Jump to content

Trouble with flock - all going Pete Tong!

Recommended Posts

Hi I wondered if I could have some advice as I feel my flock is falling apart! 


I have four hens, let's call them 1 2 3 & 4! 


No. 1 was poorly about 8 weeks ago. Really lethargic, skinny and the others started picking on her. So I popped her in our hen hospital, tried a few things including vitamin drops then found a lovely video on YouTube that helped me to empty her crop and after a few days she sprang back to life! I did think she was on her last legs but she made a recovery. She was top hen but when she was reintroduced she became 2/3. She is now poorly again. Laboured type breathing, not her crop issue of before,  but losing feathers and may remove her tomorrow as they are picking on her again. I need to Google her symptoms as when I examined her, her head and comb were boiling hot. 

2. Hen 2 is now top hen and has become an incredible bully. She has also started at 7pm making such a racket just before  bed time.  Now she has always been vocal with her proudness of laying an egg, which still happens. But now it's at night too. Im not sure why as she has already laid. Why being noisy again at night ? 

3. Hen 3 is just chilled and gets on with it. Nothing to report about her! 

4. Hen 4 I would gladly give away. She is high maintenence and hyperactive. I've spoken about her on here before. She takes the joy out of chicken keeping. Constantly pacing, squawking ans generally raises her own stress levels...she spends most of the day pacing the coop and running up and down the cube stairs 🙄🤷‍♀️


One of them is eating eggs. Started about 6 weeks ago. I cant work out which one. I've put rubber eggs in the cube but this hasnt dettered her. The coop smells constantly because of broken eggs and I'm fed up of clearing shells and only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day. I check it several times a day to remove as soon as I can but finding it so frustrating. This hasn't happened before and I don't know how to stop it. 

I'm not enjoying having chickens at the mo. And don't know how to fix it all. 

Wondered  if  someone of you could help. Would really appreciate it. 

I would add they have a tonic in their water, they have a 10m squared run and also free range another closed off grassed area of about 6m squared grass. 


Thanks for any advice you can give. And thanks for reading my loooooong post z 

Edited by MamaCoop
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh and forgot to add saw a rat in my coop this morning.... never seen one before. Their coop is on concrete slabs so no idea how it's got in. Definately a rat as was huge! We have an omlet low rise and there is no way it sqeezed through the wire. Traps going down tonight after hens are in bed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid rats can squeeze through the bars of the Omlet run.

I have a video of one doing it.

As for your girls, I'm not sure of the best thing to advise.

I had 2 very nasty bullies at one point and in the end had to rehome them.

I think I would take hen 1 to the vet though to see if there is anything that can be done to make her better.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crikey mamacoop I’m not sure how to get out of this but I didn’t want to not say anything. It sounds like you’ve got the prefect storm of rubbishness going on.

Rats can squeeze through the normal Omlet run mesh - I’ve watched a medium sized one do it to get out of my run. It was a real squeeze and involved a lot of wiggling but it made it. If you take the food and water out every night that should stop it.

Hen 1 - unfortunately I would suspect there is something going on that caused her crop problem before and you’re seeing a resurgence of whatever that is. Have they been wormed recently? I’d try to find a vet who knows about chickens and take her to them.

Hen 2 - the noise in the evenings is probably due to her rise to the top of the pecking order. She’s effectively being a cockerel. I doubt there’s a lot you can do about it. Her bullying will hopefully reduce once said pecking order has been in place for longer and is more established.

Hen 3 - 🥰

Hen 4 - if she and you are both unhappy about her situation perhaps you could try rehoming her to somewhere that they free range all the time. Maybe with Hen 2 if you’d prefer her not to go on her own.

I’m sorry to hear you’re not enjoying them but with all that going on I can’t say I blame you. Good luck.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gosh! I can really understand this isn’t really fun anymore.

Personally I would rehome hen 4. I’ve had a hen 4 and rehomed her too. I caught myself having daydreams of coming up with ways to cull her... that’s how frustrated I was with her. Like @mullethunter says, she might be happier too in a larger flock/with cockerel/with freeranging. Rehoming one might tip the balance enough again to settle the others.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The presence of a large rat can easily upset the flock dynamics as they can injure a chicken. Rats also eat eggs which they normally carry off, but perhaps can't get through the mesh? The previous owner of our house in the UK had chickens and he complained of not getting many eggs. Clearing the undergrowth nearby and we found a pile of dozens of egg shells.

The first stage I think is to catch the rat, then see how the chickens behave.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all of your replies. I really appreciate it. 


@Luvachicken I didn't realise they could squeeze through. It looked pretty big. I spotted it from the upstairs window. Caught my eye. We are isolating here at the moment due a child having a positive covid test (though not poorly) and not able to go out for another 5 days. I have hand fed her this morning along with some vitamin drops, her temperature doesn't seem as high. But she isn't herself.  Will keep a close eye on her and if she deteriorates will see if my neighbour will pop her to the vets for me. 


@mullethunter I love your description of perfect  storm of  rubbishness. That is exactly how it feels!!! 😊 thanks for info about hen 2 and her noisy night times.i may forgive her a little bit now! I didnt think of that. Would love a whole flock of No 3's.she is a Sussex blue, is massive compared to the others but is a joy!! And hilarious when she runs 😂

@Cat tails we have talked about Hen No 4 hen on here before! Think it was last summer. I do think she would be happier elsewhere. Just not sure how go about rehoming her.   


@Beantree I assumed the hens hadn't seen the rat...but maybe they have and that's contributing to them being all over the place? The shells are always in the cube. So when I go into the egg port...they are all.just there. Most of the time crushed. Could a rat get into a cube? Or is this the hens eating them? I hadn't thought it could be the rat. 


A few traps went out last night. So hopefully will catch it soon. 🤞



Edited by MamaCoop
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi I thought I would give an update to the trouble at mill post.

No 1 hen is currently very poorly. We are unable to get to a vet as we are isolating as two members of our family have tested positive for covid. There isn't anyone we know that could take her either. 

I have been caring for her the last few days giving her nutrition drops and massaging her crop but nothing is coming out. The crop was the problem last time. This morning I noticed her tummy was very swollen so popped her in a warm bath and massaged her tummy slowly. She fell asleep and some not very nice stuff came out. But not a great deal.


I am assuming now she was our egg eater?  As when I carried her into the nesting box last night she pecked away at an egg shell.


Would eating their eggs make her poorly? Though after googled it could be egg bound And eating eggs due to a calcium deficiency? 


I have just checked on her again and she is very slowly breathing and not able to stand. Eyes closing. 

I suppose I have learned now the signs of egg eating and calcium deficiency leading to be  egg bound??? 

I have made her comfortable in her own nest box for the night. But expect she won't make it through.

Chicken 4 is still a pain and we haven't managed to catch the rat yet 😒

Have said a little prayer for her and she doesn't seem to be in any pain. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gosh what a mess! Just when you can’t use it! 

I’ve had hens with swollen abdomens and both had egg peritonitis, infection of the ovaries. Antibiotics were the answer then. But I suspect it will be too late for hen 1.
But you are doing all you can do right now, keeping her comfortable.

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...