New Chicken Owner--need advice

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by waghmg, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. waghmg

    waghmg In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Hi,
    Great forum.

    We are VERY new chicken owners that have just purchased 3 laying hens, probably around 1-1/2 years old. Decided to start out w/hens that were supposedly already laying. First purchased 2 plymouth rocks last Thursday, then about 1-1/2 days later purchased a RIR. This is 3-4 days later, still NO EGGS. The 2 plymouths are very mean to the RIR and she feels forced to staying on the perch while the plymouths stay on the ground. "Daisy" the RIR, is the sweetest thing but the others are so mean to her. So hard to watch. Will this get better?

    So I know these questions have been asked numerous times and I've read why they might not be laying and that there is a chicken pecking order. Guess we just need a little reassurance and advice of things we might change in our particular situation. We make sure they have clean water and are feeding them laying pellets that they seem to have just begun being interested in. We close them up in their coop at night and then they stay in a pen that's about 9 x 5. "Daisy" of course spends most of her day on the perch out the way of the plymouths. My husband is getting ready to build them a bigger coop/ranging area.

    Any advice or reassurance would be appreciated. Questions for more info on our particular situation welcomed. Thanks for listening!
     
  2. annep

    annep Songster

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    I think they are racist against the RIR...KIDDING! [​IMG]

    Make sure they are not bored, give them some scratch a few times, and just see how they settle..I've had it take a couple of weeks for them to get used to eachother..So, be patient, and just keep an eye out for any blood..If there is, separate her before it gets worse and heal her up before putting her back in.
     
  3. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

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    They are working out pecking order and after a move it could take up to a couple of weeks for them to start laying. I would advice that the next time you buy older birds buy pairs and make sure to quarantine them for 30 days before introducing them it is usually easier to add 2 birds instead of one because the flock will pick on the new comer. Also put out some oyster shell for calcium for them. Good luck with your new chickens and [​IMG]
     
  4. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Songster

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    When got our first RIR..she was a rescue and was alone. about 1 month later I introduced 2 new ladies to the coop. It was sad at first because the Austrolope was picked on by our RIR for a 3-4 weeks if not more. When we introduced them...I had the 2 new ladies in a seperate pen..and slowly placed them all together. After what seemes like forever..the RIR allowed Bella to walk around the coop and eat from the same bowl... it is sad and hard to watch..but they should start to kind of live together and allow everyone to be included in the daily routine. I have read that one being of a diffrent breed can make a diffrence...not sure I believe that..I have 3 diffrent breeds..and now 8 months later..they are together everywhere..although my RIR-Gretta is clearly the queen and still makes it clear to my Bella..but it did take almost 3-4 weeks for peace in the coop. One thing I did was have each their own nesting box--not that that makes a diffrence they now all cram into the same one..but make sure if the RIR is being picked on and is bloody, you remove her. They love blood and will peck on her more.
    Good luck...it is hard to watch and makes you sad...but it does get better....
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. waghmg

    waghmg In the Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2011
    You guys are great. Thanks for the advice.

    I'm sure we're making many mistakes but hoping we'll learn from them w/out it being too costly (to us or the chickens). Live and learn. After we got the RIR, it did occur to us we should have gotten a 2nd to go along with her, so sure that was one of our first mistakes. We have started letting "Daisy" out to range on her own with supervision because she is so tame and so easy to get her back in. So we give her some "special treatment."

    So far no blood. I think Daisy tries to stay out of their way as much as possible. Just wish she could scratch in the pen around like the other two. One of the plymouths did pull a feather out yesterday though. Problem is we don't have another place to put her until my husband gets the other coop/range built.

    It's nice to know that things MOST LIKELY will get better. My main concern is Daisy's welfare. She's just the sweetest thing. And of course we're hoping we get eggs soon. Going to purchase some oyster shell today.

    One other question...Do they also need grit or will the oyster shell be enough?

    Thanks again for your patience with this newbie to the chicken world!!!
     
  6. mistymeadowchicks

    mistymeadowchicks Chirping

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    First, '[​IMG]'!! You'll love this site--there are lots of very friendly, knowledgeable people that have probably dealt w/ every chicken issue possible. And you usually get multiple options. Here's my 2 cents (& keep in mind I'm relatively new too.) As far as your new hens, be patient. Stress affects their egg laying & they sometimes need a little adjustment time. I got a dozen girls from a friend that I knew were laying--got a couple eggs immediately (that I figure were already in the chute), then an adjustment period w/ only one or two, then 8-11 eggs a day consistently. Second, anytime someone is added to the flock , there will be re-aligning of the pecking order before it settles down. Unfortunately, my 2 Barred Rock hens are regular little witches toward the other girls & I've read numerous posts about them being aggressive toward other birds. They are not my favorite breed. (But, there are others that love them w/ no issues-- so grain of salt w/ that comment.) BTW, you didn't mention if you had quarantined the RIR before introducing (to make sure she wasn't sick) & I'm sure you'll get that advice. Other more experienced will probably jump in w/ excellent suggestions. Best of luck & have fun!
     
  7. waghmg

    waghmg In the Brooder

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    No, I'm sorry to say, being more uneducated than I realized, we did not quarantine the new girl. That's been worrying me too. Nothing to do now I guess except hope for the best. Boy, what a learning process!

    My husband picked up the barred rocks from an auction together. Learning about the different breeds somewhat as we go along. I know, not the best way to do things, but here we are. We intend to make the best of it now and to learn from our mistakes. Have read about keeping breeds the same, but then again see people who have all kinds together in same coop. I'm sure some of this is opinion/own experience.

    Anyhow, here we are and excited about our new project and our two girls (humans, LOL, ages 10 and 12) are having a ball.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  8. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Songster

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    it is good your excited..it is alot of fun to go out each day and find eggs....nothing is better then fresh eggs! It will get better..I was very worried about my Astralope and made it a point to spoil her just a little extra each day. It does get better...I was very close to geting rid of all of them because I felt like I was doing it all wrong..was being mean to try to make them all get along..and then one day..they were outside together scratching and went to bed at the same time...remember....it is on their terms..and turf. You can't rush them and make them all get long. Once they determine who is the boss...it will get better! I was told by our local feed store..chickens are easy..humans make it hard! Good luck and have fun! [​IMG]
     
  9. dretd

    dretd Songster

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    Quote:Personally, I wouldn't worry about the quarantine this go-around. You only had the first two for 36 hours before adding the third girl. Technically, the first could be carriers of disease too, and spread it to the RIR and should have been quarantined too. I would consider the whole pen a quarantine pen. If you add more girls in the future then I would quarantine those ladies.

    As for adding new chickens, it can be tricky especially if you have an aggressive one at the top (mine is also a barred rock--great layer though, and survived a run-in with a fox because of her surly nature).

    What may help is to disrupt the pecking order by removing one or two (if you have a bigger flock) key chickens from the flock for a day or two when you add the new girl. I had to do this a couple of times. I took out top hen and put her in a dog crate. I also added the new one in at night so she was there when the flock woke up. Not a perfect solution, but I think it helped diffuse the aggressiveness a bit.
     
  10. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

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    Quote:They need layer feed, oyster shell and grit now if you free range they could find enough grit on their own. I do crush up their egg shells and feed those to the girls for calcium you can do oyster shell or egg shells or both. Just watch and make sure there is no blood they should work things out in a few weeks
     

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