Hen with bloody comb


May 13, 2010
New Hampshire
I think I've seen this topic here before, but never paid much attention to it. Now this morning I get out of the car and see that my favorite broody hen, who has always been very low on the pecking order, has a bloody comb. I have 9 hens and 1 rooster in all.

Who usually causes this? Another mean hen, or a rooster? Someone is in for a stern lecture and possibly a give-away.
Figured it out. The big tip-off was blood on the walls of the nesting box. And sure enough, our meanest hen Skittles was sitting in the nesting box, all nice and cozy. She pecked poor Brownie off the nest. Well, I've been meaning to get out to that wintertime neglected coop, I had gotten a bale of hay yesterday to spruce up the nests. So this morning I cleared all the old shavings out of the coop, including the old hay, or what was left of it, from the nesting area. I put new shavings in, some new nesting boxes, one upstairs, one downstairs, put a nice big pile of hay in each as well as hay all along the outside of them in case any hens want to lay next to the boxes, which happens. You never know where they'll prefer to lay. I left enough piles of hay to keep them busy picking out and patting down their favorite spots. When I left the coop, Skittles was settled in the spruced up nest upstairs, and Brownie (who we carried back to the coop) was getting cozy in the nice new nesting area downstairs. And in a little while I'll go back out there and see if Skittles is now in Brownie's area, just to be mean. I'll also keep an eye on Brownie's comb. If Skittles is out to get her, then Skittles is going on a vacation to some other farm. But hopefully the newly organized and newly cleaned and hayed nesting areas will keep everyone happy.

You can't be happy if your hens aren't happy, I always say.
My hens zing each other from time to time - especially when treats are being handed out - and those combs BLEED! Seems to be inevitable with chickens and part of their nature. I have one Red Sex Link that isn't happy unless she has turfed someone out of one of the 8 nest boxes I have provided for 12 hens! Doesn't matter which box, just that SHE gets to pick.
Yeah...I've done my share of CSI'ing of the blood spray in the coop too. It's happened 2x in my coop - but always on the roost. Hope the new, more comfy nest areas will help prevent miss meanie from being a witch again...

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