Mama hen pecking chicks + other weird behaviour

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by siobhan47, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. siobhan47

    siobhan47 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    Hiya. I have two 10 week old wee girls that I hatched under my broody hen. This is the second time she has hatched eggs but the first time the only chick turned out to be a roo so we had to say goodbye to him after four months. This time I had seven eggs hatch and only parted with five of the chicks a couple of weeks ago. My total flock is Mama chicken and the two chicks.

    Since then Mama has been acting strangely. She started doing the "egg squat" and started laying again, but she has become extremely vocal - she never used to be so loud and I'm unsure why this is happening? Can hens be in heat lol? When she squats and I scratch her back she sticks her butt up in the air like she thinks I'm a rooster. I've had her for a year and she never let me touch her much before but now it's almost like she's obsessed with me.

    She has also become very aggressive towards the 10 week old chicks. She's started pecking them and chasing them. Like really going for them, not just a little peck. Is this normal dominance behaviour or should I be concerned? She never did this with the first chick that I hatched from her. I only noticed this behaviour for the first time today and I was so worried that I separated them when I shut them in their coop for the night.

    I'm new to all this and have so much to learn so any advice is greatly appreciated! :)
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's normal for her to peck her chicks to chase them away when she stops being a mama and returns to laying and the flock. The other changes will be causing her some stress, so her behavior may be somewhat off for a while. As for the chicks getting pecked, you should proably try to detrmine just how hard it is -- whether it draws blood -- and let it happen if possible. It would be a good idea to leave them together so you won't have integration problems later. Things like a separate food and water station, extra space and some hiding places could help a lot. They might even need a place to escape with too small an entrance for her to follow. If they choose to sleep on the floor instead of the roost for a while, I wouldn't discourage this, I would just give them a little extra hay for a bed. If they choose a nest bos, you may have to block it off at night for a while.

    Hope things work out OK!
     
  3. siobhan47

    siobhan47 Out Of The Brooder

    16
    4
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    Jul 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    She is pulling feathers but haven't seen any blood yet so as long as it's normal will try to stop worrying.

    HOWEVER, I just cleaned out the coop and found it infested with the dreaded red mites :(
    I don't really know what to do now... thinking it's easier to get a whole new coop but until then don't know where I can keep them. Ugh so annoyed/upset :(
     

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