I've got a big issue with a bullied chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GD91, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its been going on since her mother abandoned them. The other 3 chicks fended for themselves absolutely fine apart from this one pullet who was being bullied. I ignored it thinking that she was just the bottom of the pecking order, but one morning I went outside and found her hiding behind the compost heap away from the other birds. She had been scalped, but we kept her indoors and it healed fine.

    The pullet is a pekin bantam mix and the bullying started very quickly after I culled her father, the main rooster. There were no issues before then and she would spend a lot of time with him.

    During the healing period she could see the other chickens in the run through the wire while she was loose and she would stand by the run and they could see her. They would still try to peck her through the wire and one hen actually managed to grab her and pull her against the wire when she strayed too close. All of the hens and both roosters are involved in the bullying.

    Its now got to the stage where she is 6 months old and she is sleeping in the dog kennel with the dogs, but if I try to put her in with the chickens she freaks out completely and dashes around the run, bumping into the other chickens (who respond to this by pecking her) and squawking. She will hurl herself at the side of the run flapping and screaming and then of course this attracts the attention of the other chickens even more.

    There is no ring leader, it is all of them from the highest to the lowest in the pecking order including her much smaller pekin bantam mother.

    There does not appear to be anything wrong with this pullet apart from her fear of other chickens. She is fairly confident around all the other animals and displays her hackles to wild birds "on her patch" and the quail. She can see and hear fine and she has never displayed any internal issues. The only thing I can think of is that she is our only ginger chicken.

    I've tried reintroducing her four times in four months, twice sprayed thoroughly with anti peck and still they peck at her and she just races around before cowering in a corner or somewhere out of their reach and they still seek her out to attack her. But if she is on a perch I have actually seen the other chickens standing beneath her and jumping up trying to grab at her feet like shes some sort of toy.

    I really want her back in the flock. I've tried socializing her, extending the run and coop so that it is three times as large (about 20ft for 8 chickens with tunnels and 3 separate areas) building up her confidence and making her taste foul. Nothing has had the end result of her going back into the flock and now she just wanders around the garden with the two dogs.

    She is much more confident now than the shivering, screaming wreck that she was 4 months ago. I'm worried that she has had permanent mental scarring. She is just terrified of the other birds when she knows that they can reach her.

    The last time I tried introducing her was yesterday afternoon and that is why I'm now on here seeking assistance.
    As soon as I put her in, she freaked and began charging around in a wild panic and the other birds immediately laid into her, kicking and pecking at her like she was an object or live food.
    I culled one of the two cockerels today, is now a good time to reintroduce her as the pecking order will change?
    I can't start a second flock and her genetics are valuable to my mutt line that I'm breeding for us. I'm trying to breed small dual purpose birds since their are only two people in our household. Our other hens are a leghorn, a medium mutt, an EE, the pekin bantam and a then there are the second generation of birds. My pekin cross rooster that I culled this morning had an impressive amount of meat for his size, so I am pleased so far. It was much better than the amount of meat that you would find on a pure pekin bantam cockerel. I've kept the larger cockerel back for breeding.

    [​IMG]
    The wound from the other chickens was weeping and bleeding so I treated her with poultry antibacterial powder.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Her father - wish I'd kept him now, he was always such a sweet boy.


    [​IMG]

    Hazel in the house

    [​IMG]
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    OH, that's the one thing I don't like about chickens. They can be so violent with eachother. I personally would just let her do what is comfortable and sleep with the dogs, and be the mascott. I do have another idea though.....Maybe down the road, when you get some more new, younger chickens, you could put her with them, and allow them to become their own little flock before integrating them with the main flock. That way, she would have a whole group to be with when she is integrated.

    I just think it would be a death sentence to put her back in there alone.....Maybe she won't be so noticed if you added her with a group of other newbies.....
     
  3. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    What if you select a hen from your flock and keep her and the pullet together a few weeks to bond, and then reintroduce the pair... Perhaps the medium mutt. Good luck.
     
  4. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've tried keeping her alone with various hens and they behave the same way towards her as they would in the coop. I'm not looking to get any new chickens for a few years because I've planned the flock to be sustainable for the foreseeable future.

    The eggs in the flock were deliberately from different breeders so the chickens are mostly unrelated and it will be a long time before any inbreeding begins.

    The thing is, in the dog kennel:

    A. She isn't contributing anything genetically.

    B. Our dogs steal chicken eggs when they can and I'm ready to bet she lays her eggs right on their paws every morning when she's older.
     
  5. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Hmmm, any chance on putting her with a roo?
    Also I use roll away nest to stop the dogs from egg thieving, also a Dutch door on the coop.
    Another thought is kenning her in the coop or run, maybe it's her flighty behaviour that's perpetuating the bullying. If kennelled no one can hurt her and perhaps she'd calm down and also the other birds would get over whatever their problem is... This is a tough one. Beak clipping... Not ideal, or those chicken glasses/blinders?
    Some sort of association training? Lots of treat for her and them, after the treats are done remove her and repeat leaving her longer each time... So maybe everyone associates her with treats and she the other birds with treats....
    Also do you keep quail? Or are the wild?
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I know that you say you want to keep her, but really for whatever reason, she is not fitting into your flock. I would cull her, I like a peaceful flock. I think you get better weight, and better eggs when the flock is settled. I think you have given this a fair run for the money, and it is just not working. Let her go.

    Mrs k
     
  7. beegirl4

    beegirl4 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a hen who is very similar to yours. She runs around like a lunatic when she is with the other birds. If she is in the coop, she literally throws herself against the door. She wants to sleep in a tree by our front door and I have to force her into the coop at night when the others are asleep. The only one she is fine with is my roo. [​IMG] It's making me crazy....
     

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