I need some advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by glendaschicks, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. glendaschicks

    glendaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We built our coop with five hens in mind, a 6'x10', with a sheltered roost 6' long. As it turns out, we ended up with eight; six Buff Orps and two Black Australorps. They free range during the day, let out at daylight, and don't go back in until dusk. All has been fine with their interaction, other than the usual (I'm assuming) pecking order squabbles. They are now about 18 weeks old, with two obvious cockerels (crowing) one BA and one BO, and one (at least one) other BO that I suspect is a cockerel. For the last two nights, the squabbling has gotten pretty intense at roost time, with two BO's spending the night on the "poop board", as far as I can tell. We had already decided we needed to add another roost this weekend until we can re-home a roo or two, but now I'm thinking about us putting up a semi-temporary roost tomorrow at the same level but a couple of feet in front of the original one until we can get something permanent done.

    Just wondering if the same coop, more roost room will work for awhile, since that seems to be the only time things get really heated. They all forage as a group during the day, with very little aggression towards one another. Anyone have an opinion to share?

    Of course, I realize we should have done something before now, but they were all getting along so well until the hormones started really kicking in...

    All feedback will be appreciated!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They will probably always squabble to a degree at roost time. Mine certainly do. If you can put another roost in that's higher than the poop board, it may indeed help. BO's tend to be easily intimidated, though, and they may stay where they are.

    I wouldn't worry about "should have done" something before now. If they're not drawing blood, things are under good enough control. Granted, sleeping on a poop board isn't so great, I do understand that -- but they are going to get into things you'd rather they didn't.
     
  3. glendaschicks

    glendaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much, flockwatcher, for the reply. We are going to try to get something done this evening before roost time. I just hate to see them huddled down under the roost! Another thing that popped into my head last night; someone dumped two puppies on us over the weekend, and they have been harassing the chickens a bit. Could that be making the chickens more irritable, maybe contributing to the increased squabbling?
     
  4. mrsc1951

    mrsc1951 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's more likely that it's hormones causing the rift, however if you let the dogs stress the chickens too much it can cause problems.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, being harrassed by puppies would definitely stress them.
     
  6. glendaschicks

    glendaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm assuming it is mostly hormones, too, mrsc1951. We are waiting on a call back from the Humane Society, and they assured me it would only be a few days until they could take the pups off our hands. Our adult dogs are great around the chickens, but pups will be pups...extremely cute, extremely aggravating.
     
  7. glendaschicks

    glendaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Temporary fix doesn't seem to be working. We put up another roost, about 18" in front of original roost with a "bridge" to it, but no takers. I just checked on them, and there are 2 BO's on the poop board again. Oh well, looks like we are going to have to do something this weekend; either get rid of a couple of cockerels, or build another coop. sigh

    Bad news on the puppy problem, too. All shelters around here are full to overflowing right now, no hope for the immediate future! AARRGGHH Why do people not spay/neuter their cats and dogs (unless they are breeders), and then dump their unwanted ones on someone else??!! I know the answer to that one, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with...
     
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Couple weeks ago several of my grumpy old hens got to be such bad roost bullys that I had to hang dividers over the perch so they couldn't see & attack each other.
     
  9. glendaschicks

    glendaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just out of the blue?? What did you use for dividers? This is interesting to me because mine seem to have enough room, but the bullies don't want the last 2 or 3 up the ladder to even get close to them, and lean down to peck at them until they just huddle on the poop board. hmmm These are all young, with at least 3 cockerels in the mix. I'm wondering if dividers would help with them... I suppose it couldn't hurt to try.
     
  10. txnative

    txnative Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why not try physically putting the stragglers on the new roosts after they've gone into their nighttime "coma"? Maybe a few nights of this will get them to use the new roost.
     

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