Why is this happening?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hen madame, May 28, 2016.

  1. hen madame

    hen madame In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2013
    Madison, WI
    I need some input...

    My Speckled Sussex have been with me for 4 seasons. They all appear healthy and are happily laying eggs. But all of the sudden one of my girls (Olive) is relentlessly attacking her flock mate Nell. Yesterday I found Nell in the nest box with Olive stacked on top of her, at first it made me laugh, but then I saw the blood. Olive's claws had ripped Nell's eyelid open.

    Now today Olive is running after Nell and jumping on her back, relentlessly pecking at her head. Nell is doing her best to run away from the abuse, but Olive just keeps it up. As with all chickens, I know there is a pecking order. But for years my flock has been quite peaceful with no major conflicts and no major disputes.

    Why is this happening so suddenly? Could something be wrong with Nell that would cause Olive to go ballistic? Do I need to separate them somehow for a time, or would that only make matters worse?
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    It's possible that Nell is sick or something about her behavior is "off".

    Separate Nell, it's possible that Olive may kill her if she gets hold of her.

    Put her in a dog crate or kennel with fresh bedding, food and water. Check her over for any other injuries that the pecking may have caused and treat accordingly (wash off any blood and treat cuts/wounds with plain neosporin, vetericyn or something similar). For the eye wound, you can gently flush with saline and apply plain neosporin, Vetericyn eye gel or Terramycin eye ointment in the eye.

    Monitor Nell for any signs/symptoms of illness. Lethargy, weakness, panting, pale/purple comb, puffed/ruffled feathers, swollen abdomen, coughing, sneezing, etc.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  3. hen madame

    hen madame In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2013
    Madison, WI
    Thank you for the input wyorp rock, will do. Hopefully things will calm down. [​IMG]
  4. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Songster

    Oct 20, 2013
    Will be interesting to see if you separate Nell, if Olive will pick out another hen to go after. In which case, maybe Olive is the one that's sick and it's causing her some distress. Let us know what happens!
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Good idea........I would separate the bully, not the victim.
  6. X2

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by