Bored Chickens pecking each other!

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
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Sep 22, 2012
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Are the two hens with bare necks higher ranking or low?

I had three of my hens with similar bare necks this summer and wondered about the cause as I never saw anyone feather pecking. I even went to watch at night to see, if it could happen only at roosting time. It did not.
Then I caught them way back in their large enclosure behind some bushes sticking their heads through the wire fence to reach a certain area right behind it. By sticking their heads through the fence several times every day they damaged the neckfeathers similar to what your two hens look like.

To help prevent boredom you could give them whole carrots to work on.
 

3KillerBs

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the coop itself is only used for when they sleep and when they lay.

From an article I'm working on:

But I free range/have a huge run and my chickens only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs! Why do I need all that space inside?
You might not. As I've said, these are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.​
If you never close the pop door so that your coop and run function together as a fully integrated system that is the equivalent of a huge, open-air coop, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you are always out there to open the pop door at the crack of dawn or you have an ultra-reliable automatic door so that your chickens never lack access to their free range territory during the daylight hours, then your flock might be just fine for years, even decades.​
If you live in a mild climate where chickens can always go out into their run/range and are never kept in by snow or storms, then your flock might be just fine for decades. People who keep chickens in places with tropical and subtropical climates do successfully go without a coop at all, just offering a covered roost and some nestboxes.​
But when something happens ...​
When a determined predator moves in and breaks through the fencing so that you have to confine the flock to the coop itself so that you can fix the run,​
When an extreme weather event prevents your chickens from leaving shelter for days,​
When an emergency calls you out of town and you can't find someone willing to be there at the crack of dawn to open the pop door,​
Then you could have a mess on your hands.​
Which brings us back to the issue of flexibility and options. Any time you push a system hard against it's limits you have to count on everything remaining stable -- exactly as it is without any changes. How well that's likely to work depends on your specific circumstances. You may never encounter an unfortunate circumstance -- some people DO hit the lottery, after all.​

You've got a known problem and a known space issue -- it's not certain that the space issue is causing the problem, but it's a strong candidate.
 

Auntiejessi3

Crowing
Oct 20, 2020
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That really is tight quarters, @3KillerBs has a photo of an outside mat that sums up how big the "bare minimum space" really is. And even in the run, measure out a 2ftx5ft area and think about being stuck in that tiny space all the time. I'm sure it's fine in the summer when they can get out and about, but you said yourself that they aren't interested right now with the current weather. Maybe put some logs in their run, or any of the other above-mentioned ;) things...they do wonders and chickens are easily amused
 

3KillerBs

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@3KillerBs has a photo of an outside mat that sums up how big the "bare minimum space" really is.

0621211536_hdr-jpg.2780473


That's 3.9 square feet.

And the 10 square feet in the run is exactly the size of the common fiberglass drop-in tub-shower combo that you see in so many manufactured homes.

So the minimums for one chicken amount to a large bathmat next to a guest shower.
 
Dec 14, 2021
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Okay, it is too small. We don't have space for any expansions at the moment and in the summer they free range most of the day. For the run, I will make sure to buy them a mirror and/or a xylophone for entertainment. I can also make a swing. The climate is very harsh but we protected it with plastic, a water heater, and two heat lamps in the run. The climate is not much of a concern.
 

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