First Time Chicken Owner with Potential Disaster.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sarahsc0tt, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. sarahsc0tt

    sarahsc0tt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
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    Hello ...

    I found this forum doing a Google search because I have no idea what is going on with my chickens! My husband and I decided we wanted to raise chickens for eggs, using a rooster, not the special food that will make the hens lay eggs, which the local feed store told uswould be fine; just produce fertilized and still edible eggs. Now, I live in a very small town in the the Central Valley foothills of CA and there are three feed stores to choose from. Considering that we have to drive an hour just to get to Wal-Mart, Target, Petsmart, the HOSPITAL ... etc. this is saying a lot. We started off at one feed store that told us they had pullets and only pullets; no cockerel's available. This was disappointing but we bought 5 Ameraucana chicks and went to the next feed store to order a rooster. One week later, we had an Ameraucana baby rooster and 1 more baby Ameraucana hen to go with him. With only a one-week space in-between, these guys have been growing up together. However, I am now very concerned. We have been keeping these chicks inside under a brooding bulb, as instructed by the grizzled old farmer at the first feed store and those first 5 will be 6-weeks old tomorrow. Since it's CA and it's hot, I figure that I can just put everybody outside at once (minus my 2 little baby Silkies who got pawned off on me and are not part of the official "laying flock") however I have a problem. One of my original little pullets was always more aggressive than the others but towards me, not the other chicks. I cured her of that and everything seemed fine. When I put the baby rooster into their cage, everyone got along fine. Now, practically overnight, everything has changed in a very bad way! That one chick that was always more aggressive has decided she hates the rooster. She is attacking him all the time and won't let him get anywhere near her or the others. Today I had to separate the two of them. There has been no blood or torn feathers but a lot of squawking and wing beating, aggressive head jerks and outright chasing. I have two fears. One, that the feed store that claimed they had "Noooooooo cockerels, only pullets and wouldn't have any, either" slipped me a rooster or, that I just have a really mean chicken that will have to go. Is this normal, for a hen to be tormenting a rooster at 5-6 weeks old? Is my worst nightmare, that I have two roosters, a possibility? They are only 6 weeks old and I can say that my "verified rooster" is far more colorful and his tail is longer. The mean "hen" (hopefully not rooster) is brown like the others. Since they are Ameraucanas, the combs are small so I can't really tell by that. Is this normal? Would pictures help? Can I do anything to fix it, besides separating them permanently? Please help this newcomer to the chicken world!
     
  2. NYRIR

    NYRIR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and welcome to BYC!
    Sounds like you could have 2 roos there...pics would really help. I would not let them stay together right now if the picking is that bad.Sometimes if you remove the "offender" for a while,they lose their place in the pecking order and it may help.Is it possible it is just "peck order" fighting?Sometimes that can look rough.And yes, there is only a 90 % guarentee on sexing of chicks from the hatchery and many hands and little bodies can be mistaken!
    Please post pics so we can see what you have...and maybe someone can help with more knowledge than me!
    You came to the right place for answers...this site is the best [​IMG]
     
  3. sarahsc0tt

    sarahsc0tt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Central Valley
    Oh no, I hope not. I will take pictures ASAP and post them here. Thank you!
     
  4. Shannon33

    Shannon33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2010
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    I personally have seen this behavior with young chicks. As long as there is no blood/injuries I just let them sort it out. It doesn't necessarily mean you have more than one cockerel. I had a chick that was such a terror to her hatch mates I was sure she was a male, but nope, just a feisty hen (she is now my top hen). They do have a pecking order amongst themselves and it's normal, usally once they have established it, things are peaceful. Like I said, I don't get involved unless someone is being injured or having feathers torn. Lots of people have bought pullet chicks only to have them turn out to be cockerels, so it is possible, but the behavior you are seeing isn't a for sure indicator. I'm not sure what you mean about using a rooster to get eggs? The only difference a rooster makes in eggs is fertilization. Hens will lay with or without a rooster. The special food you are talking about I assume you mean layer food? It doesn't make them lay eggs, it just has added calcium for harder shells and production ( that is how it was explained to me, anyway) People that don't feed layer supplement by offering oyster shells. I have never heard of having a rooster or not having one having any effect on that.
     
