Chicken laying stopped and putting flocks together - HELP

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Anoure, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Anoure

    Anoure In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have a multi-part question. I have a total of 9 chickens, 3 hens (born 3/09) and new flock of 5 pullets and 1 cockarel (born 3/10).
    My 3 hens are black star, red star, and buff orpington. The Buff is top of pecking order with them.
    My 6 babies are Silver wyandotte pullet, Silver wyandotte rooster, golden wyandotte pullet, barred rock pullet, red start pullet, and easter egger pullet

    I have two issues, 1 with laying in my older hens and 2 with fighting amongst these two flocks (bloody battles).
    Start with the easiest of the two, the laying. Of my 3 older hens, only two are laying, the black star hasn't layed in about 3 mos. And the other two started laying on the floor though they had layed in nest box consistently all winter and nothing had changed about the coop. THey are in a very large shed (taj mahal of chicken coops really). They started laying everywhere but the nest boxes, especially on top of bags of feed and bedding as they were the highest point in the coop. This was confusing because they chose either the highest points or lowest points (floor) and not the nest boxes. So we made new nest boxes that are bigger and higher off the floor than the others. I thought maybe because the girls were getting kinda hefty maybe they didn't like the small nest boxes close to the floor (they were boxes that held 2 gallons of water). We hadn't resolved the laying issue before it was time to introduce the new flock and now we have 2 issues...

    I had the younger ones first in brooder in the house until 4 weeks, then in an outdoor chicken tractor until about a week ago. They were allowed to free range with the older hens since about 8 weeks or so. On around June 25 we decide to bite the bullet and put the two flocks together as the little ones were outgrowing the chicken tractor and they need the larger coop and the 1000 sq ft run that it had as opposed to the tiny little attached run on the tractor.
    So we had made one attempt that failed because we did it too early before the older hens were sleepy at night and put one little one in there and the hens and the little one all freaked out so we put it back in the tractor. Then on June 25 we just brought them all in about 9pm at night and that was it. Everything was ok the first night but the next morning the bedding was everywhere and everyone looked agitated.
    We let them free range all day and the next night at bed time they all went up to roost and all was fine until one of my hens pecked one of the pullets and the rooster went crazy. Then there was a battle royale between my buff and the rooster that I had to break up because the buff's comb was bleeding. There were a couple other battles with the other two hens which the rooster won and the other was a draw. So now my pecking order seems to be as follows:
    Buff Orp hen, Rooster, 2 big hens, 5 pullets

    And the issue is that the young flock seems to not be getting any food in the coop as they come out starving in the morning. I have two feeders in there one in each corner so that hopefully the big hens can't protect both but my Buff is a really tough chick (Sally Marsala is her name) And now only 1 hen is laying and still not in the coop. The rooster is pecking me and chasing my 4 yr old daughter and pecked both of her flip-flopped feet and they were nearly bleeding.
    It's total chaos and I'm not getting really any eggs!
    I read somewhere on here maybe I should have taken the big ones out and put them in the tractor for a couple days so they wouldn't be so possesive of the coop and food and everything.
    Could I still do this? And what made them stop laying in the first place (the black star) or start laying on the floor or up high?

    We are newbies. The older hens are our first flock.
    We got the rooster to protect them all because we had 6 in the first flock and lost 1 to a hawk, 1 to unexplained death (possibly prolapsed uterus or whatever) and 1 got in the street and was hit.
  2. Anoure

    Anoure In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2009
    Why do all the other posts have alittle chicken next to them and mine doesnt? Did I do something wrong that I am not getting any replies?
  3. spottedtail

    spottedtail Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Yes, you have a mess on your hands.

    I know some people have success with mixing flocks, but situations like yours are why I avoid it like the plague! It's far too much stress for all involved. Stress causes poor production, poor health and fights.

    Anyway... you can keep the flocks seperate?
    If you can, that's the very best thing you can do for them.

    If you can't seperate........ I'd sell the 3 hens and rooster, keeping the 5 pullets.
    Then you'll have peace and normal egg production.

    There must be some issue with the nestboxes that you are unaware of.
    Maybe they're too hot this time of year? Try them at a new cooler location.
    Maybe they're buggy or dirty? Clean them out thoroughly and give new nesting material.
    I'm sure you can find the problem if you investigate closely.

    Good luck,
  4. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    I would get rid of the rooster if he's already being a jerk, or you need to show him who's boss. I don't have any roosters, but if I did I would only keep a gentle one.

    As for your flocks, this all sounds normal to me, & I'm going through the same thing.... I've gone through this same thing several times. Make sure you have food and water in 2 different areas of the run. You need to make hiding places for the little ones, so they can get away from the larger chickens. I use small pieces of plywood leaned up against a wall in the run, that way the chicks can run under there and the hens can't fit. You need to let your chickens out at sunup or put shades on all the windows. I like to sleep in so I black out all the windows at night, that way they sleep later. I don't normally do this, just when I don't want them to beat up the little ones.

    I had 2 hens fighting 2 weeks ago, and it lasted for about 3 days. There was some blood, but nothing got out of hand. Eventually one gave up, and now they're doing well together. It just takes time to get through these things. I give them lots of treats in their run to keep them bust during the day while I can't watch them.

    As for the egg problem... I would keep a fake egg in your nesting boxes all the time.

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