Newest Chickens Not Going Into Coop at Night with Older Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Popcorn Mcgee, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Popcorn Mcgee

    Popcorn Mcgee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2012
    I have two 2 month old hens who haven't been accepted into the flock, (3 six month old hens). During the day I keep them all in the run together until my three older lay. During this time my 2 month old chicks mostly hide or keep their distance from the older three because my older three hens chase and peck them every so often. After the three older ones lay I turn them loose to free range, leaving the younger two in the run to keep them safe from the neighbor cat. In the evening I take scratch out to the run, letting the older three in. After they get their fill on scratch they walk up the ramp and tuck themselves in for the night. The younger two fly onto a pole I hang their feeder from under the coop and they try to sleep their at night. It's okay weather for now, but in another month or so they will need to be in the coop. Winters in Ohio can be pretty harsh from time to time. So, every night I pick them up off of the roost and put them into the coop myself and shut the door. In the morning I open the door and out they all come to start the whole process over again. How do I get these two younger chicks to want to go into the coop for the night? Am I doing something wrong? All advice welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    Jacksonville, FL
    There is two big of a size difference between 2 month olds and 6 months olds. The 2 month olds will continue to be picked on until they are big enough to hold their own.

    You need to find some way of separating the run area so that the young ones aren't constantly being bullied. With just two chicks this should not be hard. I used some 2 x 4 wire to fence in a corner of my existing run when I was mixing age groups. Put food and water in the sectioned off area so that the younger birds don't have to compete with the older ones for food. In doing this, the older ones get to see the younger ones, but don't get to hurt them.

    At night, I suggest you put the younger ones in a large dog carrier or something like that. They need a little more time before being left with the bigger birds. The birds get up very early and will be picking on the younger ones before you have had a chance to stop them. I have enough room in my coop to place the dog carrier in the coop. When I have youngsters, I lock them up in the dog carrier at night for a while. Then I leave the carrier in there, but don't lock the door. The younsters will continue to go to their SAFE space at night, but won't get picked on by the older hens.

    Soon, the youngsters will be old and big enough to hold their own. Then you can start letting them mix with the older hens for short amounts of time.... always allowing them the opportunity to return to their safe areas. When I start letting two age groups mix, I ALWAYS do it out in the open. I do it where the young ones can get away from the older ones. The more space they have, the less violent the establishment of the pecking order is.
     
  3. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2012
    South Central WI
    I would usually suggest leaving the chickens in the coop for a day or two, so they know where to come back to when its dark, but in your situation this is probably not realistic.
     
  4. Popcorn Mcgee

    Popcorn Mcgee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2012
    That is really great advice. MATH ACE, do your younger ones go into the dog carrier in the coop on their own or do you place them in there? I think it will be really easy to alter my coop and run, a 15 x 15' dog run, to fit your guidelines. I am new at this in case you can't tell and I just knew I was doing this wrong after this bullying by the older hens has been going on for a few weeks. Thank you so much for the great advice.
     
  5. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    I have to pick them up and lock them in there the first few nights. Otherwise, they will stay out in the run FAR FAR FAR away from the evil bully hens. Once the chicks figure out that the dog carrier is a safe spot, very safe when you lock them up in it at night, they will go willingly. The older hens will usually leave the dog carrier alone because they like their regular, higher, roosting bars.
     

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