Multiple hens attacking one hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by arfdolph12, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. arfdolph12

    arfdolph12 In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2015
    Antioch, California
    2 days ago I noticed that a whole host of my hens started attacking one of my 2 year old hens. My existing flock of 7 hens have been together in a coop for over a year. The hens jump on top of the victim (even the one on the bottom of pecking order), one tries to bite her neck and the others seem to join in. I am wondering if the attackers sense or smell an illness or sickness or virus or some other malady on the victim. 3 months ago I found one hen near death, took her to a bird doctor and had to put her to sleep. The vet wanted to do an autopsy to see if she had some kind of illness. It cost me $72 just to put her asleep, but with a $4 bird, I didn't want to spend the extra money. That's why I think my victim hen has some type of disease or virus. There is something (her smell perhaps) about the victim wherein the others are getting really bad vibes and are attacking. An thoughts? Thank you.
  2. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Crossing the Road

    Mar 21, 2016
    Maricopa, AZ. (near Phoenix)
    I would separate the victim from the rest of the flock, before she get's seriously hurt.
  3. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    If you lose this one, find out where to send the carcass - I think state veterinary labs can do that at a much better price. If you have an illness or virus- you need to know and figure out how to keep the rest of your flock safe. Did you take her out?

    Feel her over. Is she skinny? Does her breastbone feel like a knife? Does she have any water in her abdomen? How does her vent look? Clear or icky? Any injuries?

    If her flockmates are beating on her, she needs to be taken out of there unless you want her beaten to death. Whatever's going on, it's not good. Sometimes chickens get started in on something and then mob mentality takes over- and they fixate on that animal. My least favorite part of owning chickens- though I've never experienced what you're talking about.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I would also put the instigators into chicken jail( separate cages with food and water,) and leave them there for a few days. When they rejoin the flock, they will be considered outsiders and subject to bullying themselves.
    Shezadandy, ChickNanny13 and BlueBaby like this.
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Yes chickens do sense illness and disease and will try to drive a sick bird out of the flock. If they are penned and the sick bird cannot get away, then she will be mobbed and could be killed. Are you seeing any symptoms of illness? Check her over well as has been suggested and come back to us with any symptoms. She will need to be kept separate with her own food and water, ideally within sight of the others but I appreciate this may not always be possible. A large cardboard box with holes punched in it can be used as a temporary holding pen for the ostracised bird until you can get or make a cage, but do not leave her in the pen to be pecked to death.
    Shezadandy, Wyorp Rock and BY Bob like this.

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