My ladies are arguing

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ballerina Bird, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ordinarily my two girls (who are about 18 weeks) get along just fine, with one clearly dominant and one submissive, but both very happy and affectionate with each other. But this morning they seem to have woken up in a bad mood -- I saw the submissive one peck the dominant one a bit, and they just seem to be annoyed with each other and are doing a little pecking, which I usually never see them do. They are in a run (I can't let them out today as I can't be outside with them to watch them), but since there are only two of them they have plenty of room to separate from each other, and they've never had this issue before. Do chickens just have days when they are cranky with each other sometimes? Are they put out by the fact that it is rainy? (Their run is covered and sand-lined, so they are dry, but there's no sun today, which I know they enjoy.) Is something else going on? Is this some kind of teenage thing?
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens get cranky when they are bored. Hang up something for them to peck at. Like a cabbage. Hang it just high enough so they have to jump around a little bit. Keeps em too busy to argue and its hilarious to watch!
     
  3. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! That's a great idea.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    At 18 weeks they may be getting ready to lay, hormones surging, they can act really goofy at onset of lay and should calm down after they get to laying regularly.

    In that 2 hens are a minuscule flock, there's not much room to spread the 'love' around.
     
  5. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting. They are pita pintas, and usually start laying around 20 weeks, but because the days are now so short here, the breeder thinks they will probably either wait until around 25 weeks or just hang it up altogether until the days start lengthening in the new year. They generally are very calm and cheerful and not crazy at all; this morning was a weird blip, and I wondered if they'd had some kind of conflict that I'd missed that then, you know, got their feathers ruffled. The submissive one (Odette) is much smarter than the dominant one (Odile), and sometimes that means Odile is kind of holding up the show while Odette has already figured whatever it is out, so perhaps Odette just lost her patience. If hens have what we call patience, that is. [​IMG]

    But maybe they are hormonal! Poor things if so.

    It is a minuscule flock, but I have a diminutive property that I take care of all on my own, so two seemed like the most ethical way to go rather than overcrowd them or get overwhelmed by mess. I'd love to have more someday when I have more space and maybe some help taking care of them -- this is my first time with chickens, and they are just lovely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Diminutive is a much better word than minuscule...sounds less derogatory, which I did not mean to imply.
    ....tho 3-6 chickens are really not more work to take care of than 2 if you have the room for a big enough coop. The flock dynamic can be better and if something happens to one of them, it doesn't leave a loner.

    Sometimes pullets will lay thru their first winter.
    Are their combs and wattles growing plumper, redder and waxier looking?
    Do they 'squat' on the ground when you touch their backs or go to pick them up?
    You can also check their pelvic bones.....
    2 'points' on either sides of the vent,
    less than 2 fingers width apart=not laying,
    2 or more fingers width apart=laying or close to it.
     
  7. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's true, I worry about the loner issue. I'll have to think about this. The coop is about 5' x 3.5', and they have about 15' x 5' in their run, part of which is covered by the coop and part of which is me-height so I can walk in there with them. Do you think that's enough room for more than two? I know it technically is according to all the stats, but I don't have big lawns or meadows to let them out on like a lot of others on BYC seem to. I wouldn't want them to be unhappy. We have a lot of predators here, too, so I'm very limited in how much I can let them free range. Plus the rest of the little property is a garden that I worked really hard on, so I don't know if I want to let them out to tear it up all the time.

    My breeder sent a pic of one of his pita pintas on the day she laid her first egg, and my ladies' combs are nowhere near what was in the pic. I don't think they're squatting yet. I think they are enjoying their innocent adolescence, frankly. And at this point they have become very sweet pets to me -- I usually find that I have forgotten all about the eggs!
     

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