Chickens are Bullies

I am trying to work on 5 hours of sleep.  I was up late dealing with a chick, and got to bed two hours later than normal.  My daughter had slept in the living room with the dogs until the new Husky addition felt more at home.  Last night she slept in her room.  Since my bedroom is on the first floor, Mr. Insecure decided that he was done being without human companionship and began crying and pawing at my door very early this morning.   Right now, caffeine is my best buddy.

My next lesson with chickens is this: Chickens are mean bullies.

I fought to save the last pasted red hen.  She was doing fine.  Until yesterday.

I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in the brooder over the past few days other than having to clean all the food and water feeders every two hours, because a certain chick likes to fling pine shavings around so high that I’ve been hit in the face when taking the brooder lid off.   Guess who is causing the Chaos?  (hint, hint)

At the time, I wasn’t sure who the culprit was, so I stood and watched them.  Sure enough, the minute everything was put back into place, Chaos began flinging pine shavings all over.   I’m going to have to change the bedding to paper towels, because it’s becoming a real pain to try to keep everyone fed and watered when it’s buried constantly.

Once the chicks realized they could eat again, they all descended upon the feeder.  I noticed the little red trying to eat, but was being constantly shoved aside.   She finally gave up and retreated to a corner. Taking a small handful of feed from the bin, I sprinkled some on the ground in front of her.   She managed to get one bite before several others came over, pushed her away, and began eating it.  I realized this little one was being bullied.

I put more feed into my hand and held it in front of her.  She ran.  I have yet to get any of them to eat from my hand.  Picking her up, I tried to get her to eat, but she was too scared.   I put her in front of the feeder, and tried to keep the others from her, so she could eat.  She took a few bites, then went over to the grit to munch.  I decided to set up a second brooder in the morning and move her along with a couple other small ones to it, so they had more room and didn’t have to compete so much just to eat.

After being woken up by Mr. Insecure Husky, I let the dogs out and went to check on her in case I needed to help her eat again.  I gave a sad, “Nooooo.”  when I saw her little body was laying off to the side.  I’m pretty sure she was starved out by the others, and I discovered it too late.

I talked to some friends who have raised chickens and found out it is quite common for the group to “weed out” or “oust” the weaker ones to make the flock stronger.  They tell me separating her may not have done any good, since they may have still treated her the same when she was reintroduced.   I still would’ve liked the chance to try.  I researched and bought one of the most recommended books on raising chickens before I even ordered the chicks.  I never saw this behavior mentioned.  Sometimes losing one to my inexperience is frustrating.





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