Everybody Got Along Just fine... Till NOW

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MissJenny, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. MissJenny

    MissJenny Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    My 5 pullets are just under 16 weeks old. We are still building their coop, (Builder Bob is very precise and slllooooow.) The heat doesn't help. In point of the heat, even if the coop were finished, it would be irresponsible to put these girls outside now anyway -- they're used to air conditioning.

    So they're in the house, in their 2' x 4' brooder. It feels larger because the front is plexi-glass. In the evenings I tend to have one, sometimes two out and about, sitting on my lap. Two are very friendly and like to lap sit, one will tolerate it and the other two don't like it at all, so I don't take those two out as often, though I should. Despite their different personalities and preferences, they've always gotten along really well with one another -- no pecking order problems -- they've always been really nice

    A couple of days ago I came home to find the backside of one of the unfriendly hens scraped up and plucked. It's only a superficial wound, about 1" x 3". I took her out, put neosporin on her and put her back in the pen. Immediately she started picking at it herself. So I wasn't sure if she'd done this to herself... or if somebody else had gotten her. She's always been a little flighty, but not really a bully. Since she wouldn't leave it alone, and then one of the others started picking at it too, I pulled her out and set up a crate next to the brooder.

    Here's the problem now --- when I put the pullets together one on one, one of the pullets in the brooder picks on her... and she picks on another one. Now I am not sure how I am going to get them all happily back together.

    Any suggestions?


  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    They may just need a bit more space than they have right now. I would still keep the one separate until she is completely healed. I will bet that once you get them into the coop that they will be fine all together. If you can make sure that she can still see the other pullets, so that she won't get lonely and the others will remember her.
  3. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Songster

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    Hi, I'm new, but it would seem to me that you have them in too tiny of a space. I think the general rule (for grown birds) is 4 sq ft per bird which should be 5x4=20 sq ft. you have 8 sq ft. Maybe try and figure out how to enlarge your brooder?? For a while I used duct tape with two very large boxes and seemed to work just fine. Good luck, hope your pullet gets better soon.
  4. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

    Jun 13, 2010
    I agree... they need more room. At 16 weeks they're almost full grown and the small space you have isn't providing them with enough variety so they're starting to pick on each other. Tell Bob the Builder to hurry up so they don't develop lifelong habits....!
  5. nanawendy

    nanawendy Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    Bellingham Wa
    Until then... The coop finished... you may need to take them out for field trips. If your concerned about the heat do it in the early am or evening. Enough time to streak their wings. Maybe you could give them something to do,,,like peck at a cabbage instead of each other [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. MissJenny

    MissJenny Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Oh, a cabbage is a good idea. I like that one a lot. I've considered taking them outside in twos and threes -- I don't think I could safely keep track of all five at once... Maybe they can help me pull weeds. Thanks.

  7. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    If you can't move them to the coop yet, you need to get them more room asap. I can't stress that enough! 16 wk chickens are pretty large and 8 square feet just really isn't enough. If you aren't quick about this, they are going to continue feather pick and that is NOT a habit you want to continue to develop. If they keep this up, its likely to continue even after you move them out to the coop and it can be difficult to get them to stop. Until then, I would recommend setting up an even very temporary, small enclosure (a several feet of welded wire fencing naturally makes a nice circular pen when you take it off the roll, keep closed with zip ties or something, cover with some cheap deer netting, you're good!) outside in the grass for field trips so they can get some protein from grass and bugs, stretch they're wings, get some fresh air and have some distraction. Of course, a temp run like I described WILL NOT be predator proof, so only leave them out there while you supervise.

    Get those girls more room and fast!

  8. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Get their hen house built this weekend, one way or another. Get them into more space. You have them packed like sardines. You need to get them into their coop or find them a new home. This is not accepable housing in any sense of the word. This is worse than commercial breeder practices. These girls hormones are changing, they are at point of lay for crying out loud.

    You can't get their house finished. Please find them a new home immediately.
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    They are way too crowded. Boredom and resentment over invasion of personal space has taken over. There's nowhere to run away to if someone attacks you. Eventually it will escalate to 4 on 1, and 1 will be killed and cannibalized.

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