Evil Opal Moves Into the Plant Room - What a Mean Girl!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Eggsakly, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Eggsakly

    Eggsakly Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    58
    91
    May 5, 2015
    My very first flock of chickens is five young Buff Brahma bantams, and between them and my first chicken, I now have a whole two years of chicken experience. Of course, my first chicken, one bantam Easter Egger, didn't give me quantity experience, but I like to take things slowly. After I decided I liked having a chicken enough to get more serious about the whole thing, I ordered my Brahmas last year from a hatchery for early July delivery. I sold all the chicks I didn't want, and out of ten remaining straight-run chicks I kept what I thought were most likely all the potential girls and one roo. It's been great having them from my perspective, and I spend a lot of time with them, caring for them, working in the "barn," and just sitting for a while, taking note of who is laying where and when so I can start my first hatch soon[​IMG].

    My poor flock has become quite a sad place after many months of general peace. One of my four 7.5 month-old Buff Brahma girls has become extremely aggressive in the past few weeks. She was looking like the boss from early in the brooder, and showed aggression to everyone as she bullied her way to claiming her perch at the top, but she has really stepped up her aggression recently. I understand they are maturing and her behavior may change dramatically around this time.

    My favorite pullet, Punkin', has always been the shyest chick, and has obviously lighter coloring. I think she is just beautiful, and she also has a prettier form to my eye. Punkin' has suffered terribly the past couple of weeks because of Opal, and she will not leave the nest much. Neither will Pearl, also bullied by Opal, leave her nest. I'm not sure they're going broody so much as seeking shelter from Opal. Sigh. I wasn't able to move Opal right away; I had to do quite a bit of work to prepare a place for her in the house and it took several of days. Everyday I would tell my girls that I was working on it. Today I said, "Tonight's the night; it's now!" It got dark, and I nabbed Evil off her perch pretty easily and quickly.

    Of all the flock, Evil Opal has always avoided me the most, and she is the only one to ever peck me. The other girls will come quite near and be friendly, but not Opal! I'm a bit disappointed that the Brahmas are not as friendly as my little EE was, who really was my friend, possibly because she didn't have anyone else. We had a good thing together, and I liked having a house chicken in the plant room. I'm wondering if Buff Orpington bantams would be friendlier.

    My flock has lots of room in their coop, but they are confined at this time. They have 30+ sf for five bantam chickens, and they can come out of the coop and into the barn when I'm out there, but they don't have access to a run at the moment. Light may have been an issue, because it has been brutally cold off and on since early December, and I am not able to provide heat without also providing light. Otherwise, I keep their coop quite tidy, give them fresh water and food everyday, fermented feed, apples, greens, etc.

    What do y'all think about bully hens?

    My rooster so far is wonderful. We'll see . . .

    Evil Opal, herself . . .
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,822
    9,327
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You can keep her separate for a week or two, then put her back in and see what happens.
    She may become low bird and learn her place....or she could come raging back wreak vengeance.
    Are the buff brahmas laying yet?
    More space always helps.
     
  3. chicken toes

    chicken toes Just Hatched

    12
    1
    12
    Feb 17, 2017
    N TX
    [​IMG] No suggestions...sorry.

    But, just wanted to say that she is beautiful despite her evil ways.

    Robin
     
  4. Eggsakly

    Eggsakly Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    58
    91
    May 5, 2015
    Hi, aart. Thanks for replying. If she can go back to the flock, that would be my first choice as she is a great little layer of good sized eggs for a bantam. Yes, they began laying about two months ago. I've been very happy with their production, which has been in keeping with the big girls.

    This morning I went out to the coop when it was barely light outside and I found Punkin' walking around on the coop floor for the first time in two weeks. I was so happy to see her more comfortable. I turned on their light and, I swear, she did a happy dance for five minutes! She walked all over digging and throwing shavings, fluffing her feathers, her tail spread large, clucking and talking non-stop. As she got into it, I could tell that she was saying something, and I really think it was happiness.

    Hi, Robin. Thanks for replying. Chickens are so very pretty, aren't they? I'm in my early 60s and I'm sorry it took this long for me to have chickens, because I enjoy them so much - I'm out there with them all the time. I'm planning on making up for lost time now that I'm retired, however. I have an incubator and fertile eggs. :) It's still a little cold outside to hatch eggs, but soon . . . very soon . . .


    Evil Opal's pretty brown eggs; this one was just shy of 1 3/4 oz:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  5. Eggsakly

    Eggsakly Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    58
    91
    May 5, 2015
    p.s.: Robin, I see you just joined. I'm a newbie, too, to everything. Welcome. Nice to meet you.

    Susan
     
  6. Eggsakly

    Eggsakly Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    58
    91
    May 5, 2015
    On chicken behaviors, I have found my chickens' responses to being moved around to be interesting. Evil Opal was returned to her flock after two weeks of being in the house and out of sight to everyone else. When put back in the coop, she was as mean as ever. As before, only Dumplin' could stand up to her. So, . . . . I removed Opal's victims instead, and moved them into the house. They had been cowering together in a nest box even with Opal gone, and it was time to put them someplace without a nest box.

    I am utterly charmed by the affection and friendship of the two pullets who were previously Opal's victims - Punkin' and Pearl. These two chickens are so much happier since I removed them from the others that I cannot believe it. They love each other, and they absolutely love having their own apartment. They are up and around and eating and sun bathing and demanding to be let out all the time. Both of them lay an egg almost every day now after not laying at all for 6 and 4 weeks respectively. They "help" each other lay their eggs, and fuss together and move the eggs around after they are laid. They eat together and sleep next to each other, and it is so darned cute! I cannot imagine separating them from each other.

    Opal, on the other hand, is also laying great - 4-6 eggs per week. Unfortunately, she's not the temperament I want to perpetuate in a flock here. I may have to let Punkin' and Pearl have their time with Dude for a while so I can obtain fertile eggs from the nice girls.

    I do believe, and I could be completely wrong on this, but it seems that while Punkin' and Pearl adore being away from the others, removing them may have made the other chickens less comfortable. I'm not sure I can state exactly why I think this, it's just an overall sense I have from watching them. I don't think they like "disappearing" flock members, but I don't really know.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by