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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Question: Chickens Not Getting Along

Hi Backyard farm,

I have 5 chickens who are close to a year old.  Recently, one was attacked by a opossum. She received some puncture wounds to her head and neck but did not physically look bad.  I isolated her for a couple of days in a dog cage on our back porch.  She would not eat or drink much.  I was worried about her vision too.

I took her for a visit with the other chickens and she seemed to perk up a bit.  I reintroduced her late at night in the coop.  For the first couple of days, she seemed to be
happy to be back but now one of the other chickens is picking on her.  Her personality is different now too. I am still curious about her vision--she bumps into the other chickens, etc.  but she is able to find her way into the coop in the evening.  She is always the last out of the coop in the morning.  She is still laying eggs.

My husband said that the bully chicken had her by the neck yesterday but let her go when she started squawking.  Should I let the pecking continue, should I isolate her or the bully chicken?  They live in a very large, fenced in, grass area.  There is plenty of room for her to get away from the bully chicken--she does isolate herself from the others.

I am frustrated and confused about how to handle them




gracielynn's said...

Hey I feel for ya ..
I think you did was best by separting her to start with & taking her back too.
we have had ckens for about 10 yrs & I am still learning !
I would say the others , esp the dominant one, might be attacking her cuz she is weaker then before.
of course if they every taste blood from their attacks they will be relentless. I have never had that happen , thankfully.
if she remains weaker & they won't leave her alone it might be best to put her down .
we had a pack of dogs go through a couple yrs ago & kill all but 2 of our flock ! last summer a coon got into the coop & killed all the chicks & our favorite mother & her brood outside the coop. I just hate that & always blame myself !
I wish I could be of more help.:-(

Kristina Seleshanko said...

It's a sad thing, but chickens are ruthless about "damaged" chickens. They clearly know she's not 100% yet. With time, things may improve. If your chickens start causing the injured hen to bleed, there's not much you can but separate the hen until she heals.

Anonymous said...

I had one of my dogs get ahold of my chickens. I seperated her out, put triple antibiotic cream on her horrible wounds and held her in a dog kennel with food and water for a couple of days. When introducing her back into the flock they can be pretty brutal. Id keep an eye on them for a couple of days being as they are trying to get the hierarchy figured out again. This type of thing has happened a couple of times and they seem to work it out.

-Sydney- said...

Isolate the bully--if she's the main one picking on your injured chicken, a few days in solitary might do her some good. Continuing to isolate the injured chicken will further alienate her from the others.

Carla said...

I agree with Sydney. Often isolating the problem maker for several days will knock her down the pecking order.

Kate said...

I also had a similar problem when we isolated one of our "shyer" birds when we suspected a cataract...wanted to be sure it wasn't anything contagious. Introducing back in was tough, and they still pick on her a bit (and this was months ago). Strangely enough, if I spend a bit of time out there with them and sort of chase off the bullies they seem to get the hint after a while...who knows, maybe it is my imagination. But it is so sad, she shy girl runs over to me when I come outside to take cover...