New to chickens...questions?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gorgemom, May 28, 2007.

  1. gorgemom

    gorgemom Hatching

    May 28, 2007
    Hello, this is my first time here, I am a new chicken owner and have some questions. I purchased 3 week old chicks a few months ago and raised them in a homemade brooder until they were fully feathered, I then placed them in the chicken house with a heat lamp in the corner and a little yard with a metal fence and netting from the top of the fence to the top of the chicken house....I thought they were safe....until my neighbors dog came over and tore through my fencing and ate all but two of my chickens....I had 10. I was pretty upset (neighbor got rid of his dog).........anyway....rather than start over with babies I purchased 5 one year old laying hens from a local farm. I have a new 5 foot fence up around a 50X40 yard with hot wire to keep out the predators to keep them safe. I haven't had a chance to see adult chicken behavior before so as you can imagine I have several questions.

    First off I have laying boxes in my coop and I put some hay in the boxes and one of the chickens proceeded to get into each box and scratch out all of the hay one by one...why???? I don't get it, now they are laying eggs on the ground of the chicken coop.

    Secondly I was watching them today and one of the hens looked like she was trying to lay an egg and another hen came over and tried to peck her in the neck...the laying hen would get up and move and the mean hen would follow her and try to peck her again. Then another hen climbed onto a crate I set out for them to lay in and this mean hen went over to her, climbed in the box with her and proceeded to peck her until she got out of the box, then the mean hen got out too. What is her problem???? Should I seperate her?

    I have more questions, but that is what this forum is for right? [​IMG] I will save those for later. Does anyone have any ideas for me?
  2. JamesC

    JamesC In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    I suggest that you use straw, not hay, in your nest boxes. Chickens love scratching through hay for seeds and greens. Since your birds are already laying you might try putting a golf ball in each of the nests as a dummy egg. You'll have to show the hens their "eggs" in the fresh straw. I had to do that with one of my hens on Sunday, she didn't get it either, but today she laid her egg in the nest. Once they lay there and that golf ball "egg" is always there they think it's a good place to continue nesting. Chickens can't count worth beans!!

    You could try covering the nest boxes with cardboard so keep the aggressive bird out. If you want to get rid of the nasty one that's your choice but another might just take her place. They work our their pecking order and there's nothing you can do about it but try to give them a nice secluded nesting spot. It might work.

    Good luck,
  3. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Did you look at the farmers set up for boxes. If he uses trap or roll aways they have no bedding in them. So your hen may be returning them to what she is used to.

    I wouls seperate her for a few days. Sounds like you have a dominant hen that needs a little solitary confinement.

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