Chicken Catastrophe—>divided?

Nettie on the left. Birdie on the right.

You may remember, when I first introduced “the girls,” I said that Nettie was brooding when we got her, but was starting to peck the other two at feeding time.  Well, I noticed this morning, she was a little more aggressive. Then, this evening she was being really mean. Like, making the other two squeal, and not letting them eat. I took a close look, and saw both Birdie and Dolly were bleeding from their combs. Now, I don’t know much about chickens, but I do know if you see blood, it’s not a good thing.  So a quick google search, and an after hours phone call to “our chicken guy” confirmed, Nettie had to be isolated. Thus, the picture above. We did some fancy footwork, and divided the pen part of our coop into 2, with the old Net-ster on the left, and Birdie and Dolly on the right. ( Birdie is pecking around like nothing happened and Dolly is hiding the in coop growling at me.)

I made sure all the bleeding was done, applied some vaseline, gave both sides water and shut off the lights. Hopefully in a few days Nettie will be calm enough that we can let her back in with the other girls. I think she’s starting to molt, though, so we may have to come up with other arrangements for her.

Any of my more experienced chicken-owning friends out there have any suggestions?


6 responses

  1. Did your girls have their beaks trimmed when you got them? That really helps with the cat fights.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have much advice since my girls don’t do a lot of pecking on each other. They’ll peck on each other for a variety of reasons from boredom to aggression. Maybe your coop is too small and they need more space? Hopefully she’ll calm down when she’s over the chicken version of PMS!

  2. Just wanted to check in with you to see how the ‘girls’ were doing in the hen house….. any resolution to the conflict? Let us know…
    Thanks again for sharing your story with our readers….we had many great comments.
    Jim and Mary

    • Hi Guys! Thanks for checking in! Things are back to normal. Nettie is done molting, so she’s back with the rest of the girls after a week of isolation. She still pecks a little during eating, but I think that’s just because she’s in charge. They’ve been free-ranging in the evening since it’s been so nice, so that probably helps. 🙂 I’ll post an official update soon. Hope all is well with you!

  3. Free range is the answer I suppose?! Hens only “fight” (= quarrel) when they want to lay eggs in the same spot (which is usually the case, esp. when the hatching begins). I have never seen them really hurting eachother as usually one backs off. Different story with the cockerels though; they will go after eachother even on one acre…; so you would need to take out the fighters there; in “chicken” noodle soup; I agree! Btw; “beak trimming” is not permitted under organic standards and should never be required (or you are doing something wrong…).

    • Thanks for the advice. Things seemed to have tamed down. We free range them when we are home, but with hawks, coyotes and dogs around, I’m nervous to leave them out while I work. Nettie (the bully) was in full molt at the time, and only did it when we fed them. She hasn’t laid since we got her, so it wasn’t a nesting issue. We’ve built them a new, much larger coop that they’ll be in by the end of next week, so hopefully everyone will be happier. Beak trimming/debeaking, etc. is something I would NEVER consider doing! It seems so inhumane. Anyway, thanks for the advice again, and for stopping by!!

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