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Help and advice desperately needed

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I am at the end of my teather now and don't know what to do for the best. :( I have a very naughty hen and I've tried so many things to sort her out but nothing is working.


Betsy is a feather puller and pecker of other hens. When we first got her she picked on the only other hen in the run - Gloria - and almost pecked her to death. Sadly Gloria had to be put down.


We were advised to get more hens, so we got a bigger run and three more hens, making 4 in total. But Betsy then started picking on one of the new girls - Queenie. Over the summer Betsy pecked so much that Queenie ended up with a hole in her back about 2 inches in diameter and over an inch deep.


We improvised a barrier in the run and put Queenie on one side and the other three on the other side. We nursed Queenie back to full health adn all her feathers grew back. Its getting cold outside now and I didn't want to leave Queenie in iosolation and with no access to the eglu so this morning I pulled out the barrier and reintegrated them.


After two hours of being together (I went shopping) Queenie again has a hole in her back from being pecked so viciously by Betsy. A bit smaller this time fortunately. I have put her in a travel carrier for now.


This is what I have tried to sort out the problem:

. bumper bits on Betsy - she wears one almost permanently and still manages to cause this damage.

. hanging up fruit or veg every day for the hens to peck at - have also tried hanging CDs and pecka blocks

. painting stoockholm tar, tea tree oil spray and various other concoctions over Queenie

. isolating Betsy and then reintroducing her in the hope that she would go to the bottom of the pecking order.


NOTHING works and I just want to cry now :wall::(:(


I am going to have to re-home Betsy, I think. I don't know what else to do and I can't have her killing another hen (again) or having the hens permanently separated. My garden isn't big enough for another eglu in any case.


Can anyone tell me how I go about getting her rehomed and where she could go?


HELP!!!! :(:(

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Cookie, I am so sorry. This is a really sad situation and you have done brilliantly in trying everything.


I have no experience of a vicious pecker, so I can't really advise you. But when Big Bad Kelly was horrible, I separated her, not the victim. She quickly associated her nasty behaviour with isolation and learnt only to do it if I wasn't watching! I also gave her lots of cuddles - to assert myself as her superior - and offered treats from my hand.


You obviously have a major and ongoing problem. I wonder why she behaves like that? Must be her nature perhaps?


I understand how miserable you must feel. it is so frustrating when nothing seems to work. If you decide to rehome her, don't feel bad about it. You have tried your best. Good luck!

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I think you have gone above and beyond what could possibly be expected and you are to be congratulated. Ginette's advice is supportive to your difficult hen, and if it works that is great. But ...


I think it is time for a one to one behind the shed - emotional for you and terminal for her.


You have to put her down.


You can't subject the rest of your flock to this for long. You can't inflict her on anyone else. It would be cruel to keep her by herself.


It sounds horrible, and I expect there will be many people who disagree with me, but I think you only have one answer. I'm afraid that this is like dealing with a perenially sick hen, one of those times when you can't be nice and cuddly - you have to do the hard bit about animal keeping.


Evil Richard now sits and waits for all the flack!

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Thank you all for your kind words. Your support has really cheered me up.


Richard, I did think the other week that if she was on a farm or similar she may well have been put down by now. But I couldn't put her down myself, and I don't think our vet would either - I don't know?


If it is possible to get her rehomed, then I would prefer that, but am not sure if that's possible.


I liked the idea of a City Farm, Egluntine. We have one here in Leyton and another close by in Hackney - I will try giving them a call.


Ginette, I tried separating Betsy (the bully) for two weeks earlier in the summer, but had no impact. The mad thing is that she is my tamest and cudliest hen who has laid an egg a day ever since I got her!


Oh, what to do?? :(

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I agree Richard, we have a couple of peckers but no serious damage as yet but if it all got out of hand there woould only one answer but it would take a lot to do it.


The vet put down one of our chickens who had crop problems and was never going to be well. He charged £15 and said that he brought his own chickens into the surgery when dispatch was necessary.


It may be the coawrds way out but it is humane and I would have to learn from someone very experienced before I would be prepared to despatch my own chicken.

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Ginette, that made me laugh - thank you!!


Yep - she's a complete psycho!! :evil:


I have booked an appointment witht e vet tomorrow lunchtime. I am going to take both Betsy & Queenie along (in different boxes obviously!) so that he can see the damage Betsy is causing. I want to chat to him and see what he thinks.

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I'm afraid I agree with having her put to sleep :( . Some hens develop a taste for blood/cannibalistic tendency and no matter what you try it can't be stopped.


You aren't able to enjoy being a chicken-keeper as you have this situation to deal with, which must be very stressful. I hope you get things sorted.

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I liked the idea of a City Farm, Egluntine. We have one here in Leyton and another close by in Hackney - I will try giving them a call.




Sorry to be flippant but I've been imagining this all afternoon - its pure Bob Newhart.


Hello, City Farm here


Hi, I wonder if you'd like a chicken


Um, yes, a chicken. Well we already have quite a few, but. Is it a nice one?


Oh yes, she's lovely, she's super colour and very um very um pretty. She can be a little aggressive.


OK. Aggressive. With children?


Oh no, fine with children, but not quite so good with other chickens.


How so?


Well, she pecks holes in them. Only little ones - the holes that is. And she hasn't touched the dog ... yet.


Oh. How do the other hens find that then?


Well they don't really like it. But the dead one doesn't complain any more... and the others, well ..


etc. etc.


Sorry to be flippant (my usual failure) but I really couldn't try and palm off a killer chicken onto anyone else - it would be beyond my selling powers!

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He he!


I've decided she's too thuggish for either the Leyton or the Hackney farms. She's an asbo hen.


Thanks again to all for your kind comments and support. This really is the best forum anywhere! I will post an update after I've been to the vets tomorrow lunchtime.

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Oh dear Cookie, what a hard decision to have to make. I do agree with Richard as well. The only other option if you really couldn't bear to part with her, would be to let her live out her life as a solitary hen. My chief chicken is a lovely girl as well, very cuddly, but she is horrible to the others - not as bad as yours though, mine just has little nips when they go past, no damage done at all. :? Good idea to chat with the vet first. Hope it goes well.

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I don't laugh out loud very often - but you have brought me close to hysterics.



It was 'the dead one doesn't complain anymore' that I couldn't even say (I was telling DD3 about it). I laughed so much I was nearly sick. :shock:


But I'm grateful to you - I need a good laugh! Just maybe not the roll on the floor variety too often!

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Well I took both Betsy & Queenie to the vet, and after a long chat we decided the only option was to put Betsy to sleep. It was a horrible decision to have to make, and I cried buckets all the way home, but I'd come to see that it was the only option left. The vet was fantastic, very supportive and understanding. He had a quick look at Queenie's wounds too and said that they should heal themselves within a few weeks.


Thank you to EVERYONE for all your fantastic support and kind words. I am going to go and have another big cry now, but then I'll be focusing on Maud, Daisy & Queenie. Maybe once Queenie's back to full feathered loveliness, we may get another hen or a couple of bantams to fill up the eglu.


Thank you once again.


Cookie. xx

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really sorry to hear that, but I think it was the only thing you could do - and at least you got the vet's view on it as well, he's the one with experience. Think how Queenie will blossom now, without being attacked - and at least Betsy will not have to be isolated or punished any more.


What a tough decision, but well done for taking it. That is the hard side to keeping animals. :cry:

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