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So many questions! I'm new to chickens. Please help me!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Let's start with some background info.

 

I have one coop that was on my property when I bought it. It's about an 8ft x 8ft enclosure and we added 6 nesting boxes to it.

 

 

I bought 3 pullets (about 15-20 weeks per hatchery) and put them in there.

There is Dottie the SLW, Agnes the Australorpe, and Blanche the Barred Rock. 

 

They have been growing so much and just last week Dottie laid her first egg.

 

 

One of my friends also gave me her RIR hen, Henrietta, and the coop that she had. I'm not sure how old she is but my guess is around 2 years and is an excellent layer with an egg almost every single day.

 

 

 

So, here are my questions:

1. Henrietta is a jerk. It's why my friend gave her away. She charges at me sometimes and is pretty aggressive. She does like my husband though and even lets him pick her up. Why is she so mean? How do I fix it?

2. Henrietta likes to sleep and poop in her nest boxes. She poops on top of the hen house too. She also refuses to use the roost, even though she used to sleep on the one in the other coop before I got the little girls and moved her. 

3. The last two days that I have gone out to check on the chickens in the morning the egg that Dottie laid has been on the ground, crushed and empty. Is it possible that its getting kicked out of the box since she likes the top one? Or is it possible that the other chickens are eating it on purpose? Is that something I can stop or do they have to become dinner?

4. Do I need to move Dottie into the coop with Henrietta since she is laying now? Will she end up getting hurt since Henrietta is so mean, even if I do a gradual transition with a dog crate? Dottie is the dominant one in her current coop, but not aggressive. 

post #2 of 6

1. Socialize her to lots of things. Most likely the reason she's attacking you is because you are a threat to her, just let her know that you don't want to hurt her every time y'all see each other.

2. By roost, do you mean the one that is hanging from the roof of the run? Maybe shut the coop to discourage her from sleeping in the nest boxes.

3. She could be kicking it out. If that's the case, put a short board or something to block the egg from falling out. If the others are eating it on purpose, just make sure you collect the eggs as soon as possible to discourage them from eating it as soon as it is layed.

4. If the other hens are eating the egg, then it is probably a good idea that you move her. Have you ever let them meet each other in the past?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizabethjg View Post
 

1. Socialize her to lots of things. Most likely the reason she's attacking you is because you are a threat to her, just let her know that you don't want to hurt her every time y'all see each other.

2. By roost, do you mean the one that is hanging from the roof of the run? Maybe shut the coop to discourage her from sleeping in the nest boxes.

3. She could be kicking it out. If that's the case, put a short board or something to block the egg from falling out. If the others are eating it on purpose, just make sure you collect the eggs as soon as possible to discourage them from eating it as soon as it is layed.

4. If the other hens are eating the egg, then it is probably a good idea that you move her. Have you ever let them meet each other in the past?

1. I give all the chickens treats most days like cherry tomatoes, lettuce, meal worms and such. I try to be non-threatening. If she is having a good day, I'll kinda crouch down to her level and hang out for a while not moving so she can get used to me. I always thank her for her eggs too. It sounds kinda silly but I let her know I appreciate it. 

2. Yes, that is the roost. It is just an old broom handle that I stuck through the chain link, and it's just like the one in the other coop that she always used to sleep on. I'll try making a little door to keep her from sleeping in there. Any ideas on why she is pooping in the boxes too? 

4. They haven't ever met before. There is a shed in between the two coops. I've thought about putting Dottie just outside of Henrietta's run in a dog crate for a little bit each day so they can meet with a barrier. I don't let them free range either because we haven't been able to get rid of the predators in our pasture yet, or I'd say they could meet in the wide open. 

post #4 of 6

1. Haha I talk to mine all the time.

2. Probably because she is lazy and doesn't want to move while she's sleepy.

4. I like your dog crate idea. You could let them meet in the open, just make sure you supervise them.

post #5 of 6

While I realize you've come here for advice on your chicken's behaviors, your coop/run is cause for concern.

 

Chain link without any tighter mesh screening along the bottom three feet is just begging for raccoons to throttle your chickens. I bet you have raccoons, don't you? Get some hardware cloth and secure the bottom with it. It won't hurt to runit down into the soil a few inches, too, to discourage animals digging under the fence, including your chickens.

 

And the broom handle is much too small to properly support a chicken's feet, causing skeletal deformities due to improper roosting. You need a three or four-inch diameter tree branch or a 2" x 4" mounted flat side up.

 

Your naughty girl can be disciplined when she misbehaves. She is challenging you, and you need to show her you are in charge, not her, by giving her a strong poke on the back when she behaves badly. This is how chickens correct each others behavior, so she will understand your message.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by azygous View Post

While I realize you've come here for advice on your chicken's behaviors, your coop/run is cause for concern.

Chain link without any tighter mesh screening along the bottom three feet is just begging for raccoons to throttle your chickens. I bet you have raccoons, don't you? Get some hardware cloth and secure the bottom with it. It won't hurt to runit down into the soil a few inches, too, to discourage animals digging under the fence, including your chickens.

And the broom handle is much too small to properly support a chicken's feet, causing skeletal deformities due to improper roosting. You need a three or four-inch diameter tree branch or a 2" x 4" mounted flat side up.

Your naughty girl can be disciplined when she misbehaves. She is challenging you, and you need to show her you are in charge, not her, by giving her a strong poke on the back when she behaves badly. This is how chickens correct each others behavior, so she will understand your message.


There are much smaller holes in the wire covering the first coop and the hardware cloth stuff, it's just not easy to see in the picture. I haven't done anything to improve the coop I was given yet and I haven't had any problems but we plan on building a better coop and making that a temp for quarantine of new birds in the future. I'll build some new roosts for both coops and add some hardware mesh to the second coop this weekend. Thanks for the input.
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