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Could a hen kill another hen?

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She's no Angel. :twisted: I'm wondering if she could kill. Today she got on top of Speckledy Rose, held her by the neck and proceeded to kick her as if to break her neck. :twisted::twisted: It reminded me of the way cats behave.


Way back in my childhood we had a killer blackbird. One morning there were four blackbirds dead on the drive with their necks broken and feet in the air. We had been observing this particularly territorial blackbird so knew that it wasn't a cat.


The thing is Angel has a bumper bit fitted. Each week when I clean out, there are about 20 feathers plucked out from the new girls (been with us 2 weeks now). If they get this plucked they might end up the way Pirate was - bald crop and tummy.


They free range and so can keep out of each others way but I will need to fence them in when the weather gets better and the children play in the garden.


Today I shut the fence and that is when the incident happened with the new girls running at the fence to get out.


As you know Angel pecked me in the eye and to be honest if she wasn't givng us eggs I have black thoughts about getting rid of her. :?

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Hi Diana


Sorry to hear things aren't going so well. I remember the trials of the bumper bit!


Could you poss separate Angel? maybe in a box in the shed for a few days? Someone recommended this before as a way to 'interupt' the pecking order. Then reintroduce her as she will be bottom as is 'new' again?


Sorry i haven't any other ideas.


Good luck

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I'm really sorry to hear about Angel's behaviour, Diana. I went onto the Practical Poultry forum to see if anyone on there had experienced the same thing. It's not that common, but it certainly does happen, and there are several suggestions, the main one being to keep them seperate for a while, so that they can see and get used to each other, but not get at each other. Ultimately, if she does not improve, you could try rehoming her with someone who has a larger flock. They also said that if you seperate them completely and reintroduce the oldie as a newbie, you are just delaying the inevitable squabbles. Could you put some trellis down the middle of their run perhaps?


Worth going on there for a browse. Hope things settle down soon - I'd hate to see anything happen to your lovely new chooks! :(

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I've read elsewhere that if you can spare the time, staying out with them and squirting the offender with a blast from a water pistol (maybe a supersoaker) every time they misbehave, can shock them out of the act. If it happens often enough, the penny drops.


Good luck.

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Hello Diana1...me again!


Found this on another site. Thought it might be useful! It's about aggressive roosters (roo's:roll: ) but apparrently could work for hens.


First, separate the roo from the hens. Ideally, put him in small heated area inside your basement if you have one. If you do use your basement, you must supply a light source for about 12 hours a day. Turn if off at night. I usually dim the light for about 5 minutes before shutting it off to give the roo a chance to get on the roost before it gets too dark. You can use a large box for a cage but try to make it about 4 feet by 4 feet so your roo has room to walk around and get some exercise. You will need a feeding dish or feeder, waterer, and a roost. The main thing here is to separate him from his girls and make it so he cannot see or hear them and at the same time provide him with comfortable living quarters. He must be isolated for this to work.


In the bottom of this cage, put wood shavings about 2 inches deep to absorb his droppings.


Move him to his new location after dark if you must, or during the day, you can wear a jacket, gloves and most importantly safety glasses.


After you put him in his new home, visit him at least two or three times a day and talk to him to keep him calm. Feed him and make sure he has fresh water. After about the second day, you will see him start to calm down. At this point, you should be able to start touching him a little. Pet the back of his head, shoulders or chest. For the first days of handling, I would still wear the jacket, gloves and glasses. at this point, if your roo is still vicious, you should pick him up by holding his legs together, with one hand and hold his neck firmly with your other hand. While still holding him, either place him on your lap or hold him on the ground and talk quietly to him until you sense he has calmed down. This usually only takes a minute or two. When he is calm, and not before then, you can let him up. Just be sure, he is not getting hurt in any way. After you use the restraining method on him a few times, you should be able to enter his space without being attacked anymore. At this point, every time you visit him, pick him up, pet him and talk to him. Also during these sessions and while he is on your lap, it would be a good idea to give him a treat like cracked corn or chopped apples. Let him eat these out of your hand and pet him while he is eating. Also at this point, you should not need the gloves or jacket anymore but I would always use the safety glasses working with chickens because they like to peck at shiny objects. I would bet that after two or three weeks maximum, you will have the best behaved roo you could imagine.


It does take a little time to accomplish this, but I think if you persevere, you will succeed and will be rewarded by his behavior. I must also state that at the end of this 2 to 3 week period, the roo will perceive you as his master. If other people, dogs, pets, etc., come next to you while roo is with you, and he thinks they are trying to hurt you, he may attack them, so be on the watch for this.


After this two to three week period, return your roo to the flock but continue to pet him and talk to him on a daily basis and he will remain docile.


I have used this technique on many roos that were up to two years old with great success

Hope there are some useful tips there.


Have you got a basement?

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Interesting - will take a while to digest.


So treating violence with kindness could be the the answer. So far I have given Angel a bit of her own medicine. She certainly knows Im boss. I can keep then separate but I don't want to buy another eglu so they'll have to roost together. No feathers plucked last night.


Thanks for your replies.


I was thinking of buying that gentian violet or that smelly stuff

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Nothing to add to the very good suggestions above.


