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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by unbaked pegga, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. unbaked pegga

    unbaked pegga Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 2 pullets a couple of months ago. I already had 3 grown hens, all Orpingtons. I kept them caged for 2 weeks. Then I let them out with the others (they all free range). At first it was really hairy and I took the garden hose and was trying to micromanage their behavior. All I was doing was driving myself and them crazy. So I just let it be. I won't say everything is hunky dory but it is 100% better than it was. The youngest of the full grown hens give them a run for their money, chasing them mostly, and the new girls are really intimidated by them. At dusk the older ones go to the coop while the newest ones go to the cage. This was fine with me but cold weather will be here before too awful long and they can't stay in the cage. I was hoping they would just start going to the coop with the others but nope, they must be too afraid of them. How should I approach this? Just put them in there one night while they are asleep? (Getting them out of the cage is going to be the biggest challenge because it is a huge cage and they sleep at the very back of it) so any suggestions will be helpful
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How big is the coop (in feet by feet), and how much roost space is there (how long is the roost bar)? Right now they are "homed" to the cage because that's where they started out. Do you have a run attached to your coop? Is the cage in it? If there is enough room in the coop, you might want to remove the cage from the area. It might be enough motivation for them to follow the rest of the hens into the coop.
     
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    You could just place them inside every night, but that can be a big hassle. Another option is to lock them inside the coop for several days, which will teach them where home is.
     
  4. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would let them settle down and get excepted into the flock before forcing them to all sleep in the same coop together, since a chicken coop is quite a small space, if the head chicken decides to attack the newbies they have nowhere to escape. It was a good decision to stand out of the way and let them battle it out themselves, as long as they are not drawing blood from each other.
     
  5. unbaked pegga

    unbaked pegga Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 22, 2014
    Mt Juliet Tn
    The cage is 30.5" tall
    20.5" wide

    The coop is 70" long
    40" wide, this does not include attached 2 large nest boxes
    There are 2 roosts 68" long

    Attached run is 4x6'

    Today is going to be 18 degrees cooler than yesterday so I need to be getting something going. Two of the grown orpingtons sleep in the nest box, they seem to be one on top of the other one. I have noticed that the 2 younger hens are sleeping the same way in the cage even though I have a roost in there. So do you think they might be able to sleep in the other nesting box? Only the alpha hen uses the roost. I appreciate any help
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    You really don't want any birds sleeping in the nesting boxes.....poopy eggs, yuk.
    Gonna be tricky getting them all to sleep in coop, on the roosts.....especially if top hen is not letting(?) any others use the roost.

    Might want to isolate top hen and get the others bonding...maybe...
    .....lots of combo confinements to shake things up might be in order-Chicken Juggling!

    Pretty tight quarters for 5 birds, especially during an integration.
    Anyway to expand the run, put up some 6' 2x4 fencing? Circular pen with a few stakes can do wonders.

    Can you post some pics of your coop, inside and out, and run?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  7. unbaked pegga

    unbaked pegga Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mt Juliet Tn
    The coop is supposed to accommodate 10 chickens, it is really pretty big. I have tried and tried to get The two Orpington's that sleep in the nest box to go on the roost. I have placed them on their time and time again for the last year and a half. I am unable to exert my will over their's. They just will not have it. They squawk and flap their wings in my face. I have never seen them poop in the nest box. And I clean the coop every day. So I will post these three pictures thanks for any help[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Do they get up on roosts at any time?

    Orps are big and kinda clumsy, they may need a ramp.......my big brahmas sure did like one.
    They may be afraid of jumping down in tight quarters.

    Rotating that lower roost to the 'wide side up' might help too....again, something I learn with my big brahmas.
    They were unstable and nervous on the 2x2 that was my nest perch, much happier with a 2x4 wide side up.

    Best way to get them out of the nests and onto the roosts is do it well after dark.
    I wear a head lamp set on low and try to keep it from shining on the bird or anything they can walk on...a red light can help too.
    If they can't see, they won't move much.
    Hold bird with it's wings held against it's body with both your hands, place birds feet firmly on roost and give it a few seconds to get stable,
    then slowly let go of wings and give a firm gentle pat on the back to keep them in place.

    OR.....

    You could cover up the nests a couple hours before roost time, then uncover after dark when you lock up.
    Would be easy to hinge a cover that stored up above while open on your nest bank.
    This forces them to roost somewhere else......
    ......I have to do this for weeks when I have non-laying pullets in the coop.
    It's an extra trip out to the coop, but about bullet proof.

    You have plenty of roost length for all your birds.
    I've seen some folks put a kind of wall up to separate roost length when integrating new birds,
    can help keep lower ranked birds out of the bully birds line if sight.

    If there is no poop in nests, then they aren't sleeping in them...seriously doubt they 'hold it' all night.

    Nice coop, more run room would be really good.
    Where is the feed/water? Multiples of those will really help during integration.

    Love the moon and stars decor...used to have one similar(wonder what happened to that thing?).
     
  9. unbaked pegga

    unbaked pegga Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mt Juliet Tn
    Thank you so much for the reply. Honestly they do not poop in the nest. I usually see it in the run and hose it off when I let them out. There is a droppings tray under the roost. When I check a head count before I lock the coop up, the 2 orps are always in the nest box, always. Now where they go after that I don't know. I occasionally find droppings on the floor of the coop. I am not lying when I tell you they will not break this habit. I don't know if they feel safer when they are one on top of another, maybe like under their mothers wing, but for months and months I have tried the methods you posted. You would not believe the flailing of wings and squawks. It upsets me as much as it does them. I even have a black light that I put in there so as to move them without upsetting them to bad . Twice one of them fell off the roost is soon as I put her up there. One of them is a big girl and I believe she is honestly too big to get up on the the roost. I think it intimidates her because when she was very young she would try to jump up on the roost and fell. The floor is not wide enough to put a ramp on there. I have tried to fashion one but it is too steep and they have no way to get on it. It is very frustrating. I wish I could make that run longer and it looks very straight forward. I don't know if I could do it by myself, and that is what I am, by myself. I have solicited my sons to please help me extend that run and they say they will and they never do. So that is where I am at. I don't know if I should get the black light and manage to get the younger hens and put them in the nest box, and get up before dawn and go out to the coop to see what happens when they realize the population has grown. I don't care if the 2 older hens and the 2 younger hens sleep in the nest box, because I know I will keep everything clean. I can't break the cage down because I have the whole thing covered in hardware cloth but I have some tarp and I could cover it. I know I baby the girls and try to have things run as smoothly. If I had it to do over I wouldn't have gotten the hens. They are still very skittish (they may always be because they were older than a juvenile) but I am attached to them now so I have to figure something out
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    First off, don't stress over the weather. Your two pullets will do just fine with each other in much colder temps than you're getting now. I have broody hens, raising chicks right now, and they each do fine with just themselves and the chicks.

    I'd block off access to the cage. The new girls will fuss and carry on quite a bit when they can't sleep where they're used to, but it's likely they'll follow the older ladies into the coop.

    Or, confine everyone in the run in the evening. Use scratch or treats to get them in there. Lock them in, the younger birds will have nowhere else to go besides the coop.

    Again, they'll likely fuss. This is not hurting them at all. they simply do not like their routine messed with. Let them fuss, they'll be fine. Bedtime with new birds is always a bit of squawking and jockying for position, it's all normal and to be expected. Leave them to it, and I'm thinking in a week or so they'll all be going to be without issues.
     

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