New Hens Stuck in the Corner

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mballard5574, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. mballard5574

    mballard5574 New Egg

    Aug 15, 2012
    I have three 6-month old hens and just introduced three new 16-week pullets. I've been separating them at night and putting them all in the run during the day. I do give the new pullets about an hour in the run by themselves before "sending in the lions".

    The usual pecking order behaviors are taking place. Nothing too violent and the new pullets are easily running away.

    However, they will not leave the confines of the corner of the run! I'm on day 4 now and the most they've walked away from the corner is about 2 feet.

    I've seen them scratching for some food and have not attempted the water nipples. They are eating and drinking (from a bowl) in the night time area I have them.

    How much longer should I give them to stop standing in the corner and start getting brave? And are there any suggestions to disrupt that behavior?

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would leave everyone together 24/7, and give it some time. Distractions (a hanging cabbage, flock block, bird cage mirror, things to jump up on, etc.) may help. More space especially with hiding places is a great help. Can you turn them loose in your yard, at least for a little while at the end of the day? They should return to the coop at dusk on their own.

    It will be a while before they sort things out, but I do think they need to stay together rather than have this process interrupted twice a day.
  3. mballard5574

    mballard5574 New Egg

    Aug 15, 2012
    So here's an updated after day 7.  They are still staying away from the old chickens.  They run to the corner of the run and will occasional lift up their heads for a bite of food or drink.  The only times they leave the corner is when they are chased by the old chickens.

    Now they discovered the coop is a safe hangout.  And now they hangout there until an older chicken comes to lay an egg and kicks them out...then go to the corner for a bit and then back into the coop.

    I did have food and water inside the coop, in addition to the main feeding source in the run, but removed it last night to force them out of the coop during the day.  As of right now they have not left the coop to eat.

    I did get them to sleep together on the roost.  I go to the coop at night and put the new chickens on the roost as they have been sleeping in the nesting box or halfway hanging out the coop door.  It's still a manual process and I'll probably only move them around one more time before I let them do it on their own.  But they are sleeping together on the roost without issue.

    Another note: when I open the door for free ranging, they come out of the coop to eat.

    Any suggestions
    - for getting them out of the coop
    - for sleeping together without my intervention

    At what point should I be concerned or should I just stop intervening? Should I keep everyone in the coop (no free ranging) until this is worked out?

    Thanks< MIKE
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  4. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would let them be ~

    Time & space is best. Freeranging is great. You can put out scratch when they're freeranging to get them used to foraging together. They'll find their own spots at the roost, and multiple feeding/watering stations are good if they are being bullied away from food & water. As long as no feathers are missing ... good luck with them!
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    My new pullets do that sometimes but they get on the roost and won't come down. So several times a day I take my chicken stick and shoo them down and make them go mingle with the rest of the flock and usually after 2 days they act like normal, though still a little skittish.

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