possible bullying resulting in two lost pullets

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by igep, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. igep

    igep New Member

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    Hi:

    I need some advice about a possible bullying problem which has already resulted in the loss of two hens. I started out with two groups of pullets. One group from one farm had five sex-linked comets, two Rhode Island Reds, two white Brahmas, one brown Brahma. From another farm I got one white Leghorn, two Buff Orpingtons, and two Silver-laced Wyandottes. I also have a small rooster which I think is a Mille Fleur. The pullets are all about the same age, 4-5 months.
    My chicken house is a good size, 8x6. It has three roosts across the width all at the same height with plenty of room for all to roost. I have ten nest boxes with outside access on the left side (six blocked off). None of the pullets is laying yet. There is a full size door on the front and a sliding chicken door in the rear. The coop is well contained in a 16x16 pen. The chickens do not go out of the pen.
    The White Leghorn definitely seems to be the alpha hen and often chases the others around the pen. I noticed that some of the chickens, particularly the three Brahmas, one of the Comets and one of the Buff Orpingtons were sleeping either on the floor, on the hay box or in one of the open nest boxe, as if they were afraid to go up on the roosts, for fear of attack. About two weeks ago, I heard a large ruckus in the house in the AM. I discovered one of the comets dead on the floor, presumably from being pecked. All the other hens were surrounding her and sounded agitated. I could not tell with any certainty what happened. Two nights ago, the three brahmas stayed outside in an old cat litter box with a hood. Yesterday the Brown Brahma was reluctant to go in the house. I picked her up and tucked her into one of the nest boxes from the outside. (I wish I hadn’t!!). This morning when I went to let the hens out I found her dead in the same nest box. Again, I can not be sure who instigated the attack.
    Please can somebody please give me some advice? I would like to get some more brown brahmas to replace the ones I lost but am afraid they may be too timid to defend themselves. Should I try to isolate the leghorn if I can even catch her??I do not want to lose anymore hens. Please help!!! I have never had a problem like this before.

    :confused:
     
  2. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    If you think she is the problem, then seperate her from the others for about a week or so, then put her back in with them. She will then be the new kid in there, and it will rearrange the pecking order. But be sure to protect the ones that may be being pecked on, look at tailfeathers and combs to see if they are intact. That is a good indication of who is doing the bullying, and who is taking the brunt of it. Good luck!!
     

  3. TheEggMan

    TheEggMan New Member

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    Sometime they are more prone to attacking each other when there is a deficiency in their food, most of the time add a little extra salt into the feed. However
    I've always suspected leg horns of being a little raciest !!!! LOL They do often tend to be problem birds when you add other bird of different colors. if separating doesn't work try the feed. Hope it helps.
     
  4. Homegirl

    Homegirl New Member

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    If you hang out in the coop as they go up for the evening you can see who the aggressor is. And definitely examine the injured. They love to peck on their heads. ANd blood will encourage the others to jump in for a peck or two. My leghorn hen is also the alpha hen...And she plans to hold on to her title. You can try separating her, although I tried that with a Golden Red who was pecking the roo's comb and she went right back to pecking him the minute she came out of the cage. But it is worth a try. I am a little surprised that at this young age they are already getting aggressive. Good luck and let us know what happens.
     
  5. hollyosborn

    hollyosborn HollyOsborn

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    banish her to a separate space... bad chicken!
     
  6. rob

    rob New Member

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    interesting reading. keep us updated please.
     
  7. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    Pecking due to a defiency would be a protein defiency. The best way to tell is by tailfeathers being pecked out and eaten. Those have blood in them, and they crave the protien in the blood. If there is an open wound, Blue Kote will stop them pecking at bloody or raw spots. Wet or dry cat food will stop the pecking out the tailfeathers. Dry thrown around the run once a week or so.
     
  8. berniceannab

    berniceannab New Member

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    with all the chemicals in cat food, i most def would NOT EVER give my chooks cat food/dog food. to get safe protein in them, get some chick starter that has close to 18% protein in it and put it in the yard. if they free range, get their attention and put this chick starter where you want the ground torn up - i put mine in weeds or etc.... where i don't want weeds to grow. the chickens will go back there again and again looking.

    next, for pecking to death, get rid of the hen causing the issues. if she has killed and others are afraid, then get rid of her. if you get rid of her from the coop for a while and things settle down, you will know it was her. separate her and cage her and feed her heavy protein - chick starter - and water. lots of protein and water and a small cage. it may do wonders for her and if there are no more problems, then you will know she WAS the problem.

    after determination has been made, then you have a choice - keep her or put her down. as for protein - there is nothing better for chickens than chicken - seriously - i mean, they are what they eat, right?
     
  9. TheChickenGuy

    TheChickenGuy New Member

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    Have the problem been solved?
     
  10. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    did i count rite ???
    16 birds in a 8' x 6' coop
    might that be the problem?


    edit:
    this thread is 2 years old already
    the birds may have already reached the soup pot by now
     
  11. TheChickenGuy

    TheChickenGuy New Member

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    I am very much interested in the solution, if any.
     
  12. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    double the size of the coop at once or rehome/process 1/2 the flock