*Need Advice* One chicken in the flock is being attacked by the others

jewel1

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 2, 2012
151
8
94
Hi All..

I have a flock of 4 hens that are about 1 year old. They've always gotten along well, though one of the more dominant ones (Doodle) tends to jump on the others when she thinks they are doing something 'wrong'. All 4 hens have seemed healthy and happy, and while they are in a run most of the day when I'm at work, the free-range in the morning/evenings and all day on the weekends...so I'm hoping they aren't too bored.

On Sunday, they were all 'friends' in the morning, then I left them in the run for 2 hours while I went out. When I returned, one hen (Roxy) had been horribly pecked by the others...with most of the feathers missing from her neck and head. She was panting and stressed out..and later laid a weird egg that broke easily that I assume was a stress egg. I cleaned her up and tried to reduce any signs of redness so the others won't peck at it. I've also pretty much left them outside for the last two days (other than roosting at night) so Roxy can keep herself as isolated as she wants and run away if needed. Two of the hens, Doodle and Scully, keep going after her when she tries to get close to eat or just be with the flock. Doodle basically mounts her back and rips her feathers out.

I 've heard hens will go after a sick hen...but Roxy doesn't seem sick to me...except that since the attack, she's had runny poo. Of course, she is stressed and it's hot outside, so I'm not sure if that could be causing that symptom.

I don't really have a good way to isolate her from the flock other than put her in a large dog crate in my house (or next to the run). Does anyone have any ideas about how to stop agressive pecking by the others? Would it help to remove one of the agressors from the flock for a day or two? Would that reestablish the pecking order enough to calm things down? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!

Julie
 

Johnn

Crowing
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
8,670
653
346
To prevent her from being injured you can put Vaseline on her comb (to stop them getting grip), you can also get anti-peck spray. If I was you, I would remove the two bullies for a few days, then re-introduce one on one day and the other a day or two after. Hopefully your girls will calm down after that, it might readjust the pecking order. I think that's what its supposed to do (separating them), I have never had to do it before but I have seen other suggest it all the time. Good Luck!
 

jewel1

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 2, 2012
151
8
94
Thanks for the reply...I think I'll try that.

I read somewhere that spraying vinegar on the spot they are pecking may stop them for awhile (because of the bad taste?) Has anyone had luck with that? (I was thinking of trying it until I can get the no-peck spray)
 

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