Need to try and help my little buff...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by countryladyNH, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. countryladyNH

    countryladyNH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2016
    New Hampshire USA
    My Coop
    Hi everyone~
    We're fairly new here since we just got our first chickens---4 buff orpingtons---in April, and we love this site and all the members! We've learned so much, and we've received such kind comments on our coop, "Fort Orpington".
    We have a problem and we could sure use some help/advice.

    We got our 4 buffs as apprx. month-old chicks the first week of April, from MMcM, so they are now about 4 months old. One of the ladies is slightly small, and she has always seemed like the 'odd man out', so to speak. The other hens do not pick on her, but she is always slightly behind them when they are out foraging. When we bring out the 'magic bowl of grapes' for treats every day, she NEVER approaches and takes any. We have to throw some to her, and distract the 3 others, or they try and take them away from poor Maisie. She always seems, well, nervous, and she has 'freak outs'.
    An example was yesterday. I went into the run and the 3 other hens ran out to free range, which they all love, but Maisie freaked out completely seeing them on the other side of the wire and couldn't seem to figure out how to get to the door of the run and go, and would not go past me. She flew up, beating herself against the hardware cloth, squawking. I finally got hold of her and took her out, but I held her for awhile petting her head. She made clucking noises the whole time, like she was scared.
    She never seems to 'fit in' with the group and we feel so bad for her.
    In the morning when I let them out of the coop into the run, the 3 run out and Maisie stands at the little coop door by the ladder, peering out. She finally comes down.

    We would like to do something so that she is not treated like the 'nerd' at school and ignored, and it bothers us that she never seems to get any of the treats, unless we can toss her a grape and keep the other birds from taking it away from her.
    As I said, she is not being 'pecked' or otherwise mistreated, and when the ladies take their naps outside periodically, they are all 4 in a 'bundle' together.
    Poor Maisie just seems way too timid and too 'left out' a lot...
  2. ldawntaylor

    ldawntaylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2015

    Are you sure she isn't just the lowest member of a well established pecking order?

    Somewhere in all the reading I've done someone wrote that as long as you have two chickens you will have one that is lower in the pecking order. I'm not saying there is nothing that can be just seems to me that if she isn't pecking the others then she may be content with how things are.

    I suspect that with time and a calm demeanor on your part she will reach the point where she doesn't "freak out" as often.

    What I'm getting at is that she may just be a timid bird.

    Maybe, someone with more experience will give you a better answer.

    Btw, I really like your avatar.
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    It could be that she is slightly special needs or perhaps her eyesight is not good and she panics when she gets left behind. Just like people, chickens don't all hatch and grow up to be the same and have perfect health. I'm sure I have a pekin (bantam cochin) that isn't a full shilling as we would say....she does ok but you get the feeling she's just not quite with it and it takes her a while to catch on to what's happening, If they are out free ranging she follows but she gets absorbed by something and doesn't realise that the others have moved on and then panics when she realises she's been left on here own. Can't decide if she is a Dolly Daydreamer or just has limited ability to concentrate, or maybe her sight and/or hearing is not great..... the cockerel escorts them when they are out and he call them over for treats but she seldom responds. She seems happy enough in her own little world though and doesn't get picked on.

    I'm afraid that I haven't got any real suggestions for you to make a special fuss of her though, particularly if she panics when the others are not there. Maybe that will improve with time and age. You haven't really had them very long yet. Sitting on the ground with them when they are foraging and feeding them treats at their level rather than bending over them helps, but she is obviously lacking in confidence and will take more time to build that trust.

    Good luck with her


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