Time out for mean girls?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MamaRoo, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a little silkie that lost some feathers to a raccoon and has been inside for a few days. I put her back in the run today and watched to see if she would be ok. All but one bad girl ignored her. The little meanie picked at her head and darker (bloodstained) feathers. Since no one else cared, it didn't seem fair to put the silkie in protective custody, so I put a portable pen over the bad girl. She's got food and water, and she's in the middle of the pen so she's missing nothing but feather-to-feather contact (and the pile of ants I just put in).

    Has anyone tried time-out, and does it work?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Sometimes it does work. But you have to keep the meanie caged for 2 full weeks. What this does is allow the flock to reorganize the pecking order and lowers the meanies status. It also gives the picked on bird a chance to move up the ladder. And sometimes you have to use "total isolation" for the meanie. This will usually do the trick as after 2 weeks, she becomes the "new bird" and no longer has that edge of being mean. It is as if she is brand new.

    I have never had to use the "total isolation" method, but I have come close to having to do so.

    As for the Silkie, if she has any blood or wounds, the others may work on her. Chickens become cannibalistic when there is sores and blood on another. You can use "Blu-coat" or "hot pick" on her, it tastes really bad and the others will leave her wound alone. So get her healed up and out with the flock while the meanie does a time out! [​IMG]
     
  3. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The silkie's scabbed, but no open wounds, and her booboos are under feathers. No one else even gives her a second glance. I put some gentian violet on her feathers, just in case, and the meanie tried to pick at her even through the bars of the isolation pen. I'm also not sure they're old enough to have a pecking order yet. They're all about 8 weeks old.
     
  4. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Twocrows - that is fascinating! Too bad the two week method doesn't work with humans...think of how many problems would be solved if it did! [​IMG]
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    The pecking order begins to form at 2 weeks in chicks. And while it is not fully in place, it is still there. So actually only being 8 weeks old, this is a GREAT time to reorganize this meanies head. And if it doesn't improve, you may have to rehome her. [​IMG]
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Quote:[​IMG]

    Actually it does work in humans. It is called jail! [​IMG]
     
  7. savingpurple

    savingpurple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have one, and good luck !! I can feel your pain, and frustration.
     
  8. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK chicken psychologists, explain this for me. The silkie had herself a glorious dustbath and I let meanie out and watched for a bit. The silkie followed her around and took the occasional peck without leaving. All seemed reasonably calm, so I came in to take a shower. Went out to check and the two silkies, meanie, and the gold star (who also picked on the silk a bit) are all in a happy pile in the dirt having a nap. The other five were chillin' in the coop.
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Quote:Chicken psychologists! [​IMG] We will never understand what goes on in these chickens minds. My highest in the pecking order girl will always "peck" at the lowest girl in the group and will do the same thing. Intentionally follow the leader around and get pecked at. (Not any blood shed or anything, just letting her know who is boss). But what I don't understand is why this lower girl just doesn't go off and do her own thing! She hangs around this "boss" all the time and then, like you just witnessed, I will see them curled up together bathing or sleeping!

    I think chickens do take care of each other and once the pecking order is established, there is no longer any aggression between them. The "boss" will still want at the best food first, or kick somebody out of the dust bath area, but all in all, they still want to be together and enjoy each others company.

    But back to your Silkie, I would still keep an eye on this meanie for a few days to make sure things are ok. I have isolated birds before and after one or two days let them back out with the group and it is only a day later, they are back to their old tricks. So keep in mind you may have to do a longer separation or a complete isolation if the meanie doesn't pipe down. [​IMG]
     

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