Shunned Chicken...HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amyjohg, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    I have read a few other stories on here, but mine is a bit different. I have 8 chickens in one coop. The other half of the coop has 3 ducks. All 8 chickens have been together since day 1. On the coldest night of the year, "naked butt as we have come to call her, decided that would be an excellent time to go into a hard molt. I was worried about her freezing without her feathers, so I brought her in. I kept her in a wire cage near the new babies I will be introducing next Spring. She almost seemed to adopt them at first, which was surprising. She could not touch them, but would peck at us when we would try to feed them, etc.

    Anyway, when she started to grow some feathers back, I took her out to the hen house and they grabbed her by her face and drug her across the coop! I snatched her up and took her back inside. I tried again the next day with the same outcome. The next day, I let all of the hens out into the yard and sat "naked butt" down far away from them. She ran straight to them like a chicken on a mission. I thought, maybe she wanted to be with them, but she ran over and attacked them! They were paying no attention to her at all and she went crazy on them. I put her in a small coop by herself with the others ranging around her and she would peck them through the bars!

    I put a wire cage in the coop that night, and she stayed there (in view of the other chickens) for a couple of days. They still fought through the bars. On my first day off from work, I let her into the coop with the others. I spent a few hours in the coop monitoring the chickens and found that the others mostly went about their business, but would peck at her suddenly if she was not looking.
    They followed her around waiting for a chance to peck her and sometimes ganged up on her.

    I felt bad for her and let her into the duck's side of the coop and she attacked the ducks! I don't know what to do for her. She has resigned herself to staying in the sleeping box by herself. The others come in to lay eggs and then go back outside. She stays in...always alone.

    How long will this go on???
     
  2. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    ...anyone? I went out to check on her this morning, and as soon as I open the door, she runs as fast as she can to get out. This just isn't right.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    For now isolate affected bird and be prepared to do so for an extended period of time. Hard molt, are in you in the southern hemisphere? What are you feeding the birds? Describe your setup. Inspect bird carefully to make certain she can see properly.

    If protracted separation to be realized then look into procedure for re-introduction as that will be done later.
     
  4. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    I am not in the south. I am in Ohio, which is why it concerned me that she lost her feathers on the coldest day of January. My chickens, believe it or not have never molted before. They are 3 yrs old. The chicken in question has already begun growing her new feathers back in...which is why I put her back out. She has a little ways to go, but I can see her new feathers filling in.
    I feed them all organic chicken feed/free range during the day if possible/organic food scraps.
    The set up is a large pen with a place to roost outside and an option to roost inside. No heat or lights. Just natural. Most of the chickens choose to sleep outside in the run on some old branches I hauled in. "Naked butt" spends ALL of her time indoors and fights to get out into the ducks side as soon as you open the door.
    She eats/sleeps separately from the others. It has been about a week of this behavior now.

    I could understand if it were just the other chickens picking on her because she was absent for a few days, but I am blown away that she is also CAUSING fights the few times when they don't pick on her! And then to attack my sweet ducks!

    Her eyes are clear, she sees every movement I make, so I don't think her sight is an issue. She eats ravenously and drinks plenty of water. Gets around good and even flies up the the roost if she wants to. She is otherwise very healthy and recovering from the strange loss of feathers.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Uh Oh, organic feed and food scraps. Hard molt this time of year in Ohio indicates stressed bird, likely nutritionally. Do you have a way to increase protein intake of your birds and still stay within your organic approach. Feather loss now often indicative of inadequate protein. How is your current feed classified, layer, scratch, chick starter, or grower? If layer and supplemented with lots of vegetable or other non-meat scraps you are pushing protein levels too low.

    If the birds are confined to a run then feed intake not making difference desired. This time of year true free-ranging requires a lot of time and may still not be adequate.

    The photoperiod is increasing so scraps normally increase now. No games in the mix?
     
  6. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    I am not sure what you mean by "no games in the mix", but the food is layer. It is either 16 or 18% protein. The local supply place stopped carrying what they LOVE to eat, so I had to switch to a comparable brand, however, none of the other birds lost any feathers. They eat the same things. All eggs are huge and dark yellow yolks. Feathers are like bright, shiny copper. They have not received much in the way of scraps lately, since we are on hard times and food is scarce. (No scraps to give) but they did receive some bologna last week which they loved. (Huge eggs the next two days).
    I would think that if it were a nutrition problem, more than 1 bird would be affected.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Nutrition can effect birds differently. Switch in diet can have delayed impacts. Can you provide pictures of birds and the naked butt?
     
  8. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    LOL i will try. Her feathers are growing back now, her butt being the last section to grow back. I will go out to see if she will let me photograph her nakedness. LOL.
     
  9. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG][​IMG][/IMG]Ok I tried to get a good picture but she is perched on the top of the co-op and honestly looks mostly healed. Only a tiny bit of bare skin showing.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  10. amyjohg

    amyjohg Out Of The Brooder

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    When this started, her entire butt was bare and her neck. She looks good now and they still don't like her. She just sits up on that corner all alone.
     

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