Trouble in the Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by meat1709, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. meat1709

    meat1709 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2014
    New York
    I have a pretty serious concern that I need help with. There are two parts to the problem, so here is the situation. It centers around my australorp hen. I guess it really started when a neighbor's dog came into my yard and killed my rooster and one of my EE hens. I was fortunate that the other hen managed to get away and hide until I found her luckily before the dog returned. I got my Lolita [the austrlorp hen] and a barred rock rooster. It took her a while to warm up to them, and then a few months later some jerk swerved off the road and ran down the rooster while he was foraging in the front yard. After Rocky was gone Miss Houdini [easter-egger hen] started being very aggressive toward Lolita, and Lolita really took to my to protect her. I got a black silkie rooster [Shadow] and that was a very tense day. She attacked him to the point that I had to pull her off him and separate all three for awhile, as I had already had Lolita and Miss Houdini separated from before. After some more feathers flying she and Shadow made peace, but he was very aggressive toward Lolita, to the point more than once I would have to chase him away from her. Things seemed to settle down until lately. I noticed that Lolita was nowhere near as active and would fall asleep almost constantly. Things got very bad late last week, Both Shadow and Miss Houdini were attacking Lolita non-stop to the point that I kept her in the coop unless I was holding her. I did get two more hens to keep her company. She is lethargic now, and watching her I am wondering if they haven't blinded her. She will only walk from one spot to another nearby spot, she is still eating but not like she used to. I know something is wrong when she won't eat from my hand, isn't devouring the watermelon i put out for them. I noticed that they tore all the feathers from the back of her neck, which I am wondering is the reason that she often will put her head back and shake her head and neck from side to side. She isn't acknowledging the new hens even though they will approach her and one will groom her. She is so withdrawn. Tonight Shadow and Miss Houdini got into the fenced off area and were both attacking her again, and he was getting aggressive with the new girls too. I caught him and locked him in a pet carrier and placed it in the area that the girls have for roaming, even after this Miss Houdini was still attacking Lolita. So I now have her closed in the other chicken coop. I am really worried about Lolita, I really don't see any physical injuries, other than some missing feathers and a few small spots where blood was drawn. I have been putting an antibiotic in their water that I got from tractor supply since Saturday. I am also wondering what to do with Miss Houdini. I don't want to get rid of her as she is my oldest girl and last of the original flock. I am still debating on whether or not to keep Shadow. My only worry about getting rid of him is the fact that he and Miss Houdini have bonded.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that Lolita is a pretty sick girl, and sick chickens pretty much all act... sick... so I have no idea what's wrong. Check her over for parasites, and see if she's laying or not, and maybe see the vet. Good luck! Mary
     
  3. meat1709

    meat1709 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2014
    New York
    She hasn't laid in weeks, and I had that thought too. I want to help her, just funds are extremely tight right now being an unemployed college student and I haven't had much luck finding a vet that handles chickens. I had just been hoping that it was stress from being bullied by the others.
     
  4. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it possible to separate them? Can you put Lolita and the new hens together where Shadow and Miss Houdini can't get near them? That way if it's that Lolita is just giving up from being constantly picked at and attacked, she can relax. We have an egger that can't be with the other eggers, they are awful to her. They picked her feathers with no mercy, bullied her away from the food and nest boxes until she stopped laying, eating, or doing anything other than try to stay out of their way. She's too sweet and gentle for the rowdy gals, so she lives with my Polish hens. Now she's pretty again, and happy.
     
  5. meat1709

    meat1709 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2014
    New York
    That's what I am doing now. I have seen the new girls starting to tend to her a bit as well. There hasn't been a lot of progress with her, but the other two have gotten into the fence a couple times. I have pretty much decided that I am going to take Shadow to the farm that I got the two rescued hens from. They are very compassionate people and he would be cared for, I was told that they'd take him in an work with him if I decided to part with him. I am in college full time and with trying to get Lolita back to her old self and the new girls settled in and trying to figure out how to calm Miss Houdini down I think it might be better for the rest if I took him out of the equation. I hate to give up on him but I don't know what else to do, its easier to take care of one aggressive than two. Maybe it would help Lolita more if she wasn't worried about him sneaking in after her, but I'm just not sure how Miss Houdini will react. Whether it would help her to calm down or not. Perhaps I'm wrong but maybe not being the alpha male's mate would take her down a notch or two and help.

    There was another breed of rooster I saw that was supposed to be very gentle with the girls and a calm enough demeanor that they won't even fight with other roosters in the flock, but are still good protectors, I just can't think of the name off hand. Though I would try having just hens before I consider another rooster.
     
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    Roosters do seem to cause trouble in one way or another. Unless you need fertile eggs for hatching or for sale, the hens will lay eggs perfectly fine without a rooster altering the dynamics of the flock.
     
  7. meat1709

    meat1709 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 24, 2014
    New York
    That's kinda my thought. The only reservation I have to getting rid of him is how he and Miss Houdini are mates, I don't want to make her demeanor worse by taking him away.
     

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