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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 6 hens (2 easter eggers, 2 rhode islands, and 2 barred rocks) who have all been raised together and never have had an aggression or pecking issue, not as much as a broken feather. They are now around 16 weeks old. Yesterday morning I wake up and go out to check my chickens and one of my Rhode Island Reds has been viciously attacked with her feathers and skin lifted from her scalp and one of her eyes missing. I do not know if this happened inside of the coop or outside in the run. I saw no signs of bloody beaks and saw no blood inside of the coop but I am at a loss. I separated the hen immediately and am providing wound care and have her in the house. Did my other hens do this? has anyone experienced this before? it is possible she could have been attacked through her cage/run prior to going in the coop at night I guess. I just have no idea what would cause or do that. I have an omlet cube with a run extension..It is supposed to be predator proof. Can anyone shed some light on this or provide advice. I don't want this to happen to any of my other hens.
 

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That cube thing is way too small for six chickens. It might be safe for two.

It's really hard to know what happened but when birds are crammed into a too small space they can turn on each other.

Wouldn't you have noticed the injury when they were closed in for the night?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That cube thing is way too small for six chickens. It might be safe for two.

It's really hard to know what happened but when birds are crammed into a too small space they can turn on each other.

Wouldn't you have noticed the injury when they were closed in for the night?
I was concerned about the size, but omlet says it is adequate for 6-8 hens. I have written to them as well. As far as the injury goes, I do have the automatic door and so I went out to check and make sure they were all in the coop that evening but I did not see them before they went in. That's why I'm concerned that it could have happened prior. I will have to look at getting a larger coop. I just thought if that was an issue there may have been some signs of "bullying" prior to an injury like this. Thanks for your input
 

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Adequate space will cure a lot of issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes, I am concerned that may be the issue. I am frustrated that omlet says this coop is adequate for 6-8 medium to large chickens. I am new to raising chickens and I guess I was going on good faith that they knew what was best. Thanks for the advice
Adequate space will cure a lot of issues.[/QUOTE
 

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All of those prefab places lie about how many birds their coops will hold. Think in terms for open floor space, a large fowl needs four square feet of open floor space to live relatively peacefully. The definition of open floor space means that space that waterers, feeders, and nests are not part of the equation. Roosts don't count since birds really only use roosts at night.

If you need any help with the injured bird let us know. The missing eye could be problematic and might need a vet to address it.
 

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Welcome to the Forum! I took a look at their website, and in my humble opinion, you need more room. The head injuries you described are typical for lack of space and bullying. Perhaps you can add on to your existing coop setup. We have a saying around here that a coop is never finished. We are always tweaking here and there or adding this or that. Sometimes it's helpful to take a step back and be the chicken psychologist or detective. Careful observation will often show what is driving the behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All of those prefab places lie about how many birds their coops will hold. Think in terms for open floor space, a large fowl needs four square feet of open floor space to live relatively peacefully. The definition of open floor space means that space that waterers, feeders, and nests are not part of the equation. Roosts don't count since birds really only use roosts at night.

If you need any help with the injured bird let us know. The missing eye could be problematic and might need a vet to address it.
Yes, Thank you! I have been using vetericyn spray to her wounds and I placed ointment to keep the areas moist. She is not having any active bleeding. She does have a couple areas of skin that have folded over that I was unable to lay back over openings but she was uncomfortable so I didn't want to push it. She is eating and drinking. I feel so awful about this!
As far as space goes, they do have a run attachment that is 6x8feet connected to a 9x3 foot run from the "house". If they are only in the house at night to sleep is this adequate? Or the house at night should have that much room? Geez, I thought I had all of this figured out before I ever got my girls:/
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome to the Forum! I took a look at their website, and in my humble opinion, you need more room. The head injuries you described are typical for lack of space and bullying. Perhaps you can add on to your existing coop setup. We have a saying around here that a coop is never finished. We are always tweaking here and there or adding this or that. Sometimes it's helpful to take a step back and be the chicken psychologist or detective. Careful observation will often show what is driving the behavior.
Yes, I am trying to trouble shoot how I may be able to add on to this coop...I think you may be right about the coop never being done. That being said I will do whatever it takes to prevent this from occurring again...The whole thing is just awful!
 

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Yes, Thank you! I have been using vetericyn spray to her wounds and I placed ointment to keep the areas moist. She is not having any active bleeding. She does have a couple areas of skin that have folded over that I was unable to lay back over openings but she was uncomfortable so I didn't want to push it. She is eating and drinking. I feel so awful about this!
As far as space goes, they do have a run attachment that is 6x8feet connected to a 9x3 foot run from the "house". If they are only in the house at night to sleep is this adequate? Or the house at night should have that much room? Geez, I thought I had all of this figured out before I ever got my girls:/
Believe me, we never have it all figured out with these guys. All we can do is our best and let them tell us when something needs to change.

They are still in there for 8 plus hours. Not all of that time is sleeping. If you have bad weather then it's guaranteed they'll be in there during the waking hours.

That skin that's folded over will probably die even if you could flap it back over, it would be best to snip it off. The eye is really the major concern for her. If it infects she's going to be in trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Believe me, we never have it all figured out with these guys. All we can do is our best and let them tell us when something needs to change.

They are still in there for 8 plus hours. Not all of that time is sleeping. If you have bad weather then it's guaranteed they'll be in there during the waking hours.

That skin that's folded over will probably die even if you could flap it back over, it would be best to snip it off. The eye is really the major concern for her. If it infects she's going to be in trouble.
yes, I have contacted my vet. unfortunately no one is open until tomorrow and the emergency vet here does not treat poultry. I am hoping I can take her in tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I sure hope they'll see her. They will give her best chance to survive the attack no matter what was responsible for it.

Please let us know what the vet says. It's how we all learn.
Good news on the Henrietta front. The vet does not think that the other hens caused her injury at all which was a huge relief to me. She says it looks like a snatching injury. She thinks Henrietta will heal. She is getting sedated and sutured up tonight and she will be put on antibiotics for 1 week for her eye. My next coop project will be to find some nice hardware wire to reinforce their fencing to try to keep this from happening again. I think I can put it right over their current fencing system and secure it with zip ties or clips.
 

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I'm so glad your vet would see her. It makes it so much easier for both of you.

Yes, you can lay wire over top of your existing wire and secure it with ties or cage clips.

My question is, what was it? It had to have happened during the day which leaves out most predators.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm so glad your vet would see her. It makes it so much easier for both of you.

Yes, you can lay wire over top of your existing wire and secure it with ties or cage clips.

My question is, what was it? It had to have happened during the day which leaves out most predators.
She says she thinks perhaps an owl injury? I guess they can come out during the day too, but could have happened at dusk before they went in. She says she thinks something with talons which is why she lost her eye.
 

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That's rough. And you've got yourself one heck of a vet.

Until you get the wire installed you can put something like plastic or shade cloth over their run to keep anything from reaching through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's rough. And you've got yourself one heck of a vet.

Until you get the wire installed you can put something like plastic or shade cloth over their run to keep anything from reaching through.
yes! That is the plan. I'm hoping to start the wire tomorrow too. I'm so nervous for my girls. This has been traumatic for sure. The Vet is awesome! She owns chickens too and is so knowledgeable. I was surprised that they were actually going to sedate and suture here but they are going the extra mile for sure!
 

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Talons-could have been a hawk too. I have both owls and hawks. Most of the time it has been the hawks though the big owls do get any smaller fowl that has been dumb enough to roost outside in an unshielded spot.
 
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