The bullies killed my pullet :(

Bitter Farm

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 25, 2013
Yesterday I had 13 hens, today I only have 12.

I'm not a huge "crazy chicken lady" but I've come to really enjoy my nameless flock in the last year and half that I've been caring for them. In that time I've really only had one injury and I was able to treat it (a simple cut, even if it did look scary to start with). When I noticed a decrease in egg production about a month ago, I used the opportunity to re-home my 3 most aggressive (and oldest) RIR's and the next day brought home 4 new pullets. This wasn't the first time I've changed my flock and I thought it was going well. About a week ago I noticed my beautiful silver and gold Americana (Easter Egger if I'm honest) had a pronounced limp. After watching I realized the integration hadn't gone as smoothly as I first thought. Her sister (almost identical) had fit in alright, but she was still being bullied, a lot. I tried to keep the 2 sisters somewhat separated but still a part of the group. I didn't want the bullying to get worse, but I wanted my injured pullet to feel protected too. I made her a saddle to protect her feathers and I made sure she had her own, uncontested, food and water.

This morning she was dead. There weren't any obvious injuries, only a little bit of blood around her beak, and her poor sister was just trying to help her wake up. I'm surprised how sad I am about it, crying and everything. I didn't think I was getting that attached to my hens! I'm about ready to get rid of the whole flock because they were so mean, but I'm not sure that is practical either. We love the fresh egg aspect, and the hens usually get along just fine. What do I do?! Should I separate them all? Do I find the 3 or 4 most aggressive and just get rid of them? Should I just get rid of the whole flock? I feel really guilty that I wasn't able to save this little lady and now I need some advice. Apparently I'm not as good at the chicken keeping thing as I thought I was. :(
Sorry about your loss. These things happen. I had a possum kill 2 of my chickens a month or so ago. I'm not as attached as you are, I mean I was sad but not enough cry. I'm usually a big baby about these things but that time I was just too angry at the possum to focus on being sad. Are there any others with injuries? Do you think it could have been a predator attack? I didn't think a possum could get in my coop but he did... twice. You can double check your coop to make sure there are no ways for anything to get in. That's a start. Then begin looking in you coop. Watch their behaviors, how they act and treat each other. If there are some being too rough, you should probably isolate them from the rest. Hopefully you can find some answers. Good luck.
How sad, I'm sorry for your loss. Chickens can be such bullies and will pick on the sick or injured (one reason why they hide illness so well). With this loss, your flock's dynamics will change yet again... hopefully for the better, so don't give up on them. Keep watching how they interact and intervene if necessary. Good luck!

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