Pecking order gone wrong?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by lala33081, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. I have been raising chickens for three years now, and i currently have 24 birds, 6 different breeds, all separated in different pens. I have 6 buff orpingtons (11 in total, not all laying and/or hens)that are over 8 months, two of which(I raised by hand at home instead of a previous arrangement) are much younger than the other four and were just recently introduced. These two are often harassed and attacked by the others, (i just figured that it is normal pecking order behaviors). one of two younger hens has started to lay eggs but the older birds won't let her near the egg boxes. she has dropped an egg every day this week and it seems that someone is breaking and eating them. (found bits and pieces of broken shells on coop floor) I have already started to remove birds one at a time to figure out where the problem is. Also darkened the room and gave them oyster shells. they have four nesting boxes, the run is 5'x18'-ish and the nesting room is 12'x12'.(measurements are estimation) It worries me because I never got to collect her first egg because of this, and that is something I always look forward to. I'm getting to the point where I've started building another coop for these two. :'(
  2. I kind of worry I may have babied them too much. The laying one of the two named Peep is my favorite of all my birds (except my lavender ameraucanas) and I often take her out of the pen for a break and she follows me around like a puppy. When I lay down in the grass she comes up and tries to cuddle with me.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Deep breath. It's normal for the older hens to pick on the newer, younger birds. They are establishing the group rules, and until the younger ones start living by the rules set by the older girls, things are going to be rough. Constantly adding and removing the older ones will only further destabilize the group. Let them do their 'job'.
    The second issue of a new layer, laying eggs everywhere but in the nest is normal. It can take weeks or even months for newly laying pullets to get the hang of laying and have all the parts of the egg laying system working in coordination. Give her time.
    However, another issue I notice is that the you have 11 total together in a 5x18 run. That's too crowded. It's much too crowded. Crowding can lead to stress. Being kept in a small run with no forage leads to boredom. Stress plus boredom makes for a very unpleasant situation. Bullying can start. And if things are done to remedy the situation (more space, less birds, and giving them lots of things to do), things escalate quickly.
    2 people like this.
  4. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    x2 on junebuggena. The pecking order isn't a lot of fun to watch but unless blood is being shed, it's best not to interfere.

    Thanks for joining us, hope thing smooth out for you soon.
  5. Thank you, this is the first time I've put birds together that weren't raised together. I understand that this is the natural order, but it still hurts to watch. Oh, and my 11 buffs are broken up into two pens at the moment because 5 of them are only 6 week old. Thank you again, I just needed reassurance.
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  7. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    [​IMG] I wouldn't add them together until they are the same size, that can help too. Good luck to you.
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture

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