Leaving the Girls Alone - Pen Them Up?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AnnieSantiago, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. AnnieSantiago

    AnnieSantiago Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tomorrow, my son is taking me white water rafting all day. We will leave about 6:30 am and probably be home around 6 pm.

    Every morning I let my hens out into their yard all day.
    But I'm right here and could hear if anything attacked them.
    They're in a coop in the back yard.
    No dogs can get in, but I would worry about raccoons.

    Question: Would it be ok to leave them cooped up all day inside the hardware cloth coop?
    It's about 4 x 8 feet enclosed with a ladder to a small henhouse.

    There would be 4 hens in there; 1 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks and 1 Speckled Sussex.
    The only problem I might foresee is that Penny, the SS, is awfully mean to the little RIR hen.
    She chases her mercilessly.

    But getting pecked might be better than getting eaten?
    What would YOU do?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Keep them secure.
     
  3. Dean O Connor

    Dean O Connor New Egg

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    Keep them penned p
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    What would I do? That depends on the day. We don't let our chickens and dog out at the same time if we're going to be gone. Sometimes the dog gets kenneled, and sometimes the chickens remain in their coop/run. Today was the dog's turn to be loose. In the past, when we had our other dog (had to be put down last year due to cancer in his mouth) that we trusted completely, we'd let the chickens out in the morning and lock them up at night, whether we were going to be home or not. Yes, it has cost us chickens on rare occasion, but it's a chance we're willing to take. It sounds like you have plenty of room for your chickens to be locked in during the day. Have fun!
     
  5. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let my chickens out at daybreak, and shut the door behind them after they put themselves to bed. Our coop is very secure, but our property is wide open.

    They free range our 2 acres all day long with little to no supervision.

    In the area we have raccoons, opossums, coyotes, and bald eagles.

    SO FAR, we have had no issues. However, I know there is a risk. If/when something happens, we may re-evaluate. But until then, it's very convenient to just let them roam :)

    (although my wife complains about the chicken crap in her nice back-yard ;) )
     
  6. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do what ShockValue does, let them out and don't worry about it. I've lost 2, one to a neighbors dog that got in while our gate was open and the other to who knows what (she went broody and refused to roost at night, something got her thru the wire on the ground). the other one I lost was eggbound and nothing I did helped.
     
  7. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    How'd it go?
     
  8. AnnieSantiago

    AnnieSantiago Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I left them in the pen for the day and they seemed to do ok.

    But I've had to separate Penny again.
    She is in a pen in the shed.
    She is just SO darned mean to the other hens.
    Yesterday she was pecking and chasing everyone and I decided to separate her when she got ahold of one hen and wouldn't let go.

    The other hens have been so frightened by her that they won't go near the nesting area.
    They've been in the coop alone all night and I thought I'd leave them in there without her today to see if they'll do some exploring.
    But they're huddled near the front door and won't go near the back nesting area.
    I think she has trained them.

    I put some scratch back there, and they still won't go.

    I'm not sure how long I should leave her in the shed.
    This is her second time-out.

    She's the only hen laying right now so I hate to upset her.
    But when I saw her bite and hang on yesterday, I was shocked.

    I'll listen to any advice.
    I'm stumped.
     
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Honestly - I'd rid myself of Penny. This is one of those times where I would put the needs/happiness of the many (rest of the flock) at the top. As this is the second attempt to correct the behavior and you have not seen improvement after the first, she is not showing sings of being ready/willing/able to change. I get that she is the only one laying, but the likelihood is that if your other birds feel as bullied as your description makes it sound they may not begin to lay due to stress and her one egg is all you'll have. I'd rather have a flock of happy, healthy, active layers minus a bully (even if that bully were my favorite) than one active layer and flock full of stressed out birds.
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Having read back through the thread - I do have a question - is Penny just as aggressive when they are out ranging as when they are confined, or are you only seeing the aggression within the confines of the 4x8 pen/coop area?
     

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