We have a casualty amongst the poultry just now. One of our hens has been picked on by the other five. I don’t know if it is at the bottom of the pecking order or just happened to have some blood around its backside but the other five had homed in on this and gave it a considerable pecking. I saw the hens at it on Thursday evening and it stayed on its perch in the henhouse on Friday morning. When I had a look at the hen its backside was pecked and bleeding. It couldn’t be left with the other hens and the most practical thing to do would be to put it down, but my wife, Jan, wouldn’t hear of it. I put it in the garage in the meantime and on the Friday afternoon let it out to have the run of the garden, keeping an eye that it didn’t dig holes in the grass.
It behaved itself till the evening when I went to catch it to put in back in the garage overnight. What a carry on: I tried coaxing it with grapes, herding it to the door and gently bending down to get hold of it. Jan came out to help me, but it was another 20 minutes before I got hold of the damn thing. That’s was to be the end of its freedom and I put it under a guinea pig wire cage out on the grass on the Saturday. After a couple of hours Jan asked if the hen could be let out, so to keep the peace the hen regained its freedom. I managed to catch it more easily on the Saturday night by giving it a couple of grapes and catching it as it was about to take a third.
The difficulty, when it has recovered, will be reintroducing it back to the others, and that will be more difficult the longer it is separated. Its backside is drying up but it might need a couple of days yet. My intent is to sneak it in to the henhouse after dark one night when all the others are sleeping and put it on a perch.
Thankfully there are never these problems with the ducks, which seem to have no aggression.