Do I just buy a second coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheSpiceGirls, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2010
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    I'm totally at the end of my rope. I have 3 16 week old BO's who have been living with an adult JG and BO for the past 5-6 weeks.

    But the adults will not accept the babies. They do okay in the run during the day. But the adults bully, peck and pull feathers when I try to put the babies into the hen house at night. And needless to say, the babies don't want to go into the house. So they sit outside and cry at dusk.

    I have a divider up in the house to give them two separate quarters. But unless I literally cage in the babies, one likes to come around to the adult side of the house and just gets pecked like there's no tomorrow.

    I put her back on her side and she comes back around again.

    My only option is to put a temporary roost back into the dog crate and just let them sleep there. But forever? I really want the babies to sleep in the hen house. It's warmer and safer in there. And I'd like them to eventually lay their eggs in the proper nest boxes.

    I don't know what to do. Just buy a separate hen house for the babies? That seems extreme.

    Ignoring it and letting the adults peck at them is NOT an option for me. I just can't do that.

    But spending 20 minutes each night at dusk trying to put these crazy birds to bed has gotten really old really fast. I can't be home late or go out to dinner. And vacation is simply not an option.

    I might be done w/ chickens unless I can resolve this issue.

    Advice?
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You can create a roosting place below your roost used by the older birds. What you are witnessing is the pecking order and the older birds don't like younger birds roosting next to their "choice" positions on the roost. I never have a big problem with this because I created different levels of roosting and even different angled roosting in my coop. The big birds want top roosting positions, so the solution is to provide lower roosting for the youngins'.

    You will have to just bite the bullet on some of the pecking because this is normal and natural and shouldn't cause any injury if you provide alternative roosting...in the same coop. If you separate them now, it makes it harder for them to develop social skills in the flock and to establish their own hierarchy within that unit. It may seem and look cruel to you but it is the natural thing for chickens.

    If you let things take their natural course, soon you will see the youngsters starting to fight for their own positions as they age and, before you can blink, the newer will usurp the places of the older. That's just the way it goes....if everyone built separate coops each time this happened, we'd all have 10 coops sitting around on our land. [​IMG]
     
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for that.

    My biggest problem is that I have a little hen house. I only have a few hens in the city and knew I'd never have more than 4 or 5. 5 might be one over my limit but it's a long story and I just can't see separating or giving away one.

    I have covered up my high roosting bar because I was told to mix up the roosting situation. But that makes sense to let the big girls have their upper roost and let the babies sleep on a lower roost.

    My only problem with letting the hens back up on the higher roost is, well two things, one they will poop on the birds down below. And they also reach down and peck at them.

    I guess I need to fashion some sort of little roofing situation that the babies can sleep under.

    I'll have to think about that and see what I can create tomorrow.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Can you build onto your small coop to provide more total space for alternate roosting situations? Or even place your roosts in the diagonal of opposite corners, one high, one low. It would help if you could post a pic of your coop interior and exterior and maybe some folks who have a similar design might provide suggestions.
     
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, tonight went much better. I opened up the upper roost for the big girls and they pretty much just came in and hopped up there.

    And I created a sort of cover and put a loose roost under it for the babies. They are still a bit confused about where they are suppose to go and probably still afraid to be in the big house w/ the big hens. But I think this is going to work.

    Time will tell.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's good news!
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I'm cautiously optimistic.

    Thank goodness I put up some cardboard on top of the barrier because both big hens turned around to face their usual direction. Meaning the babies would be in the "firing" line. The cardboard will protect them. I'll have to clean that daily and probably swap out the cardboard each week or so. Might have to look for a more permanent solution.

    But let's see how this goes for now.
     

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