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Sudden Chicken Drama - Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by papschmitty, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. papschmitty

    papschmitty Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 21, 2010
    We are very new to raising chickens. We have 4 Black Sex Links that we've raised since 10 days old. They just started laying in early July. The coop is 16 square feet and the run is 40 square feet. They spend several hours free ranging in our fenced back yard on most days. They usually don't lay eggs until close to lunch time so I usually wait until they're done before I let them free range, otherwise I have to hunt for the eggs in the bushes. They have free access to food and water at all times and get plenty of healthy treats. Until yesterday, the girls have always gotten along great. Yesterday morning, when I was refilling their feeder, Cindy made a very weird squeak/honk sound. It looked kind of like a sneeze but the noise was really loud and weird, like nothing I've heard before. She did it a couple times but seemed fine. A short while later, I heard some squawking in the run and saw that one of the bigger girls was dive bombing and pecking Cindy. After seeing that happen a couple times, I let them out to free range hoping to give Cindy some extra space to get away. She kept trying to get onto the deck (we have it blocked off to keep it poop-free). I felt sorry for her and let her hang on the deck for most of the day. She had some black spots on her comb that I'm think may be dried blood. The drama started up again first thing this morning. Cindy paces along the run fence looking nervous and one of the bigger girls flies up on top of her to attack. I have 2 all black girls and two girls with some brown. Cindy is one of the black ones. There doesn't seem to be any issues between the two black girls. The brown girls look so similar that I can't tell if it's one or both of them that are picking on Cindy. What the heck is going on? [​IMG] What should I be doing? Is there something I should be putting on her comb?
     
  2. marialane

    marialane Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 28, 2010
    I'm new at this too. We have a flock of twelve. I told them all yesterday that if there was one thing I could change, it would be that they be nice to each other. I don't like the fact that they can be so mean; even to the little ones. Maybe I'm too sensitive. Anyway, I do know that I read on this forum that you could remove the meaner one (s), and then re-introduce them into the flock. When they come back they apparently are then on the lower end of the pecking order. Just a thought!
     
  3. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ever consider getting a rooster to keep the peace?
     
  4. Gersbud

    Gersbud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Hi, Sounds like since they all started to lay, they are setting up a pecking order and Poor Cindy just happens to be on the bottom of that order. You could remove the one or two that are the meanest to her, then reintro them a few days to a few weeks later, you could also try getting a Roo. They tend to keep the hens in order, or you may want to give your girls more things to do while they are keep in their pen. Throw out some scratch, add perches, or just logs for them to jump on, I just purchased a small yellow ball that pulls apart and you add chicken feed or scratch to it. When the hens roll it around it lets out a small amount of food. They have set up and order and now that they have done this, while they are penned up it sounds like they have nothing better to do then peck on Cindy. Hope you get this figured out. Good Luck [​IMG]
     
  5. papschmitty

    papschmitty Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 21, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestions. Ours is just a backyard flock in a neighborhood and we like most of our neighbors so we can't have a roo. I hadn't thought about making the run more interesting so I'll definitely try that. The drama seems to be minimal when they have access to the entire yard so this morning I let them out first thing. I guess maybe I could try to make a nest box outside so I don't have to feel like every day is Easter as I hunt for eggs. I'm off work for the summer but go back full time in a couple weeks so I really want to get this figured out soon. For some reason I was thinking that pecking order was established much earlier on. Does it typically happen after they start to lay? I ran a couple errands early this morning and my daughter said that while I was gone, Myrtle and Cindy (the two all black ones) were picking on Madge or Betty (the two brown ones). Maybe this is all just a pecking order thing. I'm a sensitive girl and was really hoping for a flock of pacifists. [​IMG]
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Jacksonville, Florida
    Yup, it's the pecking order thingy. Hang a head of cabbage in the pen for them to peck at to distract them if you wish. Dont put a nest box outside their house. Lock them up in their house for a couple of days...they might fight with each other for a couple of days, but they'll know where to lay their eggs afterwards! (Dont forget to put food and water inside their house for them.)
     

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