Need to try and help my little buff...

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by countryladyNH, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. countryladyNH

    countryladyNH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2016
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    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. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Sounds like your Maisie is a lot like my Penny - last in the pecking order and a nervous BO.

    IMO there is nothing we humans can do to change the natural order of the flock. And special treats time will always be stressful.

    We stand guard when offering treats and make sure Penny gets her fair share. And added a small second feeder cup in the run to make sure she can always get adequate nutrition. Make sure your water fount is remote from the main feeder to be sure she gets access to water without intervention.

    As they age there may be some shifts in the order and personalities, but likely Maisie will always be a nervous gal.
     
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  3. countryladyNH

    countryladyNH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2016
    New Hampshire USA
    My Coop
    Thanks so much for the advice. Luckily the other hens are 'nice' to Maisie and she can always get her food with them from our 'grandpa's feeder' as well as water---we do have a hanging nipple waterer in a different area of the run. I notice that Maisie has no problem laying down in the grass right up against Prissy---the 'head honcho hen' and seems to be protected.
    She is just so darn shy and won't come near us and seems very high strung...We will just continue to distract the other girls at treat time and toss Maisie her beloved grapes. I do notice that when she has one in her beak and another hen starts to chase her she runs like he-- and swallows her prize, lol, go Maisie!

    Maybe she'll get more confident and less fearful as time goes on...

    I appreciate your help!!
     
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Sounds like our BO's are twins [​IMG] The #1 gal in my flock is friendly to my Penny as well. It's my BO in the middle that is a real "biddy"[​IMG]

    But doubt she will ever be a trusting gal, just accept her as she is:)
     
  5. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She is lowest in pecking order. There's a pecking order in all flocks. My cock is at the top of the pecking order, and the rest fall down the line. I have 7 hens and 6 pullets. The pullets are newly integrated so they're still learning their place in pecking order. I have to drop their treats in another place for them to really get any because the other girls will chase them off (the younger still try though). If you want to continue to make sure she gets treats you may just have to offer hers separate. She'll either eventually try to get some of the other girls' treats or she won't. She'll have to make that decision though, and with her still being young, she just may once she comes into a maturity.

    Also, the 2nd night of integration I had one of the pullets try to fly into the coop through the window, she hit it somewhere and landed back onto the ground. The coop door was wide open. She figured it out the 3rd night, but it took time. With you letting them out maybe just stand back from the run door and watch to see if she goes out on her own without you being right by the door. She might. If not, you can try to teach her by using treats or something to get her out for FR time.
     

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