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One Breed is being pecked

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ssines, May 6, 2011.

  1. ssines

    ssines New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2011
    we have a 25 mixed breed egg layers. They are 19 weeks old this week. We have four breeds: Buff Orpington, RI Red, Barred Rock and Araucana. This week they started pecking the Araucanas. One was pecked to death today and all the others of this breed were also pecked. i spayed them all with blu-kote and seperated them from the others. in total there are 5 of this breed remaining. a few other things i want to mention: we got our first egg today, and it was a blue/green one from one of the Araucanas. Also, the chicks were confined to the henhouse for about 10 days while we were out of town and a friend was watching them.

    Is this normal? was it boredom? will i be able to put the pecked birds back? is there something about this breed that is causing the others to peck only them? any advice is appreciated. Thanks,
     
  2. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2011
    Sumter, South Carolina
    I don't know how big an Araucana gets, but I've got the same mix as you minus the Araucanas. Instead, I ended up with one Buff Cochin Bantam out of a mixed breed box at our local Tractor Supply Company (TSC). My wife and kids really think the Cochin is cute with it's fuzzy feet/legs...I must admit that I've kinda grown a liking to her too! Well, I noticed that she's the most picked on of all my birds and clearly at the bottom of the "totem pole" amongst the other "giants" around her. Besides, I've found my RIR and Barred Rocks to be fairly aggressive towards everyone (including each other). The Cochin is healthy and does not appear hurt, but she is often alone in the run. When everyone else is roosting tightly together, this poor girl looks like an outcast lying on the ground by herself (and she can easily get up on the roosting bars cause I've seen her up there by herself before). I also wonder sometime if the ornamentals aren't just picked on by the heritage breeds because they're different or something. I read elsewhere here on BYC tonight that some folks are having trouble with their Americaunas beards getting pulled out by the other chickens... Sadly, from what I read and observe, some chickens have similar bad attitudes like some human gang banger or something. [​IMG]
     
  3. BANTAMWYANDOTTE

    BANTAMWYANDOTTE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 2, 2011
    Kentucky
    Quote:The one thing that stands out to me , is you have all brown egg layer....except the Araucana's. I hate to hear that you lost one [​IMG]. So sad to loose one that young. I have some advice for you to avoid this problem: ASSUMING YOU HAVE MOSTLY HENS

    a.) They are estabilishing a "pecking order" This allow the more domaniant (likely the RIR, they are known to be agressive) to assert themselves as flock leaders. The best way to control this is to find a slightly bigger Rooster and put him in with your girls. Roosters are sometimes dispuited by hens but often will control this issue quickly.

    b.) I would also add a higher protien feed, the more agressive chicks may have a lack of protien causing them to peck out the others feathers. (This can also lead to egg-eating) I would switch to a higher protien feed and offer free choice Oyster Shells as well. The time has come for most of them to start laying. I would say within about six weeks they will be laying for you and because egg-eating is a learned behaviour, I would make sure a lack of protien is not a possiblity

    c.) I would keep the Araucana's seperate until they are all about 25 weeks of age. You have selected a good variety of hens but be warned the RIR are agressive towards less domiant hens. Your Araucana's are among the friendliest chicken you have and will not do well with the RIR unless they are free-ranged and the slender Araucana's can get away. The docile nature of this breed is likely the reason. RIR often become more agressive when confined.

    d.) I would really consider re-homing the most agressive chicks. One loss is one too many over an angry chick wanting out. I would not lose another chick due to bordem or whatever the cause. I would stand gaurd and personally remove the most agressive hens in the lot.

    e.) If you already have a rooster and he was in with them at the time of loss, then I would consider another , more dominant breed of rooster. If the rooster was there and watched one of his hens get kille by the others, he is not doing his job properly. I would recommend either a New Hampshire Rooster or a Production Red Rooster to replace him with. Either will outgrown your hens quickly and will take over the new pecking order
     
  4. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2011
    Sumter, South Carolina
    Quote:The one thing that stands out to me , is you have all brown egg layer....except the Araucana's. I hate to hear that you lost one [​IMG]. So sad to loose one that young. I have some advice for you to avoid this problem: ASSUMING YOU HAVE MOSTLY HENS

    a.) They are estabilishing a "pecking order" This allow the more domaniant (likely the RIR, they are known to be agressive) to assert themselves as flock leaders. The best way to control this is to find a slightly bigger Rooster and put him in with your girls. Roosters are sometimes dispuited by hens but often will control this issue quickly.

    b.) I would also add a higher protien feed, the more agressive chicks may have a lack of protien causing them to peck out the others feathers. (This can also lead to egg-eating) I would switch to a higher protien feed and offer free choice Oyster Shells as well. The time has come for most of them to start laying. I would say within about six weeks they will be laying for you and because egg-eating is a learned behaviour, I would make sure a lack of protien is not a possiblity

    c.) I would keep the Araucana's seperate until they are all about 25 weeks of age. You have selected a good variety of hens but be warned the RIR are agressive towards less domiant hens. Your Araucana's are among the friendliest chicken you have and will not do well with the RIR unless they are free-ranged and the slender Araucana's can get away. The docile nature of this breed is likely the reason. RIR often become more agressive when confined.

    d.) I would really consider re-homing the most agressive chicks. One loss is one too many over an angry chick wanting out. I would not lose another chick due to bordem or whatever the cause. I would stand gaurd and personally remove the most agressive hens in the lot.

    e.) If you already have a rooster and he was in with them at the time of loss, then I would consider another , more dominant breed of rooster. If the rooster was there and watched one of his hens get kille by the others, he is not doing his job properly. I would recommend either a New Hampshire Rooster or a Production Red Rooster to replace him with. Either will outgrown your hens quickly and will take over the new pecking order

