FinleyMcChicken

Chirping
Apr 26, 2017
36
19
59
I have 4 5 month old hens (2 Barred Rock, 2 Ameraucana) the 2 Barred Rocks are definitely the head girls, one more than the other, but both definitely have always run the show. We've had all 4 since they were 1 day old and they've lived together ever since. The 2 BR have started to lay eggs and the Ameraucanas have not. Recently, the head BR, Dorothy has been EXTREMELY aggressive to the the Ameraucanas to the point where she has some of their feathers stuck in her mouth :eek: Is this a new egg laying thing? I'm really hoping it's temporary as the 2 Ameraucanas now hide in the back of the coop and are less social to me. Any advice or is this just a social pecking order thing?
 

chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
281
316
Strasburg Ohio
And so it begins.....the pecking order. Maybe you could add some distractions to the chicken run to keep things more interesting? Is the coop and chicken run a good size?
 

FinleyMcChicken

Chirping
Apr 26, 2017
36
19
59
The coop is 28.75"L X 76"w X 44.25"h it says it can fit up to 6 hens but I think that'd be crazy. Do you think we should get a bigger one? Or one for the BRs and one for the Ameraucanas?

They are fully open range during the day, they have free rein over our whole backyard. They stick together as a little pack. However, whenever food is involved if one of the Ameraucanas comes too close Dorothy snaps at them. I'm assuming it's pecking order. I just feel so bad LOL she looks so dejected and lonely.

Coop:
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
8,623
10,285
636
western South Dakota
This frequently happens at this age. What was enough room with chicks, is not enough room for full grown birds. It looks so cute, but really there is little room for the birds to move around, next to no way to get away from each other, except staying in the coop.

I am betting the 76 inches is counting the nesting area. I would only keep 2 full size birds in this set up. 3 if they were bantam. Sometimes you can get lucky, but most of the time, the behavior you describe is caused by too crowded of space.

If you can have your druthers, build a walk-in coop, at least 6 x 4 x 6. This will give you plenty of space of healthy chickens. Or cull or regime two of your birds, when they measure a coop in inches, you don't have space for 4 adult birds. Those prefab coops are infamous for thinking more birds can fit in there.

The tension in your flock is high, the birds are desperately trying to fix the numbers and space issue the only way they can. If you pull two birds out, I think you will be amazed out how you can feel the tension drop. A high tension flock is not much fun, and lots of terrible habits can get established.

Build bigger or reduce numbers.

Mrs K
 

Sutremaine

Songster
5 Years
Aug 19, 2014
361
52
106
UK
I think the manufacturers base their chicken numbers on how many chicken-shaped cushions can be stuffed into the box.

They are fully open range during the day, they have free rein over our whole backyard.
Do they ever spend any time awake and shut inside the whole assemblage?
 

peeper89

Songster
Feb 21, 2017
500
255
171
it cute coop but i thik to little can u get big one? give food in 2 continers it help with big bossy girl maybe she want food to self so make another place for other to eat
 

FinleyMcChicken

Chirping
Apr 26, 2017
36
19
59
I think the manufacturers base their chicken numbers on how many chicken-shaped cushions can be stuffed into the box.


Do they ever spend any time awake and shut inside the whole assemblage?

No, they're out roaming around our yard when they're awake. I checked on them last night to see if they were huddled together as they slept and they were all upstairs hanging out just fine. It must just be a food thing. My husband is working on an enclosed run now because I'm terrified of Ospreys and Eagles. I'm going to have light a fire under his you know what :)

Thanks everyone!!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,240
112,192
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
The coop is 28.75"L X 76"w X 44.25"h
The actual 'coop' is probably 28 x 28" inside(~5.5 sqft).....
the 76" probably includes the run and the nests....
....really tight quarters for even 4 birds.

Are they sleeping in the nest area?
What is your climate?
Adding your general location to your profile can really help garner better answers/suggestions.
A harsh winter climate could be really tough.....
.....a large run well protected from weather will really help.
Best would be large coop big enough for these 4 birds,
and the others you will eventually want ;)
 

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