On my trawls through P P forum I remember reading that you do sometimes get a rogue hen or cockerel. It is worth trying the above tactics but it may be that you have to get rid of Angel - perhaps to someone who has a fair sized flock where she would be put in her place or......... you may have to cull :(

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They certainly can, but it's very rare. If inside the Eglu is peaceful, I would say there's good hope that settling together is just around the corner. If she did mean to kill, it would be more likely that she would be viscious in the Eglu, so if they are roosting OK I would keep them together and look at the daytime part;

Remember that Angel has been bereaved. When Sam PP died, her original partner really mourned, even though I had 2 other hens and the 3 of them were good companions. When I some weeks later introduced 3 new hens, the new PP had a hard time, although she is not even at the bottom of the order. I'm sure that the original 3 gave me withering looks to say "Where's Sam, yes that's a black hen, but don't you realise it's not Sam" as if I should be bringing her back and was getting it wrong. Honestly, chicken brains may have a bad reputation, but they know & remember when something's not right! So, I think Angel is missing Pirate and also needs to make sure the newbies recognise her as Top Hen. So, I am optimistic that what is happening is a short term pecking order problem which could settle down very soon.

I had to PM someone experienced when I introduced an established pair to my original pair. Such venom & hatred, and yes, on the back & swinging her. The 1st week was horrendous, the 2nd week, good & bad times.

By the 3rd week they were all foraging together like old friends, I couldn't believe it! I really hope this will be the same for you.

So, free ranging is good when you can. When fenced in, do you have several food & water stations, (i'd have 3) Angel can only be in one place. Also, if you can give mixed corn as a treat in the afternoon for a few days, but spread it around generously,(when fenced in) this may set a pattern for Angel. She will be aggressive mostly to show that she is to be Top Hen & all treats are hers. If there's always plenty & she gets used to the others having some because it's no threat to her own full belly, she may calm down. Don't put the corn in one pile! You need to get the Pavlovian response that being shut in with 2 others is a good thing because treats for her come then!

The young ones showing submission, and anything that helps Angel not to feel threatened, should help if you can spare the time the next few crucial days. Then she'll start forgetting that they haven't been there all along, and you'll have your Angel back!

I also found that if I stood watching the violence it was worse, as if they had something to prove to me as well! Plus, a back jumping is how they sort it out, looks awful to us, but nature's course in henpecking order really. So, try not to get involved and seperate, it might be more quickly solved if they just get on with it.

I'd only think about rehoming etc if it goes beyond the next couple of weeks and is relentless, or if it seemed to be night as well as day.

Good luck, Diana! :D

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Could you poss separate Angel? maybe in a box in the shed for a few days? Someone recommended this before as a way to 'interupt' the pecking order. Then reintroduce her as she will be bottom as is 'new' again?


That's exactly what I was going to suggest too, Christian. It would be better to try that before thinking about rehoming her, wouldn't it.

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Sounds like ti's just not my hens which have been in the wars recently then. Muddles and Starlet have been fighting. Muddles came off worse though and not have two smallish scabs on her comb. I was quite worried but they seem to have settled down again.


I read about if you have hens being bullied you should take out the bully and not the victims.

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Well :D:D:D


Let me tell you. This afternoon I was banashed to the garden while creative things were being done in aid of my birthday tomorrow. Angel was the perfect companion. Normally she has an evil look in her eye always looking for an opportunity to peck me and it was never really pleasant to be gardening with her on the loose. But today we could have been best friends. It was as if she was saying sorry and wanted company and yes she may be missing the companionship she had with Pirate.


She stayed close, not always foraging sometimes just sitting. She was sort of purring occasionally - can you believe that :roll: Her submissive behaviour seemed to give the new girls confidence and they came quite close too.


Oh yes and this morning when I put cooked rice out for a treat in two locations Pirate II was bold enough to eat a few grains from Angel's station.


I really think its going to be ok after all. :D

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Having spent time despising Angel and (almost) wishing she was elsewhere, now she doesn't seem so well :?:? . I took her straight to the vet as I felt like such a bad mother to Pirate that I wanted to get Angel checked out while she is still normal weight. Her crop is ok. She seemed to limp a bit yesterday but that has gone. She is losing lots of feathers so she could be moulting. She has sat down and dosed this morning which is unusual.


I have now shut her in the eglu so she is near food and water. She is just standing still and girating her bum in and out. She hasn't laid for over a week. Oh god I don't want her to die - she is such a character and she lets me pick her up and well I know her. The new ones don't seem quite such a part of the family yet. ho hum

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Thanks AnnieP.


This afternoon I've been working on edging the area around their eglu to create a tidier bark area. Angel has eaten quite a few garden worms. She did keep stopping for a dose under the bushes. The new girls were busy preening and Angel was sat dosing off. The last time she was like this it was high summer and I think she was dehydrated and after a few day's she laid an odd thing like chewing gum. It's possible with the ice that she hasn't drunk first thing like perhaps she would do normally. She's had to wait until I break the ice. How often do you change the water? I don't do it every day. They seem to drink from all over the garden in various places so they don't seem ultra fussy for fresh water every day. However I am going to change the water more just in case.


Still worried that I've poisoned her with my left overs. :roll: perhaps salt isn't such a worry coz don't they eat marmite which is full of salt?


The vet said that her eyes were bright, that her comb was great and that perhaps the lack of eggs was something to do with the new arrivals. The vet said that she did not want to administer any drugs yet and for me to see what Angel was like in the morning. Oh and she did check to see if she was egg bound and all fine.


Angel is so tame compared to the new girls - they go bonkers especially Pirate II - she's like a road runner.

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