All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

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Kimbab71
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All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Kimbab71 »

So all was going too well until today when we noticed one of the Nera we have (black) was feather pulling at the Oxford Blue. She was also having a peck at the others, but REALLY having a go at the blue. I read that they take time to settle and sort out the 'pecking order', also her comb is more developed than the others even though they are all 17 weeks, so I suspect more mature.

My question is- should I be worried, is this natural as they settle down or do I really need to sort this now?

We combed the woods today to find some decent branches that we put in for them to sit on/provide obstacles to avoid one another. Tomorrow we will hang food from the roof etc to keep them more occupied. Am I going down the right route here?

All advice welcome x Kim x
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Marigold
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Marigold »

Neras can be rather forceful by nature, and if she looks more developed she is probably throwing her weight around in a bid to be top hen. Bluebelles are often more shy and retiring by nature, sometimes less easy to tame, so I'm not surprised she is the one being picked on. Not much you can do at the moment, they have to sort it out for themselves - what a good thing you made them a lovely big run, you can see how she would be bullied badly in a little space. Just keep an eye, so long as no blood is shed it will be hard to watch but they will sort it out and then will find their place in the pecking order. Chickens can be horrible to each other, but will live peacefully together when they are used to each other, provided they have enough space. However, if any blood is shed you will need to separate the one who has been attacked, preferably behind a mesh screen within the run so she isn't isolated from the others. Any hens will attack the site where blood is evident, so if there's an actual injury they will all pile in. As soon as possible, get some antiseptic purple spray for use on any wounds, which will help healing and also camouflage the red colour which attracts attention. Can you provide more than one water and food point, in case she is being bullied off a single source? Places to hide behind in the run may help as well. Perches in the run are a good idea, if they are horizontal. Planed wood 2" by 2" with the edges rounded off is better than actual branches because there will be competition for the highest point if the perches are not the same height all along, and straight lengths are easier to fix to the run framework. Make them about 12 - 15" high, no higher because older hens may find it difficult to get down from them.
Kimbab71
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Kimbab71 »

Yes I had also read about the feeding points so added an extra feeder. I can also put in another water if needed.

Thank you Marigold that puts my mind at ease somewhat x
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Marigold
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Marigold »

If the blue gets actually injured, you'll need to separate her, as I said, but if the bullying gets any worse in the next few days, you may need to try Plan B, which is to temporarily remove the Nera for a few days, at least in the daytime, preferably out of the run altogether in a little pen somewhere, so the other three get a chance to settle down together and form a more friendly little flock. Then, when the Nera is returned, she will have become the 'outsider' facing the 'residents', in effect will have been demoted within the flock, and they may gang up on her a bit and prevent her being too aggressive.
If you think the blue isn't getting a chance to feed in peace, you could try taking her out of the run, or fence her off a little private corner to herself within the run, and feed her treats (mixed corn, dried mealworms, scrambled egg, hulled sunflower seeds) and give her a chance to eat, drink, and have a bit of time out in peace and quiet. A few minutes, 2-3 times a day, would make her your friend for life, I should imagine.
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rick
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by rick »

I can just see her in arrow print overalls, ball and chain, contemplating her dry crust and water.
Kimbab71
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Kimbab71 »

Well they all seem a lot happier this morning and to our suprise we were left an egg in the nest box! It's barely big enough to feed a small toddler, but an egg all the same.
Kimbab71
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Kimbab71 »

Well nearly 2 weeks on and harmony is restored in the Kimbab flock. Since putting in two separate feeders and drinkers there have been no incidents of bullying.
I have been letting them have the run of the garden for the last hour before they roost for the night. I get home at about 5.10pm and let them out and then they are usually tucked up by 6.15pm. I am a total convert to chickens and thoroughly enjoy watching them scrat ting about in the garden, they all have such funny little characters.

I hung up a couple of head of broccoli in their run the other day and OH MY LORD they gorged themselves on it! It was a wonder that Bertha (bluebelle) could walk with the size of her crop! It's all a learning curve, I now know not to hang up so much at once!

Now that they've settled and everyone is happy I want to get them wormed. I have Verm-X here, but is it best if I do them with Flubenvet first? They have all been wormed before I got them, so is it worth contacting the breeder to find out what it was she used and then alternating it? Thoughts please x
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BabyBantam
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by BabyBantam »

Flubenvet is the way to go - every 3 months - I do it Jan April July Oct. Some people do every 6 months, spring and autumn but mine free range and we have a lot of slugs (worm hosts) and wild birds in the garden. Vermex is only good as an "encouragement" for gut conditions to be unfriendly to worms and can be used between the flubenvet, but I've never bothered.
Watch out for poo changes if they are gorging on alternative foodstuffs. Frightened me into thinking Nancy was ill when she did the same on white cabbage. Also left me on the floor in stitches listening to her fart, even she looked surprised at that one :D
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Marigold
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Re: All not happy in the Kimbab Flock

Post by Marigold »

Yes I agree with BB, definitely use Flubenvet regularly.,Mine get it 2-3 times per year, but they don't free range so much as hers. Buy a tub online, which will provide 20 doses, ie will do yours 4 times. It's easy to measure out a kilo of food per hen into a large container, then remove some of it into another container and add enough vegetable oil to lightly coat the pellets. Then add the correct amount of Flubenvet powder ( a scoop for each 2 kilos)and mix well. Then gradually add the rest of the pellets, mixing well each time. Feed ONLY treated pellets for 7 days (no other treats) to ensure each hen gets her fill in relation to her size and appetite. If fed other stuff, they won't eat the full dose they need. Be hard hearted - like a good parent!
You can give herbal tonics as well if you like, but it's best not to alternate them as they won't actually kill worm eggs in the gut. Personally I've never found that healthy hens need any sort of tonic but if you like to give them something, it's probably harmless, except to your purse maybe.
More about worms and worming on Pouktrykeeper, see
http://poultrykeeper.com/general-chicke ... g-chickens
If you haven't already found this.
I'm glad things have settled down and they're getting on well together now.
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