Monday, November 12, 2012

Peace on Feather Beach

Feather Beach is the name of our chicken enclosure. Thought I would have some fun with the fact that I use a sand floor, live in Florida and have some beach decor to spare.
I love my girls! And like any good mama I don't like to see them fight. I especially don't like bullying and seeing blood drawn. But, that is sometimes the world of chickens.
We have 5. A golden comet named Haley (my husbands pun) a black giant named NightWhite (she had a single white feather on each wing until she started to lay. Kyle named her.) Snowy is one of 3 easter eggers, white with black flecks, Sadlie is a lovely buff color and has a beard. And then, there is Raven.

Raven is EE#3, mostly black with white flecks, I think it is called penciling. She has never wanted to be petted, picked up or handled in any way. As a chick, she would often seem to push her sisters around and try to be first at everything. Kyle named her because the markings on her head when she was a chick reminded him of a bird of prey.

When they began to lay, she seemed to settle down a bit. Still bossy from time to time, but nothing serious. Until this past weekend.
She seemed more agressive than usual all week. Then I noticed her picking on NightWhite. I saw her jump on her back and attack her a couple times, so I chased her off. Friday evening I saw that Nightwhite had a cut on the back of her neck. I went to the feed store and got some Blue Lotion to put on it. The deep blue covered the bright red wound and even had a simular iridescence to  her beautiful black feathers.

But her safety was short lived. The next day I had just finished putting in a bed of onions when I heard loud cries from the pen. I looked up just in time to see Raven on NightWhite's back. I ran to the pen and she got off, but Nightwhite did not get up right away. She did however when I got the pen open. She flew to the highest roost. Since she was safe, I was determined to get Raven out of there and away from the rest. I got a hold of her and put her in my travel cage. Just enough room in there for her,  a perch, food and water, but not much else. I did not feel right to leave her in there for long.
NightWhite's neck was torn open again. With Fred's help, I poured peroxide on it them more Blue Lotion. I needed a better solution for the night. A friend of mine loaned me a decent sized cage that was missing a side. Fred and I attached it with bungee cords to the side of the pen. Raven spent the night and all of next day in it.
When I came home from work, I saw that Raven had knocked her water over. I let everyone out so I could watch them interact. I tipped the waterer back up and Raven spent the next several minutes drinking from it.
I put the rest of the girls in the back yard and put Raven in the pen by herself. I left her drinking yet more water and went inside for a while. About a half hour later I heard her calling. I went out and let them all free range together for awhile. There seemed to be no problems, so I put them in the pen together for the night. Last I checked, they were all lined up on the perch for the night.
Peace has once again returned to the coop, for now :)
From what I am reading, and others are telling me, sometimes you need to isolate an agressive bird for awhile. Hopefully, they peace will last until we can enlarge their area.


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