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Losing Feathers - Page 3

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

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Edited by MrsBrightSide - 4/13/16 at 6:31pm
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

I hate to keep posting in here... but I am totally at a loss.

 

Here is what I have done:
1.) Increased feed to 20% protein crumbles
2.) Increased free ranging time to half the day

 

I am not against increasing their run size, we are just trying to figure out how to do it on a tight budget so I have just let them free range as much as possible. However, it seems to be getting worse. The smallest of the bunch with the most feather pecking has been hiding out in one of the nesting boxes practically all day long.... even when the coop is open for free ranging. I thought maybe she was broody but today I noticed she is missing feathers all the way up her neck and she never sits on the side that actually has eggs in it. When I observed her interacting in the flock today multiple other hens were pecking her as soon as she got close.

 

I have read quite a few articles on stopping bullying but none are consistent. Does it make more sense to seclude the bully or the one being bullied? I am thinking in a metal dog crate... but is that secure enough outside at night from predators? Please help! I am afraid I am going to just have to get rid of them at this point since I can't even pinpoint one bully.


Edited by MrsBrightSide - 4/13/16 at 6:31pm
post #23 of 29
Wyandotte are notorious for aggressive behavior when kept in such a small coop. I don't think you will see any improvement at this point unless you greatly increase their coop and run size. They are both mentally and physically bored and frustrated. Those small coops are no good for most chickens. I'm not sure what else to tell you. You need to either get them some bigger accommodations or find them a new home with a bigger set up. I think eventually you will have them trying to peck each other to death. A lesson I learned long ago. Sorry, not trying to be mean, just truthful.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you!  I appreciate truthful.  I don't need anything candy coated.  So at this point you are saying you don't think the "run extension" you mentioned previously will be enough? 

Quote:
 I would increase the run as much as possible. Since you have a smaller more secure run the extension can be a form of controlled free ranging.

 

 

I would need to do an entire redo to my coop?  I just found her in the nesting box at 8:45pm here... so I am assuming she is not even sleeping.  I just want them to be happy... the only reason we built the coop we did is because the instructions on this site said it was suitable for 5-8 hens... not because we were too uncaring to provide them with what they needed.  :th

post #25 of 29
There are a bunch of companies who pray on people just getting into chickens. I'm not sure if it's intentional or just out of ignorance. There's a required square footage for chickens in large production and I believe they have to be using those. Most birds in production are debeaked so they can't peck each other.

It makes me angry that places give out such bad information, your coop is suitable for like 3-4 bantam. You can try enlarging the run as much as possible than work on building a bigger coop. For 5 hens minimum I would build a 4x5 coop or larger, the run should be about 10x14, I'm just throwing numbers I personally think are more correct based on my experiences.

The one is hiding because she's frightened, the more she acts odd the more she will get pecked, if blood is drawn it often turns ugly fast. If you are interested in keeping your hens I would start by pulling out the frightened one and making her own pen for a bit where she can be seen but not pecked. You should make sure she is eating and drinking.

The other option is to pull the bully and see if it helps.

I don't blame you, I'm glad I didn't offend you. Chickens kept in the right set up are fun and enjoyable, they shouldn't be trouble like you are having.

If you wish to keep them than do as much as you can as you can. If money is a problem than there are plenty of people who have built coops out of pallets and scrap lumber. Woven wire is fairly inexpensive and can make an okay run, that maybe isn't totally secured but can give your hens some much needed room until you can make something better.

I feel so bad for you, hopefully you can get stuff straightened out before it becomes too bad of a behavior.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you!  That is really helpful!  We will utilize the measurements for sure.  We will definitely do something tomorrow.  I am struggling most with figuring out how to get them access to more space but still have it be secured at night? Is it possible to make something that just leads out to a semi-secured pen area during the day but can keep the coop secured at night?  Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you!  I do so appreciate your help and support!

post #27 of 29
there are plenty of people that have chicken tunnels, sections of chicken wire connecting secure runs to other foraging areas. Chickens can be tricky to herd from one spot to another and are prone to going every which way so tunnels can work well.

I always like a secure coop and run with further access to a less secure area or free ranging when someone is around. I understand wanting to keep them safe, so that's why I recommend a cheaper less secured run addition, whether permanent or temporary. I personally free range my birds totally because I think in the end their quality of life is better even though occasionally I lose one to a predator. That's my personal choice and I don't recommend it for everyone.

I think you said your hens recently began laying. I'm assuming they are moody teenagers, who often become a bit more aggressive for a short time, then calm down more as they mature.

You can also provide behavioral enrichment by digging holes for them, adding flock blocks, scratch, food scraps, grass clippings, clumps of sod, and anything else that makes them peck and scratch. Your current run doesn't allow them to fully express some normal behaviors like taking dust baths.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all the tips! I literally didn't know any of those things. I added some sod and dust baths today. Going to make flock blocks tonight. Just left the door open today and let them have free roam all day. Do you literally let your chickens sleep outside too or they just get access to pasture all day and coop at night? After research and evaluating I am pretty sure the chicken hiding out in the nesting box is actually just broody. She is exhibiting all the signs I read about it. So anyway apparently they are just like my kids and can never go easy on me lol guess I will trouble shoot by the day. Thanks for all your help! So so appreciated!
post #29 of 29
I'm happy to hear both you and your chickens are doing better today. My chickens all return to their coops at dusk, no one sleeps outside. My large breeds are in a pole building with open west and south facing doors. They can go out and in as they please. My bantam have a pop door and run, but I usually leave the pop hole open during warmer weather, and most times the run stays open too. My chickens have goats and donkeys that share their shed and free range space.

Being broody is better than being frightened, so that's great news too. You can break her by relocating her for 3-5 days to a temporary pen, that would explain why the others were being more aggressive. Mine always fight with the broody hens because their behavior is odd. If you chose to leave her sit she will do so for 1-2 months before giving up, most about 6 weeks.

Sending you good thoughts for a peaceful flock of chickens.😀
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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