My girls are sooo mean! I need your help to protect my new Roo

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chirpy, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    A couple of weeks ago my girls started to peck at three of the lower status hens. They put a hole in the top of the tail area of one girl and took the neck feathers off two others. I believe that my hen house is too small for the nine of them - they are too crowded. (It's 7x5 and I have nine hens in there. Three of the hens are smaller than a standard size so I was hoping things would be Ok but with the snow we've been getting there have been many days where they wouldn't come out the pophole door because of the weather. Normally they are outside all day in a very large run or free ranging. These injuries are always happening at nighttime.)

    I've heard that Roosters will often stop hens from messing with each other. Our first (and only) Roo was great at that and protecting his flock. He was rehomed due to aggressively attacking my children. I found a Silky Roo yesterday for free. He was supposed to be a she but started crowing and the lady already had one or two Roos who were starting to attack this one so she couldn't keep him.

    I decided to add yet one more chicken to my small hen house hoping that he would stop the girls from fighting amongst themselves. He is the smallest of my flock but not a lot smaller than the others.

    I introduced him while in a dog crate for a while and then let him out with the girls while they were outside yesterday. Most of my girls ignored him but my hen who took over when our Rooster left took issue with him and attacked. He valiantly fought back - feet to feet in the air. BUT, he backed down first. He spent the rest of yesterday running away from the girls.

    I was quite concerned about him last night. I went out this morning and found him cowering in a nest box with a big hole of feathers pecked out of his tail. It's all bloody. We've medicated it and are keeping an eye on him.

    Here's my question: Should I give him some more time here to see if he will 'buck up' and become a man. Or, do I take him back to his former home (she said she'd take him back). I don't want him to be injured worst but am hoping he might stand up for himself. I need any/all advice you can offer. Thanks.
     
  2. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    I have had a few silkies in the past some won't fight back! I would bring him back!

    I would think you need to fix the problem first!
    If it is space:
    Is there any way of covering the run with tarps or plastic to make it so they can use in snow?

    Do they have enough roosting space?

    Are they getting enough fat in diet?
    this happened to a friends chicks (they gave them suet & it really stopped)
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    RChicks: Good questions - I'll answer and see if you can help me figure this out.

    Even if there's no snow on the ground the girls won't go out if it's cold and windy (which it is here often). I don't have a tarp on top but might try that to see if it would help them want to go out more.

    Their roost space was enough when I had my other Rooster (and he was a big Australorp boy) so I don't think that's it but my DH is going to add another roost today or this week.

    They get free choice of layer pellets, crack (every morning and night in the winter) and have access to oyster shell and, of course, water.

    Where do I get suet?
     
  4. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    walmart

    or just give them meat scraps whole cheese anything!
     
  5. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    For indoor/outdoor standard size chickens, the recommendation is 4 sq ft of space in the coop per bird. Your coop allows that much space for 8.75 birds.

    For chickens that live strictly inside, the recommendation is 10 sq ft per bird. Your coop has adequate space for 3.5 standard size chickens who don't go outside because of the weather.

    Your new roo is at the bottom of the pecking order. He also has the disadvantage of not looking like a "real" chicken, which could be a problem for hens that already want the coop to themselves.
     
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    This is just my opinion, and probably won't be very popular.

    You need a bigger roo. [​IMG]

    If you still want to give the little guy a try, remove the dominant hen and keep her seperated for a few days. This will reshuffle the pecking order and allow the little guy a chance to take charge.

    Then reintroduce the hen.
     
  7. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    RoosterRed - I totally agree after watching this dude ... I need a bigger Roo ... like the size of a Rottweiler.[​IMG]

    Because I know that my space is tight I was willing to give this guy a try because:
    1) He was smaller,
    2) Most people with Silkie Roos say they are not aggressive to people and my children are in with our chickens everyday loving on them.

    I do like your idea of separating the dominant hen. I'm going to give that a try, I just have to figure out where to keep her for a few days as I only have one hen house/run.

    Although I may very likely have to return this guy (I really, really like him - he's sooo cute and sweet.) I don't want to send him back with missing tail feathers and a bloody spot so I should probably get him healed up... I don't know how long that will take. The girls left him completely alone today while they were all outside. I separated him tonight so they can't pick on him overnight.

    I really appreciate your guys help with this.
     

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