New Groovy Chicks and 2 bullies

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PScott, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. PScott

    PScott New Egg

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    May 21, 2013
    I was given 2 full-grown Silver Laced Wynadottes the week before Easter this year. They were already laying and have continued to do so for these past 5 months. I put together a kit from Tractor Supply that has a 2' X 3' hutch and a 3' X 10' run. They are happy with their home. Over the Easter weekend I bought 5 chicks from the local feed store (3 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Rocks). I raised them first in a 10 gallon aquarium with a light, then a larger box and so on. All went well and I enjoyed getting to know them from the start. When they were several weeks old I would let them out for a while in the yard corralled by a length of chicken wire shaped in a large circle. Around 16 weeks I moved the new chicks outside to move in with the older hens. I had high hopes but, the two older Wynadottes did not agree with me and they turned into bullies. I made a temporary separate coop with 4 garden stakes, chicken wire, zip ties and a broom handle for the younger ones and all was fine for a while.

    I was proud of my homemade design. It was an A-Frame with two garden stakes at each end to make the A, the broom handle spanned the top for the beam and chicken wire when up and over and also wrapped the ends. A tarp stood in as a roof because in Florida, in the spring and summer you can count on an afternoon shower and many thunder storms. All was still going good, but the little ones were now 'mini-hens' and needed more. I redesigned the temporary coop using 2 - 9' PVC pipes, 4 - 2' rebar stakes, trusty zip ties, the same chicken wire and tarp. Now the 5 sweet, growing 'mini-hens' were cozy in their slightly upgraded coop, while the full-grown bullies were getting even more ornery when I let them all out together in the yard. Why should two meanies be rewarded with the prime real estate the the five sweet innocents be crowded?

    I am now in the middle of constructing a 4' X 8' coop with a 12' X 8' attached yard. If the bullies can't get along with the others then they just might have to stay where they are and watch the others bed down every night in the luxury condo.

    In the meantime, I let all out in the morning and put all up at night. They free-range throughout the yard and woods and when in the same area, the two meanies still chase, peck and pull feathers if they get close enough. I throw out scratch, worms and such. I have Laying Food in each of the two coops. They have unlimited access to water. At this time, the 5 growing chickens are pretty much full-grown (5 month old), but I have not seen any eggs yet. Only the two older hens lay 1 egg/day each. Are the younger ones bothered by having to be constantly wary? Are they just not old enough? Are they unhappy with their night-time living arrangements? The two Wynadottes put themselves up at night. They wander back on their own and roost in their hutch. All I have to do is lock their door. I have to shoo the other 5 young hens down from their favorite roosting place in the yard and herd them back to their coop.

    Any insight would help regarding egg-laying conditions (age, stress, living conditions).
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    As far as egg laying, it could just be the age. Hens start to lay at anywhere from 5 to 8 months; some sooner, some later, depending on the breed. It also could be that if they are not roosting in the coop, they might not be laying in the coop either--they might of found a nice cozy bush to lay in. Nearly all my hens first eggs were NOT in the nesting boxes. Also, one set of Polish chicks I got took around a month before they decided that the coop was a nice place to sleep, so the key for me there was repetition. As for the bullies, as soon as my chicks were fully feathered and about the same size as the rest of the hens, I started introducing them to the older ones. I sort of let things just even out and let the pecking order run its course. Of course if it gets to the point of drawing blood, then intervene. Good luck!
     
  3. PScott

    PScott New Egg

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    May 21, 2013
    Thanks for the wisdom, LR. I'll be working on that and also hope when I can finish the bigger coop and run they can all get along; or live apart.
     

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