My Girl Esme - she doesn't fit in with the others

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dentyschooks, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. dentyschooks

    dentyschooks New Egg

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    Aug 6, 2013
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    Ok, where do I start? I got 3 new Isa Browns back in August to add to 1 other chook (we had 2, lost 1 and got 3 more to make 4) and they were around 16 weeks old. I noticed that one of them (Esme) looked so tiny compared to the others to the point where I thought she was a lot younger than the other 2. They picked on her a little but she held her own and was doing ok. 2 weeks ago I came home from work and she was huddled up in the back of the coop. I bought her inside for a week. She's lost weight, wouldn't drink or eat. Anyway, the past week and a half I've hand fed her and she's a lot better. I reintroduced her back to the flock but she won't eat with them. They glance at her and she runs a mile. We have a deck in the coop (see below pic) and she stays up there for most of the day. Won't come down and eat. If they're out of the coop she's fine with the others. Scratches around etc. It's only in the coop that's the problem. I go in to sit with them and she runs up to me, jumps on my shoulder and just wants a cuddle - she even falls asleep and purrs....! She won't go up into the coop at night to bed, I have to walk her up the ramp. The others don't kick her out, she just won't venture up!
    She'll only eat if I place her crumbles up on the deck. She refuses to eat out of the regular feeder with the others. I think that's how she got sick in the first place cause she's just been pushed out of the food and she won't fight to go back in. She's very timid.
    I love her to bits but just not sure how to manage her food with the others. I'm amazed I've managed to bring her back from the brink 2 weeks ago and I don't want this to happen again.
    Do I just keep some crumbles and water up on the deck for her? I just want her to be safe and eat. Long ramble, any suggestions would be great.
    Heidi [​IMG]
     
  2. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    In our mixed flock of 16 we have a Speckled Sussex that went through a similar experience. She was the runt of the flock and was being bullied and intimidated by the other birds. The bigger girls were keeping her away from the feeders and then they began to peck at her comb. We finally built her a separate small coop that has a wire wall between her and them (so they can all see each other but no one gets hurt). She's much happier now and has gained weight since she doesn't have to compete for food. She gets out once a day with the others to roam around the garden and the other chickens don't mess with her as they are all busy scratching & pecking.

    Sorry to not have anything more helpful to offer you. We didn't want to take the chance that she would suffer serious injury so making her 'private quarters' was worth it to us.
     
  3. dentyschooks

    dentyschooks New Egg

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    Aug 6, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Hi, thanks so much for your reply! Does your Sussex have separate sleeping quarters too? I'm pressed for space as it is now. I'll have to go out and have a good look at the coop tomorrow to see what I could possibly do.
     
  4. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you place a couple more feeders around the run, it is more likely she will eat because there is more to go around and it will be less likely that the other hens will be bulling her to stop eating because they will most likely be using on of the other feeders.
     
  5. dentyschooks

    dentyschooks New Egg

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    Aug 6, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Hi - that's what I've started to do. I've added 1 other feeder at ground level plus the one up high on the deck where she likes to sit. Thanks for your advice! :)
     
  6. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No problem, let us know how it goes! :)
     
  7. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    Yes, our Sussex has her own sleeping quarters too...she has a sort of mini-coop. We have multiple feeders and waterers but she could barely get to any of them before someone would chase her off. She still likes to hang out close to them but it just wasn't safe for her to be shut up in the general populations run or coop.

    I hope things settle down for your girl. Keep us posted!
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Esme sounds just like my EE Flo, who has learned to communicate to me her needs and has trained me to do her bidding. She is bullied something fierce by all the others, and she has her own fenced off section in the run where she has food and water and peace. She still has to roost with the rest, though, and often will come back out of the coop after everyone else has roosted, asking me to help her find a spot. She's real good at getting me to fight her battles, which I'm glad to do because it seems she has developed a special bond with me, coming to me when I call her name.

    As long as you're willing to give Esme special treatment, go for it. But I'm sure she would eventually find her place in the flock and manage just fine, as would my Flo.
     
  9. dentyschooks

    dentyschooks New Egg

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    Ha! Yes, Esme makes me find her a spot in the coop at night! She comes to me when I call her name also. For sure I'm willing to give her the special attention she needs. I'll just have to run with it now I understand what's going on in the flock. Thanks for all your stories about your birds and advice, you've all been so helpful!
     
  10. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No problem, and welcome to BYC! :welcome
     

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