November 2, 2012

Feathered Fightclub

About time for me to bust out another Feathered Friday around here. I was doing so well for awhile....

Oh, the ladies. They are trouble. And I mean WAY more trouble than this. The topic of butchering/getting rid of one of our own hens may or may not have been brought up more than once in the last several weeks (Note: We're not going to, but for awhile it did seem like one of our only options)

I don't think it's really a secret to anyone (but our hens), who's the real favorite around these parts....

Sweet Suzy is not only platinum blond (like me!), but she's friendly, funny, personable, and all-around more likeable than our other ladies. The fact that she lays the blue eggs doesn't hurt her odds either.... ;)

So imagine my disgust when everyone starts picking on my girl. We hadn't changed anything about their routine, or living quarters etc. for quite awhile, so we couldn't determine WHY they were all ganging up on her all of the sudden. Suzy is usually quite assertive and doesn't let herself get pushed around. Our ladies generally get along really well since they've been around each other for quite some time now. So you can maybe understand why this was so upsetting to me.

And this wasn't just routine heckling with a peck here, and a poke there. No. Instead, the other three were jumping on top of her, pushing her into the ground, and all three of them would peck her entire body while she just laid there. I rushed outdoors when I noticed what was going on, and pulled the other hens off her. She ran upstairs and hid out, and I stupidly assumed all was going to be ok. I left Jake a note asking him to check on her when he got up, and rushed off to work.

When Jake woke up a few hours later, the first thing he noticed was that they were right back after Suzy. He went outside and set her up in her own pen with food and water. She was surprisingly happy to be on her own (most chickens HATE being separated from the flock) but it seemed she knew she was safe when she was alone.

I'd always read that it is best to re-introduce the hens once they've gone to bed for the night. The idea is that when they all wake up together they'll assume they're all part of the same flock. We're not talking about brilliant creatures here, so they're easily fooled in the guise of darkness. So that's exactly what I did. Once I saw Dorothy, Bertha, and Matilda head upstairs for the night I went out and grabbed Suzy who'd already settled down into a dust bowl for the evening. I put her in with the other three who were already asleep, and everyone settled in fine. I went to bed myself thinking all was well.

Until I woke up to a 'chicken scream' the next morning, that is. Grrr. I shot out of bed, and ran outside to the same scene as the morning before. Bertha, Dorothy, and Matilda all in various stages of beating up on Suzy. I opened the coop door, and she ran to me immediately. I put her back in the chicken tractor, and rushed off to Scooter's vet appointment, worrying about her the whole time. 

Chickens are mean, and they tend to pick on each other when anything looks different. Because Suzy is molting later the the other three, she's been left with some exposed skin, and a lot less feathers. So for now, she's relegated to spending her days alone in the chicken tractor for her own safety. We'll call it the chicken protection program ;) I called our vet who has chickens of her own, and she's recommended we keep Suzy separated until she's grown every. single. feather back. Yikes!

So here's hoping for fast feather growth! I'm hoping things go by quickly, because the longer she's left alone, the harder it will be to re-introduce her to the flock....Our chicken-related troubles certainly aren't over, but hopefully we're on the right track to normalcy again. And for anyone out there with a flock of your own, I'd appreciate you weighing in (in the comments) with any tips/tricks you've tried that might help us out.

Have a great weekend everyone! Today's my birthday, so I plan to celebrate all weekend long :)


  1. Way to make me sound like a sleepy-head, “when jake woke up a few hours later”!

    I don’t have any fantastic ideas to help the chickens, but it’s your Birthday and that means no worrying about anything- including chickens. I’ll take care of their issues (at least for today).

    1. Haha! You're hilarious....I haven't worried about them once yet today. I'll follow orders and wait to worry til tomorrow :D

  2. By the way, in case it wasn't obviously...chicken fighting is not endorsed in this household :)

  3. Question answered :) what meanies! Hope things are going ok with them now!


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