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We Need HELP! edited: THIS.....Is.....NOT....Working!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SeaChick, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Well, a few days ago we posted about Hazel, who was just about to start laying, all of a sudden getting REALLY mean and pecking the other girls. I was hoping she would calm down once she started laying, but she hasn't. I know it's early -perhaps she will calm down eventually- but today Rita has a bare spot about the size of a 50-cent piece, and blood!

    Hazel is a RIR. We have only 5 girls, different breeds, all the same age. Never any problems till now. Hazel is suddenly just wacko. She cries and fusses before laying and then ALL DAY today she cried to be let out to free range. Loudly (and as you may know we won our battle with the city but its contingent on NO COMPLAINTS from the neighbors so I am concerned about her sudden vociferousness as well!) and at great length.

    Now, to be fair, she seems to be having trouble adjusting to egg-laying.... unlike her victimi, Rita, the only other girl laying yet, who just took to the nest box right away, Hazel started laying on the floor. Yesterday I put a watering can in her chosen spot, and she was ALL upset. Cried and complained and paced for an hour before finally using the nest box. Today she went right into the nest box, but she ALSO pecked Rita to bloodiness. So I just don't know whether the pecking is a temporary thing as she adjusts to laying, or a new behavious that won't go away.....

    I drove all the way across town at dinnertime to get a can of BlueKote to spray Rita with. Will that help Hazel stop pecking her? Is there ANYTHING else we can do? We only have 5 girls, and love them all.... so we really don;t want to have to rehome her, but if she doesn't calm down I am afraid we will have to.

    PLEASE any suggestions?!?!?!/

    Thanks so much
    Stacey & Olivia
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2007
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Hmmmm, well...Is there a way you can put the meany in a dog vrate, in the house, or garage for a few days? Take her position away from her as highest in the flock. I would think 4 or 5 days would work, then reintorduce her to the others. See if this helps. You just got rid of a Roo didnt you? So maybe she is just looking for "her"Roo. I would try the isolation...and reintroduction...see how this works. If not, you might just have to find her a new home, to restore peace in your flock. Good luck with her....and let us know.
     
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hi Deb-
    Yeah I thought of that.... but she would be SO unhappy in a dog crate (the only thing we could reasonably do). I locked her in the henhouse for about 20 minutes today and she was crying LOUDLY and then the others (out in the run)started getting all concerned and crying too. It just seemed so traumatic for them all. I guess we could try it but as a second-to-the-last resort I think!
    Darn why does this have to be so hard???? We JUST got the girls back home and legal, and staring to lay, and already we've had Hazels' ripped comb, Phoebe's broken beak, and now this MAJOR problem!
    Stacey
     
  4. bantymum

    bantymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi it sounds like Hazel wants to lay her eggs where she wants to. They like to choose their spot if given the chance to do so.
    Can you just let her lay on the floor if that makes her happy.
    My girls all have their own spot. They freerange also.
    I know where their nests are and always leave 1 egg in there so they will return to that spot again.
    Blackie lays up high in an old basket, Little blackie lays in the woodshed, Now if I was to try and make them share a nest, they would get really cranky.
    Some breeds are happy to share a nest like my silkies, but others like their own spot.
    I would say that if you can let them choose their own spot you will have success.
    Just dont let them see you take their eggs!!!
    Good luck
     
  5. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thanks bantymum-
    However, she was doing this BAD behaviour for about a week before she bagan laying, so I do not think it is because of the nesting location thing. Otherwise, I'd gladly swap the egg-on-the-floor for our old sweet Hazel. But she definitely started pecking Rita many days before I put the watering can in her floor nest spot. She started the pecking about 5-6 days before she started laying. I'd hoped it would cease when she actually started laying, but as noted it's gotten much worse.
    ...Actually, upon reflection I think I WILL remove the watering can from the floor spot. If she wants to lay there and it calms her down, FINE. I am all for any solution that soesn't involve rehoming her... but I kind of doubt it will make a difference. Nonetheless, I'm going ot to take the can away right now!
    Stacey
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Oh my goodness, they are SO CUTE when they are all sleepy and roosting!!!!! .... Hope that helps tomorrow.
     
  7. bantymum

    bantymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    try and think positive and tell Hazel that "this is NOT appropriate behaviour. who knows she may be able to read your mind. I see it with my chickens, i tell them to do things through ESP and they do listen! believe it or not.
    good luck
     
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Actually, my DH knows a woman who he claims is a "chicken whisperer" (I say with a hint of skepticism...). I think we need to ask her to come talk to Hazel. She is definitely NOT listening to ME.
     
  9. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Does anyone have any other ideas on things we can try? I will be able to keep a fairly close eye on them today and will see if the BlueKote helps. Barring any new ideas, though, I guess the next step would be separating Hazel. It seems such a traumatic thing to do though. Any other ideas? Or thoughts: anyone think this might be a temporary thing and go away on its own? Or do these behaviours tend to just establish and increase?
    Worried about our little flock.....
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  10. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Oh, no![​IMG]

    The Blue Kote is not working at all. I just watched Hazel peck Rita again several times and she is again doing the crying thing to be let out. What a baaaaaad girl!:mad:

    I guess I am going to have to try confining her to a dog crate. She is going to HATE it. How long do I need to do that for before I reintroduce her, do you think?

    Very, very sad......
     

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