Older Hen Flogs Pullet for Submitting to Roo

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Leslieb118, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an older hen that will not squat for their Roo. She squawks, puts up a fight and runs away. On the other hand, I have a newly matured EE pullet that just started laying this week. She was squatting for a couple of weeks before that. She is very quiet and will squat for the Roo when he shows interest in her. The past few days I've noticed that when she does, the top hen in the pecking order literally goes after her making it a very unpleasant experience. This morning I opened the coop door to let them out and I noticed the younger one had a swollen eye. I thought at first she may be getting sick. So I picked her up to look it over and when I set her back down, the Roo came after her. She squatted for him, but Big Mama came right over and attacked her, causing her eye to be bloody. I came in the house to get some things to clean it up, and put a very light coating of Neosporin on it, as that is all I have right at the moment. My question is, is this normal?? I feel so sorry for my little one! She is so well behaved and sweet. Seems to be doing the right thing when it comes to the Roo, put being bullied for doing so!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It sounds like you have an immature rooster. He is mature enough that the pullet is happy with him, but the older hen has not submitted to him. The older hen probably considers herself the dominant chicken in the flock and the rooster has not yet matured enough to kick her off the throne and take over himself. If he is already a mature rooster, then he may never be able to dominate her, but I've never experienced that.

    What she is doing is a dominance thing. I've seen the dominant hen in a flock that did not have a dominant rooster actually mount a pullet and touch vents. When my immature rooster grew up, he put a stop to that behavior. But it took a while for him to mature enough to dominate the older hen.

    When you put the pullet down and the rooster immediately tried to mate her was him showing that he is dominant over her. The hen then showed she is dominant over both.

    I may be totally misguessing your situation. You can try separating the older hen from the flock for a week or so and see if this knocks her down in the pecking order. Since the pullet is getting hurt, you proably need to keep them apart for a while.

    Good luck! Hope this helps a bit.
     
  3. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you hit the nail right on the head Ridgerunner, thanks! The Roo is the same age, approximately, as the Pullet. He is the one that made the "cut" so to speak, when I was getting rid of the roosters that grew up with him. He has some serious "swagger", which impresses even me! But not so much the older hen. I do think I'm going to try to separate her for a little while to see how that turns out. The young one shouldn't have to get hurt like that. Thanks again!!
     
  4. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, so about separating this bad girl.. she's going to chicken jail in a 2 1/2' x 2 1/2' hardware cloth cage. My question now is, do I put her in the cage IN the coop/run with the others? Or should I put her in the garage totally away from the others? I was going to do this yesterday but ended up having to leave until after dark. I let them out again this morning and my youngster was in a nesting box with her face in the corner looking like she had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson! I caught the older one trying to go after her again this evening, for no apparent reason now other than she's showing weakness so I grabbed her and tossed her aside. Had to do that twice before she took her spot on the roost. I felt the young ones crop and she has been eating. She just looks really beat up and won't come out of the coop. So, yeah..long story short, sorry...keep the older one in jail in the coop, or way out of the way? Thanks for any help!!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I would totally separate her so she is "new" to the flock when you introduce her. Hopefully she will be too busy earning her place back in the pecking order she'll not concentrate ont hat one pullet. Some of them never get all the way back as high as they were.
     
  6. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again Ridgerunner! My son is bringing home some pallets from work, so we're going to throw those together to have something a little bigger for her than that cage we built for the chicks last year. I'm going to have to get the young one out to clean her up though. She's been standing in that nest box constantly except to sneak down and eat something and she's had her tail down. Her rear end is a little messy now. I'm starting to wonder if something else is going on now. She hasn't laid an egg in 2 days, since this all started. She acted like she wanted to on Saturday, but everytime she moved around, she got punished! She had just started laying on the 15th. I've been scared to pick her up because I don't want the rooster going after her when I put her back down. I'm almost tempted to isolate her, but I don't want her to be reintroduced and end up at the bottom of the pecking order. She's the 2nd in line still (of the hens). My golden comets don't mess with anyone. I've got all day today to spend with her to figure something out. DH is gone to work, so if I bring a chicken in the house to take a bath nobody will be the wiser! [​IMG]
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I would isolate the bully now. She'll be fine in the cage until you get her bigger residence built. Bring the younger girl inside and treat her to a nice warm bath, a blow dry, some TLC and some tastey treats. Then return her to the flock. Continue on as planned, build the bigger coop and let her serve her time. I would do the isolation in the coop though. It makes it click for them a little more when they can see the offensive behavior and can't do anything to stop it. She'll trry and try and try and then eventually her little chicken brain will realize she can't stop what's happening. Good luck, sorry about your poor pullet.
     
  8. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies! I gave my pullet a "spa day" followed by a boiled egg with shell, chopped up, a teeny bit of scratch and some water. She ate some of the egg, none of the scratch, but drank a lot of water. She then got to walk around the yard a little, but with her eyes puffy, wanted to make her way back down to the coop. So she's there now with the rest of the flock with the bully hen in chicken jail being humiliated right in front of them all. I'll try it this way for a little while to see if I need to move her further away. I'm kind of leaning towards the humiliation route so she can see that things will go on whether she likes it or not. My pullet isn't being very submissive to the roo now, so we'll have to see how that one goes as well. In the meantime, we'll be building a larger "jail" out of the pallets my son brings home from work. I'm hoping that something larger will keep her laying her eggs, although I'm not holding my breath on that one for sure!!
    It's hard to see her in the pic because she's all black, but she's there and they're staring at her saying "nanny nanny boo boo" LOL
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, chicken jail didn't last very long. It's turned into a chicken hospital. What started out as bullying has now turned into something else for my little pullet, I think. I cleaned out the jail, and restocked with paper and straw, and put my pullet in it and brought her in the garage. This morning both eyes were kind of stuck shut. She came out of the coop, but when the rooster came after her, she tried to jump back in 3 times and missed. I washed her eyes out with an eye wash, and put some vetericyn gel on both. When I was doing that, I noticed a little crust on her nostril. I kept a warm damp paper towel on that until I could get it off, and there was a little bit of mucous underneath. Nobody else has these symptoms. I do know that it started with bullying as I watched it happen and the hen went right for the pullets eye. I do have some Duramycin that I can put in her water. She drank the water that I put vitamins in, so I'm sure she'll drink it. Just not sure if I should put her on that if it's not a contagious type of infection. I don't want to give her unnecessary antibiotics is basically what I'm saying. Any ideas?



    ETA: Son had truck issues last night, so wasn't able to bring pallets home from work. I'll get them today and will have both a jail and hospital.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  10. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Probably for the best that you swapped them out. Let the EE pullet recover and then try chicken jail for the bully. If she took some damage to the eyes, they're probably just draining. I think the nostril crust is related to her injury. Keep her eyes free of crust and baby her for a few days. Good luck, hope she's feeling better soon!
     

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