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Chicken Psychology??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by audioguy, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. audioguy

    audioguy Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    Branchburg, NJ
    We recently added 3 chicks to our small suburban flock, giving us a total of 5. (had more but they died [​IMG]). When I first introduced the 3 new to the older 2, there was an immediate issue with "pecking order" which I expected. We kept them separate for a few weeks and then allowed them to congregate. No real issues except for a dominant hen that kept pecking at the new arrivals.
    Figured it was normal and it turned out to be exactly that, normal.

    Here is the interesting part.

    We have an elevated coop with a ramp to gain access. As everyone knows, when it gets dark they retreat to the coop and roost. The older birds would do that, but the younger birds would not be allowed inside and would sleep, wedged in the doorway to the coop. [​IMG]

    Now its a few weeks later and one of the new chicks dropped her first egg. I noticed that night, she was roosting with the older chicks, while the other 2 newbies stayed in the doorway. [​IMG]

    Fast forward a week later and another new egg arrives and now that chick is allowed to roost with them also, leaving one chick in the doorway. Eventually she also started to give eggs and was allowed to roost at night.
    Not sure why, but it seems that once they start to lay, they are accepted into the flock. Is it pheromones?

    My only other concern is that the new chicks are full size (cuckoo marans, buff orpingtons) but started laying pullet size eggs. I don't remember our older Easter eggers doing that. They gave full size eggs from the beginning. Will the egg sizes increase with time??
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Mature chickens always outrank immature chickens in the pecking order. The immature ones have to mature enough to force their way in the pecking order to be full-fledged flock members. This normally happens with mine when they start to lay.

    Those pullets laying pullet eggs is normal. The eggs will get larger over time but the really big jump will be after their first adult molt. Different pullets lay different sized eggs but are you sure your Easter Egger didn’t do the same? Maybe now you have something to compare too so it’s more noticeable.
  3. audioguy

    audioguy Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    Branchburg, NJ
    Thanks for the info.

    I don't remember my easter eggers starting small. I do remember "practice" eggs coming out without a shell a few times and a few double yolks, but the eggs were almost normal in size.
    I guess since the new chicks arrived in April they will not molt this year (or have a mini-molt). So far the cuckoo has only dropped one egg (small dark one) and the other buffs have produced 4 light brown, almost pink eggs, but again small. Almost look like bantam size eggs.

    I guess we will have to wait and see what comes out!

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