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Stupid stupid stupid stupid birds... Pecking the pullet.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by redfeather, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. redfeather

    redfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2010
    Ok, so we have 3 birds left (after giving them away) of the chicks that hatched before halloween. Two pullets and a cockerel...

    Anyway, I got a call while I was out today "THE BABY CHICK HAS ITS BEAK RIPPED OFF!!" okay, no, not really, just an overexaggeration, but her tail and the top of her head were plucked and dripping blood.... her feathers were stuck together with blood and blood was runnong off her head and dripping off her beak. Just two days previous we had released the trio into the rest of the coop to roam with the other birds.

    We seperated her, and I actually came home and gave her a bath, as she's been trying to escape the moronic older hens by crouching down, inevitably in this HORRID MUD that we are having right now, and dad's injured so he only has so much time when my brother is not doing school to try and finish putting the tin roof on the yard... anyway, her feathers were worthless for insulation, being stuck with mud and blood, so I gave her a bath (mild dawn soap) and blow dried her off and stuck her in the garage with a heat lamp and a 50/50 damp mash of oatmeal and pellets. I will give her some pedialyte tomorrow if she is still doing okay.

    what can i do to prevent this? I really hate to use pine tar because it destroys and filthifies feathers so badly... Should I go investigate the other birds, and if I find one with a bunch of blood on her beak, wring her stupid little neck? Seriously, I am tired of these idiot birds trying to kill new additions. I was planning on getting a batch of 6-8 new chicks in a few weeks, but I don't know how it will work if they act like this!! I'm almost wondering if it is even worth it to try and save this little hen... it's going to take a week or two for her injuries to heal up, and if the other birds see anything "out of the ordinary" they will of course go at her again. >.<.

    Grr, sorry if this is rant-like, it's just so frusturating!


    Edited to add: Oh, I wanted to say, she's not acting like she's in shock-- she's alert and curious, although not eating, and she responded well to being bathed and blowdried, and even preened herself during/after the process. She is contentedly sitting under the heatlamp... again, still haven't seen her try and eat anything though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  2. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    Sorry to hear about your poor girl... Are you just taking the new birds and releasing them into the flock or are you letting them free range together slowly and then introducing them in the coop slowly and watching carefully? Introducing new birds into an already established flock can be very dangerous if done too quickly and can sometimes take weeks.. Automatically, the new birds are at the bottom of the pecking order so they are "intruders" that the elders need to get rid of....

    The best way I have found to introduce new birds is, have a small grow out open/coop next to or near the main coop so the birds can see each other but cannot fight... After a few days to a week, let them free range together but watch them carefully... I found that letting one new bird out at a time works best and then over the course of about an hour (depending on how many new birds you have) having them all free range together... Throw some scratch or feed on the ground so that all the birds can eat together... After a few days or so of this, you can start trying to put the new birds in the main coop bu putting them in in the evening when they start roosting or at night when they are already calm...

    Goddess [​IMG]
     
  3. redfeather

    redfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2010
    Well, that's just it... they've grown up in full veiw of the other birds, in a pen INSIDE the main coop... The new guys refuse to roost too, which is part of their problem.... [​IMG]
     
  4. redfeather

    redfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2010
    She died today.

    She wouldn't eat, I think that's what did it. *sigh*
     
  5. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    I'm sorry you lost her... Perhaps she has something wrong with her that was impossible for you to know about but the other birds sensed it.. They were trying to get rid of the weakest link to ensure their survival... Although these are pets to many of us, they still have instinct and there's nothing we can do about that... That may also have been the reason she quit eating...

    [​IMG] to you

    Goddess [​IMG]
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    [​IMG] Sorry about your little pullet. [​IMG] So are the older hens accepting of the other two birds you introduced, or are they going after them excessively too??? I would keep a super close eye on things. Some birds, and some breeds, are just far more aggressive toward newbies than others. If you find out who is being so aggressive, I would consider getting rid of that bird (myself). If it's the whole flock, then I'd reconsider getting chicks, or at least be prepared for separate housing when that time comes (just in case of repeat behavior). I always expect some aggressiveness when new birds are introduced...chasing away from food dishes and treats, etc. But I wouldn't handle it very well if it came to blood/brutality.
     
  7. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    How many hens are in your main flock, and what size of coop do they roost in? What breed are they? How old?

    That sounds like a really extreme reaction to birds that have actually grown up inside the coop with the older ones. I introduce new chicks that way too, by penning them up in the coop for a few weeks behind chicken wire before letting them mingle, and I've never had any problems with it. Just the usual mild scuffling for a week or so. When I get new adult birds, I just sneak them onto a roost after dark when everyone else is asleep, and that's always worked fine too. New arrivals get pushed around a bit, but again nothing serious.

    Sounds like you've got a real problem there...
     
  8. redfeather

    redfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are all buff orpingtons, 10 adults, between 3.5-5 years old... They have an 8x8 shed with 8 nest boxes, tons of roosts, and a HUGE yard with roosts in that too.

    I thought brutalization was "normal". This is only the second time ever we have tried to introduce more birds. I pegged it last time though, up to it being that our "sexed" hens were mostly roosters and we had too many roosters in the coop, stripping feathers off the backs and heads of the hens. I would think they would be "OK" with the new birds, especially since they raised right next to the others, literally from like 3 weeks old and up (as soon as they're too big to fit between the bars of the doggie x-pen they are put in there).

    The little 'roo and the other pullet are getting harrassed too, but I don't think to the same extreme... I think they are having more luck "getting away" from the whichever hens are bullying them. We do keep finding the little 'roo getting stuck behind things because he's trying to hide, poor gentle little guy.
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I don't know where you are (how cold), but I would spend time this weekend observing - finding out whether it's everyone or just one or two birds doing the damage. If it's one or two, I'd isolate the offenders for a few days, in a dog crate, a shed, somewhere. Give the newbies a chance to integrate a bit and possibly knock the bullies down a few pegs. I'd also put as many barriers and hidy-hole type places around as you can - for the little ones.

    A chicken ending up dead is certainly chicken brutality beyond the norm for me. My worst bully (I call her Witchy-poo with a B) really harrassed my two new pullets last fall. It was beyond "get away from that food dish - it's MINE." She'd go out of her way to chase and give a good feather pull or peck to one of the little girls. She was nasty. But she never got one down and just kept going at her, or cornered one and kept at it. She get her evil lick in and walk off (until the next time she got a bee up her butt or one dare cross in front of her). I did put her in "chicken jail" for that. Had she actually bloodied one of them up, she would have been gone. That (to me) is kind of like the difference between my dog chasing a cat, but once she gets that satisfying hisssss from it, walking happily away, and my dog chasing a cat, grabbing it and trying to kill it. I couldn't have a dog like that...couldn't have a chicken like that either.
     
  10. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    Orps!?! Yikes! I thought they were big teddy bears. My chicken book says they tend to be docile and friendly and this can lead to them being bullied in mixed flocks. I guess you've got something like Hells Angels Orps then. I have no idea what might be going on. You have a bigger coop than me, with more nest boxes and fewer birds. In the last year I've introduced three sets of chicks and two sets of new adult birds, and it's really been very trouble free. I have ISA Browns, Black Rocks, Leghorns, Marans and Marsh Daisies, so quite a mixture of breeds and personalities. Maybe it's an age thing. Your birds are all quite old. Maybe they're just set in their ways and don't like change. I'd agree with Teach's suggestion about observing them closely to see what's actually going on and who's doing what. Good luck!
     

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