** Once pecking (and picking) on a hen starts, will the flock ever welcome her back?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mariel37, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. mariel37

    mariel37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Ocala
    Have 7 hens, 1 rooster in my flock.

    Here's my QUESTION: Once a member of the flock is deemed "sick" or "weak" and the others peck at her, and once the hen is healthy again, does the flock quit picking on her?


    While letting them out of the run to free-range a few days ago, I looked out the window and saw the rooster hop on one of the Buff Orpington hens - not the "good" hop - but like he jumped on her just to be mean, then he walked away.

    She and the other Buff Orpington seem to be his "favorites" to mate with, judging from all the ruffled feathers and down on their backs.

    After the rooster jumoed off, ther Silver Lace Wyandotte started chasing her all around.

    The victim was very fluffed up - never seen one of them with feathers almost sticking straight out ...

    Upon picking her up and shooing everybody away, when she would breath in, there was a bit of a whistle sound. Then looking at her back, there was a hole an inch or so in front of the tail head ... it looked like it was scabbing over but still a little bit "wet."

    We've been keeping the victim separate from the flock, but so she can see them and still feel like they are there.

    Two days ago we let her and our EE, who was hanging around the outside of the run and seemed interested in the victim, meet in the doorway - IMMEDIATELY the EE attacked the Buff Orp and there was a very short scuffle where I intervened.

    Yesterday, my son let everybody get together at dusk as everyone was coming in to the coop to go to bed. He watched them for about 5 minutes and nobody did anything.

    Then our Gold Wyandotte took a peck at the hen, which made her get all puffed up again, and my son intervened.


    And we are treating the entire flock with Dynamicin 10 - the whistling hen still sounds a bit garbly in her noises (like chest congestion) but other than that, she eats and acts just fine. I am concerned for her safety, yet it is difficult to let her get out and exercised in shuffling everybody around.

    Thanks,
    Beth
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Strasburg Ohio
    That can be a tricky situation. When you take the sick or wounded hen out of the flock to heal and recover, then once she goes back in, she will be treated as a new hen and the pecking will begin. I would have her recover in isolation, and then once she's really strong again, I would let her free range with the flock. Maybe put a hen saddle on her to protect her back when she goes out with the others......

    It's really difficult.....The only thing I don't like about chickens is how they can sometimes be so ruthless to eachother.....

    Good luck. I think you're doing the best you can at this point,

    Sharon

    Oh, and those hen saddles are great! I bought a few from another BYC member. Someone is always selling them. You could actually put on on each of your hens with the raggedy looking backs. They really do help the gals grow their feathers back.
     
  3. mariel37

    mariel37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2011
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    Sharon - thank you for your response.

    A hen saddle, hhhmmm? I may have to do that, because Liza (our surprise rooster, hence the name) does seem to go after those two more than anyone else.

    Just about 10 minutes ago, we took Lucy (the victim) out of the coop/run and let HER free-range, and everybody else is in the run giving her the stink eye.

    We did let her other B.O. friend, Ginger, out with her and they are doing fine. Those two came to our home together at 2-days old, so they are pretty tight. I'm watching them out of my home office window and they are pecking away at bugs.

    This makes me happy. It is quite the dance - Lucy in the coop by herself, everybody else in the run. Lucy in the coop and run, everybody else outside. Lucy in the "infirmary" - our wire-fenced storage area - and everybody else in the coop/run.

    **song and dance** [​IMG]
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    haha! That is very smart of you, to let the two hens that are friendly out to free range together and keep the bullies inside!
     

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