Sudden Aggression in hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ogress, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. Ogress

    Ogress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2010
    North Bend, WA
    My Coop
    I don't know what is up with my chickens this morning. Whenever I go to the run door, my big New Hampshire runs up to me, squats down, broadens her shoulders and wriggles her butt. I've been expecting her first egg for about a month now. She's 6 months old. (none of my three 6 monthers has laid an egg yet). When I walk away, she resumes being a normal chicken. I picked her up one time. She has never been an aggressive bird, always sweet, and was this time too until I set her back down. She and my RIR got into a viscious fight. I grabbed the RIR, who had in that 2 seconds, ripped the comb of the NH, and drew blood from her face. Both birds were flying at each other with beaks and feet. I got a 4 inch gash on my hand, not sure who inflicted it. I've seen the RIR aggressive in the past, but always just posturing, and maybe bumping someone with her chest. Not out for blood like the 2 are today.

    Unlike the NH, my RIR usually does not like to be held, but she calmed down when I got her out of there. I took her inside and she sat calmly on my lap. One of my cats even came over, jumped on my lap too, and the 2 just sat there one on each knee for about 20 minutes! Then I went back out to the run, and the NH launched herself at the RIR as soon as I opened the run, even though I was still holding her! She wants revenge for her bloodied face! I took the RIR back out. Every time I try and take her back to the run, she freaks out before I even get the door open, and the NH is there waiting to get revenge. Luckily we have a second tractor that was empty at the time, so I put the RIR in it. Then I grabbed one of my other hens and tossed her in there with my RIR, and they seem to be getting along just fine.

    Should I keep the RIR and NH separate from now on? My 9 birds always appeared to get along just fine prior to this.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The NH was doing the squat for you, telling you she is ready for you to mate her, which also means you should be seeing eggs soon.

    I doubt chickens remember things well enough to be looking for revenge. Sometimes chickens just fight. If you can figure out who is the aggressor, keep her separated for a week, so that when you put her back, she will be at the bottom of the pecking order.If the problem recurs, then yes, you may have to keep them separated.

    Another thought. If one of the two is a male and the other is trying to be the top female, this could cause them to fight. Are you sure they are all female?
     

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