in a separate area-this is now going into day 3.

    The feathers are growing back nicely on the the pecked hens, not fully covered yet, but the bleeding is stopped. The 7 are eating well and laying still. I have turned off there artificial light for the last 2 days (just to keep them calmer & less active during their healing period).

    My question: Should I reintroduce the rotten pecking hen, once the feathers are back? Will she start over again-claiming her position? I'm not against keeping her separated our stewing her if need be. Thanks for any advice [​IMG]
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi, welcome to BYC!

    You did the right thing by isolating the bully hen. Let her live alone for a week or so, then reintroduce her. In the meantime the other hens will re-establish their pecking order, and it will not include her. Then when she comes back, she'll be at the bottom of the pecking order until she moves up again, and that might settle her down.

    If she pecks again, I would put some pinless peepers on her. You can buy them from almost any poultry supply place, and some people have had luck buying small quantities on eBay. They are like plastic blinders that fit into the nostrils and stop the hen from seeing the end of her nose. She can still eat, etc, but will not be able to see well enough to peck. I've used these with great success before. Once she's worn the peepers for a few weeks, you can take them off and see if she's reformed. If not, you can put the peepers back on. Or eat her (which is what I would do, since I would feel like I'd really given her a chance to reform!).

    You might want to buy some Blu-Kote if you haven't already. It works well for pecked-hen injuries because it not only is an antiseptic, but it covers up the red wound with a dark blue color. Since chickens naturally peck at red, the Blu-Kote helps to keep other flock members from worrying the wound. You can buy it at TSC or any other ag-supply store.

    One thing to watch out for: you said that you turned off the artificial lights. If you were using lights to get light-hours up over 14 to stimulate winter laying, turning off the lights for even one day may throw your flock into a moult and/or stop them from laying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I second walkingonsunshine's suggestion about the Pinless Peepeprs. Frequently once such a hen's attitude has been adjusted they can be removed.
     
  4. Lefebvre1995

    Lefebvre1995 New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2014
    Thank you! I will go outside now and turn their artificial light back on. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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