Giving them something to do

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 5SweetChicks, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. 5SweetChicks

    5SweetChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm having trouble with giving my chickens something to do other than chase each other and peck each other. They get all wild in the morning and sometimes grab on another chicken and not let go until they pull out a feather. I do have 3 rooster and 2 pullets. They are young and 2 roosters are leaving soon. But I was wondering what you guys give your chickens to do in the winter? I have a pretty big run so I should be able to do something in it for them
     
  2. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was wondering the same thing this morning, actually, as I just moved my seven 8-week-olds to the Big Girl Coop yesterday. There were many feathers floating around when I went out there this morning. They are further away now than when they were in a brooder in the side of the garage and I won't be able to check on them as often. The "game plan" I came up with is to plan on giving them their "treats" first thing in the morning so they can run around digging at the floor instead of each other. I'm sure the feathers this morning was just the result of them figuring out the pecking order in their new "digs', but I still want to avoid boredom as much as possible until the weather breaks around here.

    The other thing I did was put together a nice big container of DE and peat moss for their dirt bath. Late afternoon I will go out and throw more "treats" in for them to play with and scavenge for.

    FYI - "Treats" from me are nothing too special. Dry rolled oats, which they LOVE, and a tub of homegrown wheatberry grass. I added dry bread cubes to the list yesterday. They also LOVED that!

    In 5-7 days I will open the pop door in the floor so they can go play under the coop until the big run is added in the spring. I plan on moving my compost pile to the run under the coop to give them more "stuff" to play with, too.

    Hope this helps. I'm a newbie, but things have pretty much gone off without a hitch for me and my 7 chicks. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Good luck with your chickens!
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When you say the boys are young, what do you mean by that- like they're still small chicks or months old and possibly having a major surge of hormones? If they are on the older end, they could be trying to mount the girls. Usually when there is an abundance of dudes, one guy will try (whether the lady is willing or not) and this can result in a fight right on top of the poor pullet. Sometimes they'll all stand in line and wait their turn. Either way, this can result in a horrible amount of feather loss. IMO, 2 hens to 1 roo is still not going to be enough. The general rule of thumb is 1:10 (roo:hens).

    Some good cures for boredom are a hanging head of cabbage or lettuce, a flock block (which can also be hung), scattering scratch, mirrors....the dust bath in the previous post is an excellent idea if they don't have access to dirt. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the pet store and buy a big bag of crickets. I keep one of those critter keepers so I can keep them alive for a while (put in a piece of paper egg carton and slice of potato and they're good to go). I'll take the critter keeper to the coop, grab a handful of crickets and toss them in. Watch the madness as they chase them down. Mealworms are a good option too, and you can buy a container of them at the pet store and start your own colony for an endless supply (there's a whole thread about this in the Feeding section). Good luck!
    Nikki
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  4. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep, that sounds like cockerel mating attempts. You're not going to entertain that away. Giving lots of hiding places might help a little but the cockerels being separated is the solution.
     
  5. 5SweetChicks

    5SweetChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm getting rid of the roosters soon. They are becoming a big issue and I'm just having trouble finding them a home otherwise they would be long gone by now! One bit me today, hes starting to turn into a jerk. Hopefully once the boys are gone the girls will be healthy and happy [​IMG]
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If you were going to get rid of them "soon" five days ago, and still haven't, you're taking too long. Your hens are suffering and it's your job to protect them. You need to remove those roosters now. Find a way to seperate the hens from the roos tomorrow. Even running chicken wire down the middle of the run, something like that.
     
  7. redneck farmer

    redneck farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try putting two big pices of broccoli in there an sence it's winter boil or steam the broccoli an sever warm/ hot an they will peck at it all day
     
  8. 5SweetChicks

    5SweetChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roosters are leaving on Monday hopefully. I had trouble finding them a home that was near by. Most people by me just want hens no roos. So hopefully they leave tonight or tomorrow.
     
  9. 5SweetChicks

    5SweetChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've also had cold nights here and with only one coop they all needed to be in together
     

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