Agressive hen

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Caroline Byrne

Agressive hen

Post by Caroline Byrne » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:01 pm

Hi all
I have had my four girls for about 4 weeks now. They all arrived together and have generally settled down well except that my Light Sussex is very aggressive towards two of the others. She leaves the Maran alone but my poor Skyline and Buff Orpington are looking very bedraggled as she pecks out their back/neck feathers. I isolate her within sight of the others all day and only let her go into the coop once the others have all gone to roost. This is fine but can anyone tell me how long I will have to do this? I tried letting her mix yesterday and now my Orpington has a completely bald neck (she's not so good at getting out of the way). No blood has been drawn yet but I fear it's only a matter of time.
As I say, I can isolate her all day but only have one coop so she goes back in with the others every night. I have tried gentian violet and also Ukadex which smells utterly vile but does not deter her!
I do hope someone has a solution!
Caroline
snifter
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Re: Agressive hen

Post by snifter » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:06 pm

Odd the spray hasn't put her off. I find it works a treat on my chooks as they find it repulsive. Are you sure you've sprayed enough of it on? A really good blast of it in the affected areas I find works.

Sounds like she is pecking them when they all roost then. I'd be inclined to keep her in a box inside or elsewhere overnight for a bit. It may well be because they have thicker feathering she just pecks away. Or put her in the perch with the one she does not peck between her and the others and make sure its totally dark in there.

Other than that, not sure. Good luck.
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Tim
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Re: Agressive hen

Post by Tim » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:04 am

Hi Caroline,

Does she go for them / attack them / chase them or does she just walk up to them looking interested in the neck, pecking at the feathers as they stand / walk around?

Feather pecking is a poultry vice that birds can get into, usually when in a confined run when they get bored. This is different to attacking / pecking as part of the pecking order. I'm trying to work out what she is up to.

Tim
Caroline Byrne

Re: Agressive hen

Post by Caroline Byrne » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:22 pm

Thanks for the responses. She chases the hybrid who gets out of the way fast but poor old Hetty the Orpington isn't so bright and Margo follows her around eyeing her neck the whole time and grabbing a beakful whenever she can. She doesn't eat the feathers and I hang up various nets with cabbage, broccoli, spinach, grapes etc as well as a pecking block so keep them occupied. I feel with Victoria Peckham it's a dominance thing but not so sure about Hetty. Maybe Margo is a feather fixated bully! She is always first or second out of the coop in the morning and was always first to bed until I isolated her. I now make sure all the others are roosting before I let her go up and am hoping her place in the pecking order will be lowered...
Caroline
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Tim
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Re: Agressive hen

Post by Tim » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:39 pm

Yes, you're right, sounds like aggression rather than boredom..

Usually, once the pecking order is established after a short while, things will settle down and the others will simply back down / avoid her if she gets in their way. Although I've never experienced it, I have heard sometimes a hen can be OTT and not give up, constantly bullying others in which case the only real solution is separation by whatever means.

I've seen some real vicious attacks but after a week, sometimes two, things calm down once the order is re-established. It certainly helps having a large area for them so they can get away. It's not fair on them if they are kept in a small run.

If any blood is drawn, be sure to remove the injured hen as they will soon get pecked to death - chooks love red.

I'm also surprised the anti-peck spray doesn't work. There is also a tar you can get but I don't know much about this - I guess they get it on their beak and then spend the next 10 minutes cleaning their beak!

Tim
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