My Cochin is always in the nesting box; and she's also getting bullied by 2nd chicken in the pecking order

goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
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Goleta CA
I've got 4 hens. Listed below in pecking order from top to bottom.

New Hampshire Red
Speckled Sussex
Dominique
White Cochin

My White Cochin now wants to sit in the nesting box all day. And when I let her out, and the Sussex is out too, the sussex just wants to bully her. And by bully, I mean lean over her with her chest, and then peck at her.
We tried putting on the chicken blinders; but that didn't seem to help.
The Cochin has also stopped laying.
I'm assuming she's broody.
I separate the Sussex behind a wire fence all day; but she's still in the run with the other chickens.

I could just lock the nesting box; but my other two chickens (the Red and the Dominique) want to lay. That said, I do lock the box in the afternoons and force the Cochin to be out and about for at least a while.

So what are my options? Will I have to re-home my Sussex? I haven't observed her going into the nesting box and then finding an egg later - so she's not even laying!

Or are there other options?

Thanks
 

FuzzyCritters

Crowing
Mar 13, 2020
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I don't think you need to rehome your sussex--she is just asserting her dominance. When the cochin is the nest all day, it's like she left the flock. When she is out and interacting with flock, it's like she was re-introduced back in, and the sussex is reminding her she is dominant.

Do you want your cochin to hatch eggs? If yes, you should separate her and let her hatch eggs away from the flock. Introduce her back in using the "see but don't touch method" after the chicks have hatched.

If you don't want her to hatch chicks, you should break her of broodyness. You could put her in a crate with nothing but a roost, food and water for a few days, and not having anywhere comfy to nest could break her. You could also dunk her is cold water for a few minutes a couple times a day to reduce her body temperature. After she is reintroduced, there will be a few scuffles for pecking order. Just let them work it out as long as they are not tearing each other up.

Sussex are known to be more slow maturing, so don't give up on eggs from her yet!
 

TheOddOneOut

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Feb 15, 2020
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I've got 4 hens. Listed below in pecking order from top to bottom.

New Hampshire Red
Speckled Sussex
Dominique
White Cochin

My White Cochin now wants to sit in the nesting box all day. And when I let her out, and the Sussex is out too, the sussex just wants to bully her. And by bully, I mean lean over her with her chest, and then peck at her.
We tried putting on the chicken blinders; but that didn't seem to help.
The Cochin has also stopped laying.
I'm assuming she's broody.
I separate the Sussex behind a wire fence all day; but she's still in the run with the other chickens.

I could just lock the nesting box; but my other two chickens (the Red and the Dominique) want to lay. That said, I do lock the box in the afternoons and force the Cochin to be out and about for at least a while.

So what are my options? Will I have to re-home my Sussex? I haven't observed her going into the nesting box and then finding an egg later - so she's not even laying!

Or are there other options?

Thanks
Look up "signs of a broody chicken"
Your Cochin is brooding.
She wants to hatch eggs.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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Do you want to hatch? If not:

Broody jail: Put the broody in an isolation cage with some food and water, in sight of the others (in the coop if it's not too hot or in/near the run is ideal). A wire cage elevated to air flow under her would be the best option, however I've used everything from a brooder to a dog exercise pen.

Keep her in the cage around the clock for about 2 days. At that time, if she's shows fewer signs of broodiness (puffing up, flattening down and growling, tik tik tik noise) you can let her out to test her. If she runs back to the nest at any point (usually they don't do it immediately, but maybe after 15 minutes, maybe an hour) then she's not yet sufficiently broken and needs to go back to the cage for another 24 hours. Then let her out and test her again. Repeat until she's no longer going to the nest box.

IF the isolation cage is not safe for overnight stay (i.e. sits outside the run) then put her on the roost at night, and retrieve her from the nest box the next morning and put her back in the cage. It may take a little longer this way but better than letting a predator get to her.
 

aart

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My White Cochin now wants to sit in the nesting box all day. And when I let her out, and the Sussex is out too, the sussex just wants to bully her. And by bully, I mean lean over her with her chest, and then peck at her.
How old are these birds, in weeks or months?


Look up "signs of a broody chicken"
Here's my go-to signs.
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?

If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.
 

goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
16
20
23
Goleta CA
Do you want to hatch? If not:

Broody jail: Put the broody in an isolation cage with some food and water, in sight of the others (in the coop if it's not too hot or in/near the run is ideal). A wire cage elevated to air flow under her would be the best option, however I've used everything from a brooder to a dog exercise pen.

Keep her in the cage around the clock for about 2 days. At that time, if she's shows fewer signs of broodiness (puffing up, flattening down and growling, tik tik tik noise) you can let her out to test her. If she runs back to the nest at any point (usually they don't do it immediately, but maybe after 15 minutes, maybe an hour) then she's not yet sufficiently broken and needs to go back to the cage for another 24 hours. Then let her out and test her again. Repeat until she's no longer going to the nest box.

IF the isolation cage is not safe for overnight stay (i.e. sits outside the run) then put her on the roost at night, and retrieve her from the nest box the next morning and put her back in the cage. It may take a little longer this way but better than letting a predator get to her.

I am going to try this. I was putting the sussex in the jail; but sounds like things will go quicker if I put the broody cochin into jail.

I will say that I *think* another reason the cochin is going to the nest is to hide from the other chicken. So - is the cochin hiding due to bullying; or is the bullying happening because she's hiding. Pardon the pun; but I'm not sure if it's the chicken or the egg... 🙃

And to @aart the chickens were all born around March 10 2020, so that makes them what, 8 months old or so?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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I am going to try this. I was putting the sussex in the jail; but sounds like things will go quicker if I put the broody cochin into jail.

I will say that I *think* another reason the cochin is going to the nest is to hide from the other chicken. So - is the cochin hiding due to bullying; or is the bullying happening because she's hiding. Pardon the pun; but I'm not sure if it's the chicken or the egg... 🙃

And to @aart the chickens were all born around March 10 2020, so that makes them what, 8 months old or so?
If she's truly broody, yes,

Broody's can get picked on because they are acting 'different'.
You might jail the 'bully' to see if the 'hider' is broody or not.

Yes, 8 months....has she been laying and how long and is she still?
 

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