really could use some advice regarding bullying and hen being picked on - please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nicoleandlucy, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. nicoleandlucy

    nicoleandlucy New Egg

    Feb 21, 2014
    Hi everyone,
    I'm really at a loss and could use some help. We have 6 RIR and have had them for 2 years. Because this winter has been so brutal one of them developed frost bite on her foot and could barely walk. I debrided and separated her and after a week and 1/2 she was better. Still limping but could walk. I put her back into the run with the others and everything seemed okay but after a couple days I was in the run and noticed she was alone alot and everytime she would get near one of the others they would peck at her head until she ran away. Poor thing runs with a limp. So I have been separating who I believe to be the bullies but yesterday and today I noticed others picking on her too. Actually noticed two picking on each other and one drew blood from the other's comb (not injured one). I blu-koted. I've tried distracting with treats, straw, new food and have 2 of them in a cage in the garage to just cool everyone off.

    I thought I should leave the weaker one so she could be in with her sisters. (she was losing a ton of feathers being caged up, I believe from stress). But now I'm wondering if I should just pull her back out but afraid if I do so and try to re-introduce her again they will just keep picking on her. I'm not sure what is going on as I've never had this problem before. They have fresh water and food daily.

    What do you all suggest?? I'm really upset as I don't want to see her get hurt especially after I nursed her back to health. I am wondering if she was the leader and the whole pecking order is ruined. Or ARE they picking on her because she is limping and showing signs of weakness?

    Thanks for any help/advice you can give me.

  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    Probably pecking on her b/c in their mind she is a new addition,with chickens the rule "out of sight,out of mind"applies,plus the fact that in their mind she is now at the bottom of the pecking order(due to her visible limp/being gone,etc)the "mean"girls are being bullies. Does she have any visible wounds that would be attracting unwanted attention?

    Boredom/being cooped up will definitely cause fighting(just like children). Have they been able to go outside recently? You have the bully/bullies separated?

    If you have separated her again,try bringing in one of the other more docile hens,pair them together,often if the have a friend to bond with,the pecking is reduced or stopped.
  3. nicoleandlucy

    nicoleandlucy New Egg

    Feb 21, 2014
    thanks Ten chicks.

    They can't go out as we have several feet of snow on the ground. That is why I've been trying to keep them distracted. The run is 25 ft long so they have plenty of space.

    I was thinking as you said she was out too long (I wish I would have put her in sooner but she could barely walk down the ramp of the coop) Right now I have 2 of the bigger bullies in a cage separated from the rest. But as I said there is still some bullying going on. They just do like one big peck at her then she runs. But I notice if certain ones get near her she runs and goes in the corner. It's sad to see. I'm hoping with 2 gone out of the run/coop the other 4 will calm down but I'm just not sure if I should pull her back out until she fully heals? Her middle nail was completely gone but now growing back. She walks but does have to limp when she is running away from them.

    If I pull her back out she'll stress out again I'm sure. What would you do?

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