hen getting chased out of nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by segeine, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. segeine

    segeine Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I have 7 chickens, 4 of whom are laying. I have a webcam in the coop (it's only to check for eggs, not 'cause they are just so darned entertaining, honest!) and have noticed that the lowest chicken on the social order keeps getting chased out of the nest boxes, even if there are 2 other boxes free, or if she goes into the one nobody likes. Poor thing is persistent, though - or desperate! Should I be concerned?

    --Segeine
     
  2. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are the chickens involved, ages, and how many nest boxes?
     
  3. segeine

    segeine Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2014
    I have: 2 Ameracaunas (that's what the receipt from the farm store says, might just be EEs, for all I know) - Zombie and Ninja, 2 RIR - Chip and Dale, 1 Leghorn - Betty White, 1 golden comet - Sunshine, 1 Plymouth Rock - Rocky.

    Betty is the top chicken - she bosses everybody around, even though she is the smallest one in the flock. Rocky is low chicken. They were both bought at the State Fair, they did NOT grow up together, and I'm unsure of how old they are. Betty started laying a couple of days after we brought her home, and lays sporadically. Rocky started about a month ago. The others were all bought in the first week of May, as chicks (a week or so old).

    Zombie and Ninja aren't laying yet, and pretty much ignore Rocky when she is in the nest. Chip, Dale, Betty and Sunshine all chase Rocky out of the nest. They did finally let her in this morning after they all decided to go outside, and she laid her egg. There are 3 boxes, one of which they don't seem to like, even though it's exactly like the one they seem to prefer. The other one is slightly different, and they do use it, if the "favorite" one is in use. Rocky will go into the one nobody likes, and they still chase her out of that one, even though they refuse to use it themselves!

    I could come up with another box, just like the #2 preferred one, if you folks thought it would help. Generally, everyone lays in the "favorite" box, unless someone just can't hold it any more, then they go to #2.

    Thanks!
     
  4. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of these girls can have very friendly dispositions, but they can also have strong or dominant personalities and be bullies. RIR and comets especially can be bullies- just a high strung breed.

    This sounds like a dominance issue to me. If you find the girls still keep at this, then you could try adding the one more nest (they all seem to have favorite nests for whatever reason.) and if that doesn't work, you can try removing Betty, and her henchmen for a few days to take them down a few notches in the pecking order.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd just let them work it out, it's part of chicken society and new layers can act really goofy(and sometimes nasty) for the first month or two of laying.
    Put some fake eggs of golf balls in all the nests, that might distract and entice them all to use the other nests.

    How big is your coop(feet by feet)....are you maybe dealing with some crowding issues also?
     
  6. segeine

    segeine Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2014
    aart - thank you for your reply!

    The coop has about 14'x10' of floor space, plus 4 roosts.

    The golf ball/fake egg idea is a great one. I'll find some balls tomorrow. I think I need to put something in the front of the boxes, to keep them from rolling out, though!

    --Segeine
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You might also put a curtain over the nest box openings. That way, if your low order gal goes in the nest box, and the others don't see her, they may forget to harass her.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Need something on the front of nests anyway, to keep the bedding in there when they inevitably scratch around in there. If a golf ball can't roll out, either can an egg.

    Best reason I've ever seen where curtains might be really beneficial!!
     

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