polish chicken being chased by flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Beldenfarm, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Beldenfarm

    Beldenfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2013
    we got a new group of 6 pulletts, to integrate to our group of 8 same age other pullets, following the "seeing but not touching" technique for a week, and they all get along now that they are together except for the one polish chicken we have. she is constantly chased by our "original flock" and never fights back, she gets so scared that she is now skittish when any of the "meanies" get close to her or give her a stink eye, shes usually in the run corner trying to stay away, and i wont know what to do, she is the sweetest chicken when i hold her she is so calm and a lap girl, but is always being chased. one of the meanies i think may be a roo, if we get rid of him will the dynamics change even though there are still other chasers left? how do i get her to feel safe, i dont want to bring her back but i want her to feel happy like my other spoiled girls!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    To them, she is incapacitated (sight deficient) due to her crest. I would give her a haircut if I were you, leave a mohawk, or just cut off enough to clear her eyesight. By the time it grows back with the next moult, they may have accepted her and will not torment her for being effectively blind. Her lack of sight also lends itself to her being so tame. I have not had Polish chickens but have bred mongrels that had the same hairdo, and the same is true; they are often bullied because of their incapacity, and often tamer because of it too. If you give her better sight she may not be as friendly with you a bit later but that depends on training as well.

    Polish chickens are often picked on for their sight deficiencies. Haircuts are a good answer to it, but also put obstacles in the cage, so she can duck under them and hide behind them or jump up on them. Anything that helps break their habitual mental pattern of abuse will be beneficial. Most chickens won't crouch under an obstacle to keep chasing a victim. Though, I would mark them down if they were mine, as bullies. I don't tolerate bullies. It is not natural for them to spend valuable time and energy abusing another creature.

    I would get rid of the rooster that is abusing her. At no time should a rooster pick on a hen for anything whatsoever. He will breed intolerant offspring. It is not natural for him to attack an ill or injured hen (as perhaps he views her) --- in the wild she would merely fail to thrive and fall to a predator. Chickens who engage in bloodsport breed the same sort of mentality on. I have a peaceful flock because I don't breed vicious birds; no hens that kill or harm babies, no roosters who kill or harm eachother, no hens or roosters who harm humans, no hens or roosters who harm the ill or injured, and no roosters who harm hens.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Beldenfarm

    Beldenfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    that is something I had never ever thought of!!!! i assumed they just adapted, she is young but has a very "round" shaped crown that goes back, not much of it covers her eyes but it certainly must block her frontal vision, her side vision is fine but when someone comes at her from the back or front she cant see them! I am having her feathers trimmed as we speak, and will do this for my silkies as well, they have such a crasy poof of fluff them have to be experiencing the same thing..... they are only 14 weeks old, so I dont know how much larger her poof will get, i can only imagine it will keep growing as she molts her first feathers!


    any advice on how to show her to fight back? i am hoping it is the sight issue, and that she will learn once she can see!
     
  4. Beldenfarm

    Beldenfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    also wondering, how do you "mark them down" as bullies? I know which ones are the meanies but i dont know what to do with them!!! I have even once sprayed them with the hose in the butt (good aim huh [​IMG]) immediatley after they pecked her and made her go in the AHH OMG IM UNDER ATTACK mode she goes in and it scared the mean one alot, never did it more than once because I felt bad, but is there something I can do to show them "NO that is not okay" I dont want to abuse my chickens, they are like my children and i think sometimes way too spoiled haha
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I would advise not trying to help her dominate, in my experience this will likely get her killed. My brother had a cat he wanted to be dominant over the other cats other people in the family owned. He tried to help her be dominant and they turned on her so badly she lived in fear from then on, whereas before she was allowed around them if she knew her place in the group. I have seen people do the same thing with dogs and other animals.

    If the chickens have decided she has a certain place in the order, and she is not fighting for a better one, then they are right, and she is unable to be a dominant chicken. If you artificially elevate her status through helping her fight back they will react with greater violence because they all know she is disabled. Cutting her hairdo is about the safest intervention you can make there, and perhaps she will discover an alpha hen mentality when she can see better. Teaching her to fight back, if it were possible, could lead to her becoming a bully instead.

    Silkies don't seem to be as punished for their headgear as other chooks with large hairdos, for some reason, I believe due to their usually greater instinct. Animals love and respect instinct in one another, they are predisposed to seek out the most instinctive mates and groups they can as a survival instinct. But some Silkies get punished for their hairdos as well. So haircuts are probably a good idea for them as well.

    Personally, I am trying to grow and breed chickens for dual purposes (meat and eggs) and can't tolerate bullies so I cull them; retraining them has failed in the past so I no longer bother trying. I keep a journal recording pertinent facts of each animal (any illnesses, injuries, behavioral problems, parentage, productivity, etc). So if they're bullies when young or any other aberrant behavior I make a note of it and that's one mark against them which means they've likely lost their chance to be bred. They go onto the cull list if it's severe enough. But I have used a few methods in past to deal with them in the short term.

    One is the classic 'get a bigger bully' method, where you get a more dominant chicken and hope it tackles the bullies rather than joins in with the bullying. Bit of a gamble there. Another method is to remove the bullies for a few days; this rearranges their place in the social order, and next time you let them out, they will have to work to get their place back and bullying will be the last thing on their minds.

    Another method is to incapacitate the bully; either buy chicken specs (I've not used them) or shackle/hobble them (I've done this). You tie a soft, rounded cord around their ankles, not so tight it can cut off circulation, but not so loose it goes over foot or knee; you leave enough length between the legs to allow a normal walking stride but not a longer running stride; and you let them get around in that for a week or so. They will be fine to get up and down from perches, nests, etc, stroll about, dust bathe, etc, but if they try to run after a victim they will fall on their faces. They learn quick with this method.

    Another method is to trim the see through part of their upper beak off. It's just like cutting your nails; if you dont go into the non-see-through part it won't hurt. But trimming it close will mean that if they try to stab another bird they will hurt themselves instead. They can eat and drink and preen fine, but not apply great force to another bird in pecking.

    Unfortunately bullies are often 'dyed-in-the-wool' and only culling them will stop the majority of them. Best wishes.
     

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