Sudden hen aggression

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NevadaSilk, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. NevadaSilk

    NevadaSilk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2011 I have 4 chickens in a coop. 1 rooster and 3 hens. They are about 2 and a half years old and have been together since day 1. My coop is 12' by 8' (96 square feet) and has 4 boxes, perch, 2 water stations and a feeding station. They are currently being fed a mixture of flock raiser and layer crumbles, grit, scratch and just finished a Flock Block. I try to give them fresh veggies and fruit as we have it and they do get some bread as a treat also. They have acted fine towards each other up until this morning. 1 for sure being the top of the pecking order and 1 for sure being the low girl on the list. This morning, the #1 ruthlessly attacked #3. #3 has not tried to overtake #1 that I have seen. She normally acts scared of #1 and runs when she comes too close. Anyway, the attack left #3 with a bloody head and wing. We removed her from the coop and put her in our garage to calm down. We then applied a wound coat that turned all the red spots purple and went to work on getting some treats (mealworms, cabbage, bread) to keep everybody occupied. Reintroduced her right before dark and everything seemed to be ok. She stayed up on the perch while the others were on the ground. As soon as she hit the ground #1 went after her again. My husband grabbed #1 to see if removing her from the situation would do any good....then #2 attacked her. Meanwhile, the rooster just stands by and watches. I know that reintroducing is always a bit of a difficult time but they were being really aggressive which I've never seen aside from today. #3 is currently sleeping in the garage (it's actually half a garage and half a hay barn much to hubby's dismay) so that I know she is safe. I've done some research on here and other sites about what to do. I realized I may need to up their protein and calcium intake so I went and got some oyster shell and have provided a pan of it in the coop. I would love to free range but can't due to my neighbors. My neighbor has about 15 hens and a rooster that free range and enjoy my property as much as their own. I know the rooster would kill my rooster and I'm sure all the hens would intermingle. I thought about letting #3 try to free range with the neighbors hens but am afraid they would attack her as well.

    My question is, what other things can I do? Also, if she can never be reintroduced will she be ok by herself or do I need to look into getting some chicks to raise up to put with her? I'm just at a loss because I love my girls and hate this is happening.
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    After two and a half years My guess is that they may sense something is off in her and are trying to drive her off for the good the flock. A couple of hours or a day or two really isn't long enough for them to have forgotten her place in the pecking order, so a reintroduction wasn't the problem. I would give her a couple of days to heal and try putting her back. Put a fence around your yard and let YOUR chickens enjoy your yard. How do you know that your rooster wouldn't be the victor? They might not even do more then look at each other.

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