  5. sarahsc0tt

    sarahsc0tt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Central Valley
    By using a rooster: All info gleaned from the first feed store. I'm never going there again. They have me believing I need special food to make a hen lay eggs without a rooster, then refused to sell me one. Never again. Well, I won't panic yet and I will post pictures still, just in case.
     
  6. Shannon33

    Shannon33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2010
    Eastern Shore, VA
    Ahh, yeah, I was in the same boat when I got chickens. I didn't know much about them and figured "well the people at the feed store must know everything" Turns out that was... not so true, lol. The good news is the people on this website are GREAT and I am pretty sure it's the only forum on the entire internet where the large majority of the people are actually NICE, lol, especially at helping new people out. I have literally had every question I ever had about chickens answered just by browsing these forums.
     
  7. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

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    Quote:I'm in the Central Vally. Where the heck is this feed store?

    I read the posts and i do have a thought here. You may have 2 roos. Sometimes it's hard to tell with a feedstore Ameraucana, first being that they don't even sell them and actually sell EE's. That's not a bad thing, just dishonest and in forums like this the attacks come. LOL Basically they use Araucans or Ameraucanas and another breed to produce them. The combs can look different, etc etc. Even if they are vent sexed the chance of getting all pullets in an order are only guaranteed 90% acurate.

    I figure about 85% of feedstore employees know about 3% of what they're talking about. I'm lucky to have a couple of them near me where the owners are also breeders, so much better help. You were smart to find this forum. LOL

    BTW

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    You DO need layer pellets or mash for your birds to lay and be healthy. Chicks need starter and grower. I use one that is both. You'll find all the info you need right here on BYC.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  8. sarahsc0tt

    sarahsc0tt Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Central Valley
    It's in Prather--boo, don't ever go there. I moved to the Auberry feed store--much more knowledgeable. I'm sure I am a proud owner of Easter Egg chickens too, considering the rest of my experience. *sigh* My chicken coop in-waiting is quite large so I'm hoping if I do have 2 roo's they can work out a pecking order in their ridiculously huge, lavish chicken coop. It is a refurbished pig pen on my in-laws old run-down farm that we were smart enough to prep in advance. My husband and I are fixing the property up bit by bit. My aggressive chicken just looks so ... hennish; big and fat and brown with a stumpy tail and a VERY "maternal" attitude towards my two little Silkies. I took them away aweek or so ago because they're so little and calm and prefer a quiet environment. She/he is also the biggest chicken of the whole lot. So, I'm hoping. The "for sure" rooster is a black and white (splash?) with a long black tail and a defined roostery squawk. They usually calm down at this time so hopefully I can snatch a couple of pictures, soon.
     
  9. ruthless

    ruthless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mount Vernon, Mo
    You don't say how much space your chicks have. If they still have heat on at 5-6 weeks and it is hot where you are, they can easily be way too hot and too crowded. THis leads to a lot of aggressive behavior.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=283953
    go here to find a lot of topics on raising baby chicks.


    Oh hens lay eggs when the time comes, no rooster needed. Please research their feed needs though, they need proper nutrition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  10. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

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    Quote:EEs are good birds. The hatchery birds are usually bred for laying, so that's in your favor.

    I have mostly young Ameraucanas. Only a couple laying, but I'll have silver, lavender, blue, black and BBS laying in the next couple of months. If you're interested in any of those just send my a pm and we can work something out for you to add any of those to your little flock.

    BTW....I was only going to get 3-4 layers a few years ago. Ended up with 32. Had to give up that flock and have ..........more than I can get to hold astill to count.

    A must research subject is Chicken Math!
     

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