ISA Brown Question... Why does my big brown 'hen' starting to 'crow'??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wheresmypeeps, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. wheresmypeeps

    wheresmypeeps Out Of The Brooder

    I purchased ten 'ISA Brown' chicks. Two were white as they began to mature, and I no longer have them, as I cannot have roosters. I still have six brown ones - supposedly the 'hens', and they are about 6 months old now. This morning one of the larger ones began making 'crowing'-type sounds. Sounds like halfway to a crow. Hermaphrodite??? I told this breed was easily identified in regards to sex, that the males are white (which two of ours turned out to be) and the females are brown. What's up? [​IMG]
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dominant hen. In the absence of a rooster, the hens attempt this pathetic call. Sometimes they give up on it after a day or two of trying.
  3. wheresmypeeps

    wheresmypeeps Out Of The Brooder

    Whew!!! I am so relieved! I thought the crazy bird was possessed or something! [​IMG] Actually, that's kinda funny...
    Seriously, though, I am thinking that we may be thinning the herd a bit, though, as we found the smallest chicken dead this morning and this one and one or two other of the largest looked like they were working on another chicken this morning, as it was getting pecked strongly enough that it curled up into a 'ball' (hiding head) and seemed to play dead in the corner until they lost interest. I am willing and have let them do the 'pecking-order' thing, I understand staying out of it to a reasonable extent and that that is nature, but I am afraid this may be going too far... I am pretty upset.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Carefully note the Nasty Girls. Take them out. Put them in a separate pen or a super, large dog crate for two weeks. Then, watch the flock and see if there is more equality in the pecking order. Sometimes, others just rise up and become nasty too. If there is peace, then leave the two groupings alone for another week. When you do re-integrate, perhaps the entire order will be turned up side down, as the former nasty girls are the nubies.

    You've so much into the birds, financially, at this point, it is worth a try at social engineering. It that fails, well, I'd sell off the one or two who will not be reformed.
  5. debs_flock

    debs_flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 14, 2011
    Shingle Springs, CA
    Letting them establish a pecking order is fine, letting them peck a flock member to death is not. You need to intervine.

    Establishing dominance should consist of the well placed peck, rushing, squawking, chest bumping, flaring of feathers, posturing, flapping of wings, etc. If they are drawing major blood or opening's time to separate them.

    Good luck,
  6. wheresmypeeps

    wheresmypeeps Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you both so much. Wow... girls behaving badly, huh!?! It is very helpful to know what is going on, to use common sense and caution, and that I have options. We are only 6-7 months into this, and I raised four boys and know that some things just need to play themselves out, but I am glad to hear that my instincts are not off on this. We have a further complication of a youngster (7-yr.-old) that is very attached to one of the 'girls' (not one of the aggressive ones), that would make it more tragic/traumatic if this problem develops further. We are not sure what the cause of death of the smaller hen was, it was just not a good combination with seeing the 'head-hen' going after another so aggressively this morning. Not a happy morning. I locked almost all of the other hens in the coop (including the one that was cornered) this morning as a precaution. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011

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