Do pullets need older chickens to teach them?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by morf2540, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. morf2540

    morf2540 Chirping

    Sep 26, 2013
    Do pullets need older chickens around to show them what to do? Once our older flock finally passed, we started over last week with a small flock of pullets. They don't seem to know they are chickens. They don't do chicken things. They don't know to go in the coop, or to roost on the perch, or to scratch the ground, nothing. Do they need full grown chickens around to learn these things from? I am wondering if we should go out and get a couple mature hens to teach them. Or do they eventually figure it out for themselves? Thanks!
  2. LadyKjo

    LadyKjo Chirping

    Apr 28, 2014
    Eau Claire, Michigan
    I think they figure most of the stuff out on their own, along with a little human guidance if you want them to do certain things. I never had chickens before and bought mine as chicks. To get them to figure out the coop was home I had to keep them in there a few days and nights, since they kept trying to sleep in the run underneath the coop at night. Then they started sleeping and staying in the coop all the time, so every morning I would have to pick them up and put them outside lol. But, they eventually figured it all out, and now go straight to the coop when it starts getting dark. I put golf balls in their nest boxes and that seemed to train them to lay eggs in the box and not on the floor (it took a little while for them to get that- was finding eggs on the coop floor for a little while). They are pretty good at picking up habits. My farmer friend says I have pet chickens because they are so tame and eat right out of my hand, and come running to the gate when I come home from work. They are pretty smart and will learn, at least from my limited experience so far with them. I think it took about a week or so to teach them the coop was home and to come inside at night, and then to go outside in the morning. Same thing with the egg laying in the nest box. So, I don't think you need any older chickens, but if you want them to do certain things you have to put a little effort into training them.
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    How old are your pullets and where did they come from? Sounds like they may have been in some type of confinement operation.

    I understand not knowing to go in the coop--it's a strange place and will just take a while for them to figure out it's shelter/home. Treats are also something confinement birds dont' know about....I'd just give them some time and enjoy watching them discover their new world! Of course, they will learn form older hens, but then you've got integration and quarantine issues to think about.
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    I have a flock of 7 pullets and 3 older hens. My pullets this year learned much more quickly to do the "chicken things" because of the older hens. However, my older hens were raised from chicks and they managed to get most of it figured out on their own. A lot of it is instinct with some conditioning from humans for certain behaviors. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Truthfully, they will figure it out, but yes, I think that there is a lot of flock dynamics that we miss when we only have a single generation, flock mates flock.

    I have a private theory, that one gets much better roosters out of a multi- generational flock. Often times, people will say that they have had chickens for years and have never or seldom had a bad rooster. I think those are multi-generational flocks. The older birds keep the hormones in check and under control. Not fool proof, but better.

    I also think that if you had chicks raised by a mother bird, that they are more apt to make a good mother..... but I have had perfectly fine human raised chickens be broody hens.

    But the best flock dynamic, is when the chicks are raised in the flock, no integration problems.

    Mrs K

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