Saturday, 5 January 2013

Killer hens! UPDATE

I've raised killer hens! Well not so much killers at the moment but certainly bullies.
Let me explain: A few weeks ago my husband rescued 10 battery hens, the hens were destined for broken necks simply because the lorry taking them south could only carry a certain amount, this left a surplus that needed homes.
10 was all we dared to take due to room, we have plenty of acreage but nothing big enough to house more than 10 of them.
2 of them died within the day, we think this was due to their appalling body condition as we took the ones that looked the scrawniest and were pretty bald. On picking them up you could tell these were the ones that hadn't the heart to fight for the food but we hoped that plenty of food, water and warmth that they didn't have to fight for would soon see them right.
After the two died the rest of them seemed to settle really well and our original hens and cockerel seemed to take to them fine despite the obvious size difference - ours were 3 times the size.
So all was well, until a couple of days ago when I noticed our hen 'Big Momma' attacking one of the rescues everytime it moved and this poor hen was literally screaming.
I grabbed the rescue hen, let the others outside and then put the tiny hen down outside to have a forage about. I was gobsmacked at what 'Big Momma' did next - she seemed to stand up really tall, looked this little hen square in the eye and ran at it and jumped on her pecking at her head.
That was it I grabbed the little rescue hen and picked her up, it was only then that I noticed she hadn't put on weight like the others and just didn't seem to be doing as well, it was obvious that she was still being bullied at food times and was still very underweight.
I made the decision then to cage the little rescue hen and feed her up before reintroducing her to the others once she has gained strength and feathers - she looks so pathetic bless her!

Killer hen 'Big Momma'
She just has that look doesn't she! She's scary is 'Big Momma'.

Rescue hen:- Bald butt and scrawny but otherwise happy.

These rescue hens are so so bald but they're putting on weight and doing really well.

poor rescue hen that is bullied by 'Big Momma'
We're new to rescue hens so we're not too sure what to expect or how long it will take for them to recover full body condition. They do seem to have an argumentative attitude with each other but I guess that comes form them having to fight one another before.
Also the wattles were bent over on most of them when they arrived, most appear to have recovered to their natural position now except for the poor hen that I've had to move to a protected area, she just hasn't recovered at all.
Still, she has a safe place to hide for a while now and doesn't have to fight for food or water. As she plumps up I will gradually reintroduce her to the others and let her walk around outside with them, but I'll be there the whole time to protect her from Big Momma until she can fend for herself.
I'm actually not a chicken person! I always said I would never ever have one due to childhood memories of them pooping all over my ponies stable door. That stuff would set like cement and stink to high heaven.
But I'm quite attached to the ones we have and I'm amazed that the rescue ones are extremely friendly. They fly onto my arms when I'm watching them, they jump onto my back when I'm cleaning out their water and they follow me everywhere outside - they love being picked up and cuddled.
Plus that cement poop is fabulous for the compost heap!

Cockerel 'Romeo' that is supposed to keep the hens in place...but doesn't.
As cockerels go, we've had better ones lol. Romeo is a Silkie and is only interested in his mate Missy, we have never seen him mount any of the others and he spends his entire time at Missys side or fending off the others if they get too close to her - which is probably a good thing as Missy is so small - actually so is Romeo lol.

'Missy', the only hen that Romeo is actually interested in.

It'll be nice to post pictures in a few months of healthy rescue hens and a perfectly happy, healthy and taekwondo expert little hen :)

Big Momma is now facing murder charges as poor little hen has gone to the chicken coop in the sky. I've told Big Momma that I won't be accepting a lesser charge of manslaughter either because I witnessed the assault - Big Momma doesn't appear ruffled!



  1. Your chickens are lucky to have you! Too bad they aren't as kind to each other as you are to them.

    1. I honestly think the Hens know they've been saved lol but Big momma who we've had from a chick is now up on murder charges as the poor little hen died :(. I won't be accepting a manslaughter plea either lol.
      Poor little hen :(


  2. I spent the whole time reading this hoping there was going to be a happy ending - that poor hen :(
    I hope Big Momma is repenting and leaves the other alone.

    1. So sad isn't it Angie, I really hoped the little hen would pull through but maybe she had something wrong with her when she arrived - do other hens know these things?
      Sorry no happy ending :(
      Thank you for reading though.


  3. Oh my! Good for you for rescuing these poor hens, but this reads almost like one of our chicken sagas! Our 'attempted-killer hen' was Ginger, and her victim was our rooster 'Frodo'. Fortunately, Frodo only lost his tail (all the way down to a bloody stump), and he's fine now. It can be so challenging introducing new hens to a flock. In the process of re-establishing a 'pecking' order, the pecking can often escalate to sheer violence. We've found that partitioning off the new hens from the old for a while until they can acclimate to each other, and then introducing them on range, rather than in their run, does help...but even then, they still have to work out who is the boss. Recently though we've found that our Tom turkey actually does a pretty good job of maintaining order with our hens when they get scrappy. Maybe you need a turkey next? ;) I'm sorry that the poor little hen didn't make it though, so sad...but honestly, probably not Big Momma's fault. I'd blame the battery hen operation. Maybe a reduced sentence for Big Momma after all?

    1. lol CVF, thank you for reading and commenting.
      a Turkey! I never would have thought of that, maybe I need to look into that idea and perhaps a Turkey would have more chance of teaching the dogs a lesson when they decide to 'play'.
      Big Momma is on probation lol, she's been attacked twice by our dogs and so we took that into consideration when sentencing her.
      I do hope Frodo's tail has grown back to its full glory?
      Thank you for stopping by.



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