Injured Chicken Severely Pecked by Other Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kathiesgarden, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. kathiesgarden

    kathiesgarden Out Of The Brooder

    Hi,

    I have a question about an incident that happened today. I have 5 leghorns (just reached egg laying age) 4 buffs (just about at egg laying age) and 3 white rocks (also pullets) These chickens were all brooded together and have lived very peaceably until today. I heard a big commotion out in the coop late this morning so went out to investigate. One of the white rocks was sitting in a nest, I assumed she was 'practicing' as all these chickens are either laying or are about to start egg production. I left her in the nest undisturbed. In retrospect, she may have been hiding her injuries at that time.

    Later in the afternoon, again a whole lot of commotion in the coop. My husband and I went over to see what was going on. One of the white rocks was dragging a wing and was being pecked (bad damage to her backside, blood, no feathers, etc) by the leghorns. The buffs were making a lot of noise, but at the time I observed them, they were not participating in the 'pecking party'. She was so severely injured that we had to cull her. This all happened in the space of a few hours.

    My question is: will an injured bird normally be attacked by others in the flock? The group has now settled down and I haven't heard any more loud squabbling.

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    Kathie
     
  2. loujeany

    loujeany Out Of The Brooder

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    From what I have read they are especially nasty to birds that have an injury that is bleeding.
     
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  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Chicken society can be cruel, and the injured frequently become a target. Blood can frequently instigate such attacks. The greater the living space the less frequently such occurrences generally happen.
     
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  4. kathiesgarden

    kathiesgarden Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you, I also have heard that. It all happened so fast that I thought I'd better find out if something else was going on. (I am new to chickens)
     
  5. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Kathie. [​IMG] I'm so sorry that happened! It sure can happen. Even a non-related injury or any redness or blood can cause the other hens to peck mercilessly. Always keep a can of Blue Kote in your emergency kit to spray any redness. I've not dealt with Leghorns, but they are not noted for being docile. BO's are notoriously docile.
    To find the source of the squabbling, it might be helpful for you to rule out overcrowding in the coop, run, and roost area. Best of luck and again, I'm sorry.
     
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  6. kathiesgarden

    kathiesgarden Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you. I was wondering if the injured wing could have started the attack. There is plenty of room both in the run (10" x 12') and the coop (6' x 12') for the 12 chickens, I think.
     
  7. kathiesgarden

    kathiesgarden Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for your advice. We have have not had any behavior problems until today and those within a span of just a couple of hours. I was baffled. Maybe the injured wing incited the attack?
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    This or perhaps a tear and bleeding from egg laying. you mention that her backside had been attacked.
     
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  9. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't doubt it. Like @sourland mentioned, they can be so cruel. It can happen very quickly too. Grab a can of Blue Kote when you go to the store, and if you have an injured hen, it's usually best to isolate them. If you see repeated aggression from a specific hen that is disruptive to the flock, I would consider kicking her to the curb as they say.
     
  10. kathiesgarden

    kathiesgarden Out Of The Brooder

    @Mutt Farm Thanks for the BlueKote. I will definitely pick some up. This chicken was very badly injured. I thought it was more humane to put her out of her misery. I don't think she was ready to begin egg laying. Her comb was still very small and pink and she had no wattles. It was her backside that was attacked, though.
     

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