New owners chicken bullying issues. Help and advice, please.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by milniesmum, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. milniesmum

    milniesmum New Egg

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    May 30, 2014
    Bucks Cross, Devon. UK
    Hello lovely people at BYC

    I'm quite new to the whole hen keeping thing. We used to have hens when i was a child, but lots of years have passed since then, and ive only just got round to having the space to get some for myself.

    We originally had 4 hybrids who came at the same time and got on well, we then acquired some "rescue hens" whiich arrived about 2-3 months ago. There are only 2 and they both arrived looking a bit bald and bedraggled. We kept them separate from our other girls, but so they could see one another and run alongside each other with just wire in between.

    Unfortunately one of the rescue birds went lame, she got over it after a couple of weeks, by which time we slowly integrated all the birds. There didnt seem to be any issues and feathers were growing back fine. The girl who had been lame didn't seem to hang round close to the rest of the flock, but there were no problems and they all seemed to be ok together.

    A couple of days ago when I let them free in the morning I found that my previously-lame, rescue bird had been pecked mercilessly and not only had her new feathers been pulled out, but blood had been drawn. I have been keeping a close eye on proceedings and the other birds really seem to have suddenly developed an issue with her. Does this seem to be cannibalism, pecking order establishment or something else to those of you with more experience than me??

    I have put up cabbages for pecking and there are roosts etc throughout their extensive run. I don't think it is boredom (although it may have been when the initial pecking started overnight in the coop?) On one of the other threads someone recommends bag balm and a friend of mine has kindly knitted my girls some jumpers (we're in the UK so autumn is in full swing) Would it be worth sticking a jumper on her to keep her covered (and warm)? Could that prevent the pecking?

    All ideas gratefully received.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I think that you are correct in that it may have started with boredom. It's at the point now where blood has been drawn, and they LIKE it. If they were mine, I would separate out the two rescue hens until they are finished with the molt and then reintroduce them to the flock.
     
  3. dragonbabyx3

    dragonbabyx3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2014
    Not sure if you have blukote, but if you do I would try that! It helps to hide the areas where she has been pecked, and the others may not notice it as much. also I would quarantine her for now, still to where they can see her, but keep her separate from the rest of the flock until she heals.
     
  4. milniesmum

    milniesmum New Egg

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    May 30, 2014
    Bucks Cross, Devon. UK
    Thankyou. I don't know if we do get blukote. i will look it up and see if I can source any. I'm a bit worried about quarantining her as they are still so new to the group, but I guess if the others can still see her it will be ok?
     
  5. milniesmum

    milniesmum New Egg

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    May 30, 2014
    Bucks Cross, Devon. UK
    I tried blukote and bag balm but poor Verna was still getting pecked to bits. I've separated her from the others now and although they can all still see each other, she couldn't be less interested in them really.
    She seems much happier and her feathers are already coming back. She likes having access to our kitchen and seems happy hanging out with my manky old cat!
    To be honest I have no intention of putting her back with the others but am wondering if that is cruel?
     

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