Calling any Chicken Psychologists

mviera101

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
358
908
197
S. Fla
Ok so my gal Dorothy's recent behavior has me wondering ….what happened?
So this is my set up . I have two 2 1/2 year old hens, Dorothy top gal (RIR) and Lucy(Welsumer mix).
I also have two 5 1/2 month old BR pullets ,Wynonna and Dottie.
They are cooped at night and free range (back yard style )during the day.
The elders have the original coop a 4X8 two level, with roosts and nesting boxes.
The youngling's have a 2X3 coop with roosts just for sleeping.
Large coop in backyard, smaller, on side yard, closer to house.
About 3 weeks ago, Dorothy started jumping in the little girls coop at sundown. They would give her the side eye and become visibly irritated. I let it go ,hoping they would work it out.
The only one not minding is Dorothy, squished in there :D . I feel bad Lucy who is all by herself in the luxury digs. So nightly I put everyone back where they go.
Now the younger gals have taken to roosting in the planters on the wall, (not safe) ,hysterical because they just look so uncomfortable , but unless I sort everyone out , they take to roosting go up their every night. I don't mind which coop every sleeps in , just that they are safe and comfortable.
I've tried to grab Dorothy early and sort her out before all the musical cooping begins.
I did find a hole in the big coop, where the side of the wire cloth came away from the wood, and fixed it. I even showed Dorothy, incase something had gotten in and spooked her.


A side note, both older gals are molting ? . Lucy looks just plain scary as if she's been shot out of a cannon. Could Dorothy be scared to coop up with Lucy? Could this be a power move by Dorothy? I'll take any guesses as to why this happened and what to do. 🤪😍
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
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Florida
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It's hard to read a chicken's mind. Maybe the smaller coop is more comfortable for some reason. Do both coops have the same roosts? Maybe put everyone in the larger coop. Are you sure the birds are molting and don't have any pests on them. Just curious if you looked them over good. Maybe there was a predator trying to get in. There is no way to truly know. Maybe put a camera in each coop to observe their behavior. Good luck...
 

mviera101

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
358
908
197
S. Fla
Thank you,
Yes the older gals are definitely molting. This is their first molt and I've checked for pests and all I see are feather shoots and new growth.There are downy feathers in both coops and around the yard. The same roost width in each , but the height differs? I thought at first that she didn't want to go up the ramp in older coop, but this one is essentially a box with no ramp and she jumps easily in and out of it.
I did suspect a predator after I found the and fixed the hole, but Lucy goes in every night?
A camera sounds like a great idea.
Thank you so much!
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,346
29,459
901
Florida
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My Coop
Birds go through different degrees of molts. They usually molt once a year. Some have hard molts and loose a lot of feathers and some very light molts where they only loose a few and it's really not noticeable except you will see a few feathers laying around. Most of my birds recently finished molting. I have a couple that still look a bit raggedy. When you checked your birds for pests, did you do it at night after they roost. Some pests only come out at night and feed on the birds so you won't see them during the day. I use a headlamp so I have both of my hands free. Better to be safe than sorry. You birds are probably fine. Again, good luck...
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,850
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If Lucy is uncomfortable in her molting, she may be chasing Dorothy away from the roost they used to share.

Generally in my set up I find if birds don't want to be touched, they'll just relegate themselves to the lower roost - do you have a 2nd roost in Lucy's coop? Or perhaps Lucy has decided that she's going to be where she wants to be no matter what, even if another roost is available in same coop.
 

mviera101

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
358
908
197
S. Fla
If Lucy is uncomfortable in her molting, she may be chasing Dorothy away from the roost they used to share.

Generally in my set up I find if birds don't want to be touched, they'll just relegate themselves to the lower roost - do you have a 2nd roost in Lucy's coop? Or perhaps Lucy has decided that she's going to be where she wants to be no matter what, even if another roost is available in same coop.
Thank you for that, Lucy is experiencing a worse molt than Dorothy and that makes sense that she would push Dorothy ,her roost mate away. They usually are cuddled next to one another even though the roost bar is 3.5ft in length.
 

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