Pecking order changes drawing blood

Fergie

Chirping
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
65
1
82
NW, Washington
I've got a small flock of 3 hens and all has been pretty peaceful for the whole 3 years we've had them. They live in a chicken house that is approximately 4' x 10 ', and is attached to an outdoor covered coop that's about the same size. We let them all out into our 50' x 100' fenced yard for an hour or two a day. I think the Golden Laced Wyandotte is having a hormonal imbalance of some type. I heard her making a crowing type sound this morning, which I've heard hens can do if there's no rooster in the flock. And this morning also I saw her harassing the Maran and attacking her repeatedly until I separated them. I let them all out into our fenced yard thinking the extra space would help things, but no... she was literally stalking and running after the Maran and kept attacking her. The Maran now has several bloody wounds on and around her comb. The other hen, a Plymouth Partidge Rock, was left alone-- or maybe she just gets away faster, I don't know. This is the first time I have seen these hens do more than a quick peck at one another.

Has anybody else had pecking order drama amongst hens in an existing flock that has turned into a bloody battle? I have the dominant/crowing hen separated for now, but want to get the flock back together as soon as possible. Should I just put them back together and hope it all sorts in in the next day or so? Any suggestions?
 

kdwag

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 14, 2012
413
6
91
Northwest Ohio
I had 4 hens, 2 barred rocks, a Rhode Island Red and a partridge plymouth. First, my two barreds starting fighting, right at the 6 month mark!! I isolated the aggressor, put her back in a week later, they started again, not as violent. Then the victim barred started in on the plymouth and caused a huge nasty wound. I removed the victim now bully barred for a week and put her back in. It started all over with the barreds fighting and then the victim barred attacking the plymouth. I ended up rehoming the victim turned bully barred as it seemed she was the source of the problems. I have no good advice because nothing I tried worked and I've been told that sometimes they just don't get along. The home I placed her in has a much larger flock which I'm told helps prevent this kind of stuff so maybe that's what she needed. my remaining three are much happier and i'm hoping that they stay in the order that they are. Do you have Blue Kote? THis is a spray that turns the wound blue so that the others will leave it alone and also is an antisepctic and helps it heal. I also tried this ointment called Rooster Booster. It's tea tree oil and calendula (both found at Tractor Supply). They don't like the way it tastes and I used it often. If you try the separation method, you have to keep the bully totally isolated, day and night for at least 5 days. It works for some, but it didn't for me. It's so frustrating especially if you like the bird. Mine are all friendly to me so I hated to get rid of my barred, but, it was best for everyone. Good luck to you. I feel your frustrations.
 

Fergie

Chirping
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
65
1
82
NW, Washington
Thank you. I separated the bully Wyandotte for a day, then let them all back together to roost, and things have settled down in the day or two since then. However, the Wyandotte is still clearly the bully and gets after the Maran, although there doesn't seem to have been any attacks since that first day that've drawn blood. I think it's just been a shift in the pecking order. Now the Maran clearly tries to stay away from the Wyandotte and that wasn't the case before. Too bad the pecking order drama can be so brutal.
 

kdwag

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 14, 2012
413
6
91
Northwest Ohio
I agree, brutal is horrible. Mine would never back down and I think that was the problem,. She was sort of an instigator. Maybe I could have let them fight it out longer but I just couldn't deal with the injuries. I know a lot of people say just to let them work it out. I hope yours continue to get along.
 

Fergie

Chirping
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
65
1
82
NW, Washington
Yes, I am happy to say they have settled down into a nice threesome again.
smile.png
 

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