One bullied hen - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rossco17, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. rossco17

    rossco17 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a new chicken owner and I have a flock of 6 hens (2 black australorps, 2 golden comets, 1 RIR, 1 buff orp). I bought them all at the same time when they were 2 weeks old. They are now 10 weeks old and I noticed today that one of the black australorps is being pecked in the same spot by all the other chickens - just in passing - peck peck. It's brutal! The spot is now featherless and bloody. Why are they doing that? The coop and run are plenty big enough. But the run floor is sand, so perhaps there isn't a lot to do? I can't allow them to free range as we live in a neighborhood with houses all around and no fences to separate.

    My questions are:
    1) How do I care for the bullied chicken's wound?
    2) Should I separate the bullied chicken? Not sure how I can do that, but I'll figure it out if it's short term.
    3) How can i prevent this from happening more? Currently the feeder is in the coop and they spend all day, every day in their run... should I move the feeder outside so maybe they'll eat instead of bully?

    The other thing is, we've always called the one that is being bullied the runt - she was a bit of a late bloomer. Feathered out after all the others. And has always been the timid one - obviously last in the pecking order.

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they're bored, yes, they'll pick on each other. Try giving them multi levels in their run with branches and things to climb and roost on. Give her hiding spots as well with at least to exits so they can't trap her by blocking off just one. If you're able to expand their run at all, do so. They may seem like they have adequate space but they may not feel it and if that's the case, they will turn cannibalistic. Ideally they should have no less than 4 sq ft per bird inside the coop and 10 sq ft per bird outside in the run.

    To dress her wound, clean it thoroughly and apply triple antibiotic ointment and it should heal just fine. I would separate her to give her that time to heal.
     
  3. rossco17

    rossco17 Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop and run both meet your stated size requirements. I do have one perching branch in the run, but I could put a couple more in at varying levels. Do you think it would help to move their food outside or put a 2nd feeder out there?

    i will separate her during the non-roosting hours until she's healed.

    Thanks for the help. Your profile says Maine. Where about? I'm in Scarborough.
     
  4. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're welcome.

    Moving feeding stations outside and adding more would be a big help for all of them. If you can still keep her separated at night would be beneficial to her. They'll still pick on her in the evenings and early in the morning, not giving her a chance to heal. Even if you have a dog crate or something to keep her in inside the coop would be better than leaving her to roost with them.

    I'm around 80-90 miles from Scarborough.
     
  5. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may want to introduce yourself on the Maine thread. :)
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Treat the wounds with Blue-kote spray.
    Have extra water and feed stations. Now they met so by interfering will only prolong the pecking order. Chickens are mean to new flock members. Provide places to hide and roost. Give it time. always looks worse than it really is...We are not Chickens.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    The 4-10 'rule' is bare minimum, IMO...it can work just fine but often is crowded enough to cause crowding aggression behaviors.
    If they are crowded now at 10 weeks, it's only going to get more crowded as they gain size.
    It could get even worse in winter when they are confined to coop due to inclement weather.

    Expanding their run size could help.
    Multiple feed/water stations, places to hide 'out of line of sight' (but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from aggressors can all help.
    Adding stuff to the run might look cluttered but it can offer stimulation/diversion for the birds...keeps them less likely to get on each other nerves.

    The 'runt' may in fact be deficient enough in some way to be drummed on as a 'weak link'......
    .....a flock can instinctively do this to a weak/ill bird as it can make them susceptible to predation.

    Just some suggestions.
     
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