hen behaviors


6 Years
Jul 19, 2013
I have 4 hens and 2 babies. I know its normal for the hens to be at the head of the pecking order but I have one road island red hen who keeps running the babies out of the lot where they can lay and So I took out one of the nesting boxes and put the babies in a small lot by themselves hoping they will know to lay in them. Am I doing right or should I put the road island hen in the lot by her self and hope the others will let them lay.
Bit of a confusing post. So, let me see if I've got this right: when you say 'babies' you mean point of lay pullets? And when you say 'lot' --- I don't know, that one's stumped me. If it's a nesting box dispute I'd think providing more nest boxes is probably the way to solve the problem. Best wishes.
this is what I call the lot but its the dog lot plus their coup I guess what I'm trying to say We have one pullet that is not laying and 1 that is both are the same age 6 months at the end of Sept When I say the older hens wont like the other younger hens into the lot/coup area to even get to the nest and that is why I put them both in a small lot with a laying box so they will learn where to lay But at night they sleep in the coup with the others I just don't know what to do cause they cant get to the nest That's why I was wondering if I should put the one hen that is the problem in the other small lot for the day I hope this helps
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It might be a pecking order thing- they will take awhile to accept each other. How long ago did you integrate the "babies"?

Make sure you have enough nest boxes or one in a separate area from the original ones. Also private nestboxes- ones that are harder to tell who is in it help prevent nest blocking.

My suggestion is that if you do separate them make sure they can be seen and heard- if you haven't already.

Otherwise sometime rearranging everything (feed bins, roosts, nest boxes) will confuse the older hens enough to not be so territorial while adjusting to the change, giving the babies enough time to establish themselves in the flock.

From my experience they will eventually warm up to each other after a few days. I only separate hens if there is major fighting, or blood involved.
they have been together since the birth of the babies and the babies have been out wondering in the yard with them for at least 2 months and they still wont let them eat with them and like I said the road Island hen wont let them in the lot to get to the nests I thought they would get use to each by now. but the issue is not having enough laying boxes cause I have 4 boxes and only 6 hens and one of the hens does not lay any more But now the one baby that is laying wont go into the big coup Are the babies ever going to stick up for themselves
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Agree with Paganrose, that's all sound advice.

As for the nest box issue, just because you have 4 boxes for 6 hens doesn't mean they'll be peaceful; I've had over 50 hens all using the same 3 nests and not using all the other nest boxes I made available. What matters most is the chicken's perceptions of the nests. Some nests always look better to them than others. Also, whichever nest has the most eggs is often the most tempting, and whichever nest is highest or most shielded is often the most sought after too. Some hens prefer to lay on the ground.

If you just add more nests it will probably fix the situation, but it's normal for pullets to get rejected from nests hens have been using. Your pullets may never stand up for themselves since they are naturally lower in the order by virtue of being younger. But things should settle down and become peaceful in due time. Might take a little while.

It's a good idea to get false eggs or 'nest eggs' for each nest. When there's always an egg that doesn't get collected, they tend to stop being so anxious about nesting places and sharing; when a hen returns to her nest to add to her clutch and sees another hen sitting in it, if there's a fake egg in another nest it can often tempt her away without her venting her frustration on the other hen.

Some of my hens would forsake cage nests to lay out in the bushes if I totally raided their nests, so a fake egg set we made of plaster of paris proved invaluable. Also it discourages egg eaters if you have any or if they start learning it.

Best wishes.
thanks so much for the help What I did was put a small coup and 2 nesting boxes in a smaller lot and I put the young ones in it and kept them in it till we got home from work so they would lay in the boxes and today I am opening the gate and leaving it opened hoping the young ones will still lay in them. Thanks again

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