    Very nice and informative post!! Thank you for sharing! [​IMG]
     
  5. BANTAMWYANDOTTE

    BANTAMWYANDOTTE Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    10
    121
    Mar 2, 2011
    Kentucky
    Quote:The one thing that stands out to me , is you have all brown egg layer....except the Araucana's. I hate to hear that you lost one [​IMG]. So sad to loose one that young. I have some advice for you to avoid this problem: ASSUMING YOU HAVE MOSTLY HENS

    a.) They are estabilishing a "pecking order" This allow the more domaniant (likely the RIR, they are known to be agressive) to assert themselves as flock leaders. The best way to control this is to find a slightly bigger Rooster and put him in with your girls. Roosters are sometimes dispuited by hens but often will control this issue quickly.

    b.) I would also add a higher protien feed, the more agressive chicks may have a lack of protien causing them to peck out the others feathers. (This can also lead to egg-eating) I would switch to a higher protien feed and offer free choice Oyster Shells as well. The time has come for most of them to start laying. I would say within about six weeks they will be laying for you and because egg-eating is a learned behaviour, I would make sure a lack of protien is not a possiblity

    c.) I would keep the Araucana's seperate until they are all about 25 weeks of age. You have selected a good variety of hens but be warned the RIR are agressive towards less domiant hens. Your Araucana's are among the friendliest chicken you have and will not do well with the RIR unless they are free-ranged and the slender Araucana's can get away. The docile nature of this breed is likely the reason. RIR often become more agressive when confined.

    d.) I would really consider re-homing the most agressive chicks. One loss is one too many over an angry chick wanting out. I would not lose another chick due to bordem or whatever the cause. I would stand gaurd and personally remove the most agressive hens in the lot.

    e.) If you already have a rooster and he was in with them at the time of loss, then I would consider another , more dominant breed of rooster. If the rooster was there and watched one of his hens get kille by the others, he is not doing his job properly. I would recommend either a New Hampshire Rooster or a Production Red Rooster to replace him with. Either will outgrown your hens quickly and will take over the new pecking order

    Very nice and informative post!! Thank you for sharing! [​IMG]

    Thank you for the complament. I try to give as much help as I can to anyone who asks for it.
     
  6. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2008
    Tennessee
    The minute I read the breeds you have, I stopped (so as not to see which breed was being pecked) and said to myself "I KNOW which breed is being bullied... it will be the Auracanas."


    Then I went on to read the next line, and sure enough, I was right.


    I've had most of those breeds before, and Ameraucanas and Auracanas tend to be among the meekest and most friendly chickens around.


    That makes them popular choices with the human flock masters, but sets them up to be bullied by more dominant breeds.


    I will not even have a RIR anymore -- they are too aggressive, IMHO. They are GREAT layers, and if you are going to have a flock of ONLY RIRs, then have at it.


    But when I had RIRs, they bullied everybody else, and there was not peace in the henhouse until I finally removed the four RIRs.
     
  7. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    ugh... this message thread is very informative to me too. I have EE's and they are the smallest of the flock..the ones having most of the feather plucking problems I am dealing with. And sigh... my big reds are the bullies. Dang they are so sweet to me but definitely at the top of the pecking order. My reds have kicked everyone else out of the hen house. Tho there is plenty of room they will not let anyone else stay inside at night.
    I did not know this was a breed trait with RIR.
    Just have to make sure there is lots of room for my EE's to dodge the bullies.
     
  8. zoo357

    zoo357 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2011
    NW Indiana
    I have to say, this helped me as well. Thanks for the great advice.
    I don't have Araucanas but the ones that were being picked on were my Brahma's. I did watch to see who was pdoing all the pecking and it was one that we think is a Barred Rock Mix and they seem to rule the red's they are with but haven't pecked them (they are all the same age).
    And like you Christie, my reds love me....
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yes, some breeds are more docile, but nobody seems to be focusing on the fact that the OP mentioned they had been confined to the henhouse for TEN days. Unless your henhouse is HUGE...like 250 sq. ft or more, I'd say THIS was the problem. Birds confined to small spaces will become bored and testy, and then you will see more aggression.
    That's why so many people recommend ample space, both in the housing and run, because many end up with aggression issues in winter time, when birds are more typically contained/confined indoors.
     
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    That's what really jumped out at me, too. The confinement. Chickens confined to a coop 24 hours a day need the same space as you allow for a run and most people don't have anywhere near that amount of space in their coop. It's one thing to do it for a day, but 10 days is a long time.

    As for breed, the one time I had a problem, it was the EEs I had that were the aggressors. In my case, I think they were mixed with something more aggressive. Sometimes it just depends on the bloodlines in particular breeds, too. I've seen people post about RIR or wyandottes that were either the nicest chickens in their flock or aggressive.

    At this point, I would try giving them as much space as possible, as many activities as possible, more than one feeder, more than one waterer, foraging activities, redo their living area and keep an eye on them. To redo their living area, I would try to not have it just be one plain space, where the bullied victims are always in sight. If you add shelves, platforms or mini room dividers, it breaks up the visual space so they aren't always in each other's space. This is most helpful for chickens confined to enclosed spaces. Chickens that are free ranging can usually get away from each other. Make sure they're getting enough high quality protein, too. Especially while you're working through the problem.

    Peepers can also be placed on chickens that are pecking each other. You could also try that. Some people take the victims out of the flock and some people take the more aggressive chickens out of the flock. If nothing else works for you, you may have to choose.
     

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