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Two hens won't stop fighting!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by deannak, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. deannak

    deannak Hatching

    Jul 20, 2011
    Three years ago, I let my niece and nephew get 6 chickens for Easter. We were down to four, and it has been a fairly enjoyable experience, so this year, I let them pick out four more. They are varying breeds...my older hens are 2 New Hampshire Reds, 1 Americauna and 1 Black Australorp. We wanted two more New Hampshire Reds (because of their docile temperament) and two more Americaunas for their colored eggs. The store was out of New Hampshire Reds, so we ended up with two Americaunas and two Salmon Faverolles. Everything went fine when we introduced the new hens to the existing flock...minor pecking order establishment, but nothing serious or lasting.

    A month ago, my black Salmon Faverolles had a heat stroke and could not even stand up at all for nearly two days. I have since been working with her and she is FINALLY back to normal. Halfway through her recovery, we made her a special run adjacent to the run for the other hens. She really perfers being outside instead of in the smaller cage inside...except at night, of course. A week ago, I tried letting her in with the others for a little bit of supervised playtime to see how she would do. My other Salmon Faverolles hen picked a fight with her almost immediately...not pecking, but an actual fight. I tried again the next day but had the same result.

    My husband suggested that it may be food jealousy because they can see and smell her food but can't reach it, so I moved her food to the other end of her run. It has been four days now and I just tried putting them together again but immediately a fight broke out. Necks stretched up, hard pecking and flogging, so I had to separate them again. After putting my formerly sick chicken (Hot Wing) back in her own run, I tried to pick the other one (Snowshoe)up and she bit me! Neither hen has a problem with any of the others and I REALLY need to get them all back together but I don't want wither of my Faverolles to get injured.

    WHAT DO I DO????

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Quote:If Hot Wing is getting along with all the others then put her back in with the group and put Snowshoe in the run where Hotwing was. that will put her down a few notches in the pecking order. after about 3 days try putting them all together again if snowshoe is still making trouble then contiue to keep her separate till she is subdued. it could take a week or more. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Too much intervention may be problem here. Allow fight to continue for 5 minutes. Odds are it will not last that long. Ranking will be sorted out in that time frame between two combatants. Allowing only multiple short duration fights increases odds somebody will get hurt since physical damage most likely when birds fresh.
  4. deannak

    deannak Hatching

    Jul 20, 2011
    Update...We switched Hot Wing and Snowshoe this morning. Snowshoe doesn't seem to mind "solitary confinement" especial since she can still see everyone else.

    When we put Hot Wing in with the rest of the flock, she pecked once at one of my younger Americaunas, but that was it. She did pretty well with the group until my head hen, April (Black Australorp) made sure that she knew who was in charge...not a big concern, because it was the quick, normal "pecking order" stuff.

    Hot Wing decided to stay in the coop and let everyone else have the run. She ate with the younger hens with no problem when they came in and has decided to hide behind the large waterer when one of the older hens is in the coop. :eek:) This is pretty much the behavior that all of the younger ones exhibited when first introduced to the flock, so I am going to call it "normal but not ideal" for now.

    She is slightly stressed and panting a bit, but I am hoping that it's like the nerves a kid gets on the first day of school. She has free access to food and water but I am still checking on her pretty regularily...just to be safe.

    Thanks for the tips and if anyone has any other ideas, feel free to pass them along. I am going out of town for eight days starting this Friday, so I am hoping (fingers crossed) to have everything back to normal by then. My husband can feed and water them but he isn't home during the day to check on them.
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Crowing

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    That sounds like an improvement. You probably don't need this advice now, but when I reintroduced my roo to the bachelor coop during the day a fight broke out. Then on the advice of others, I put him in the coop again when everyone was roosting for the night and the next day they got along.
  6. deannak

    deannak Hatching

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hot Wing is still hanging out in the coop and it is pretty warm. Currently, 109 degrees out...and still climbing. This is supposed to be our hottest week yet, with record temps of 110+ and heat index values close to 120. Luckily, the coop has some shade and cross ventilation from the window and back hatch being open. I have added four 2-liter bottles of frozen water in various places inside the coop to try to keep the temp down as much as possible for her. When I go check on her, I move the waterer and coax her out of hiding so that she can walk around a bit.

    I'm hoping after everyone roosts for the evening, that tomorrow will be better. For today, I am going to let her stay inside if that's what she wants, but I REALLY wish she would go out in the run so that she could cool off in the water misters. Tomorrow, I may put her outside if she keeps wanting to hang out in the coop, so that she can get used to her flock again...just have to play it by ear.

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