Pecking order problems


9 Years
Aug 13, 2010
I have a pullet that is 6 months old and lays everyday. She is the soul survivor of a little flock I bought in April that we ended up having coon or coyote problems with. I have since bought a batch of 25 Easter Eggers that I stuck in with her when they were about 1 month or 2 old. She has never really liked them, and she is the obvious leader of the group. At first, she would peck at whoever got in her way or general area, and they pretty much stayed clear of her. They all get along pretty well now, and have been together for a few months, however, she (the older pullet) is the only one that sleeps in the chicken house. The Easter Eggers sleep outside in the corner of the pen, huddled up. They get in the chicken house through the day and eat just fine. They sit in the nesting boxes - during the day some times, but never sleep in there. It's starting to get cold, and I'm wondering if they are not smart enough to come in, or if she will not let them. What should I do? I leave the door of the chicken house open so they can all come and go as they please. They really don't seem to antagonize each other any more, but I can't figure out why they would rather sleep out in the cold than the nice nesting boxes with wood chips or even the chicken house floor with straw.
I bet the newbies are intimidated by her.

I would put her (the meanie) in a separate cage for a night or two until the newbies learn to have confidence to go in the coop at night. Once they are in the habit of going in at night, she won't be able to bully them all out.

Whenever I have one chicken that is being a meanie, it works well to separate the jerk out of the flock for a few days. She will feel a bit out of the pecking order when she gets back, and the others will have gained some confidence. You do not want to keep her separate for so long though, that she is a stranger to them when she returns, because they could try to exile her if she is gone for too long (weeks).
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My chickens are finally sleeping in the chicken house! Everyone is getting along(excluding the rooster who is making unwanted advances on everyone), and I did not have to confine the older pullet. For a while now, one of the younger pullets slept in there with the older pullet who is in charge. I wasn't sure why that happened, but maybe she was second in command or something. The weather was the final determining factor. When it got very cold for several nights (below freezing), they finally decided it was time to sleep inside. I found them all yesterday morning roosting on the little lips in front of the nesting boxes. I'm very relieved, except there is more poop to scoop out now. They have more sense than I originally expected. Now if they would just start laying my green eggs! I'm still just getting one brown egg a day from the old broad.
I have one who slept all summer on a lemon tree. When the weather turned too cold and rainy ,she (by herself) moved to the covered shelter.
my original post was posted over a month ago. My young pullets are now 4 1/2 months old. I know Easter Eggers can start laying later than some other breeds, but I'm going to be optimistic that they will lay any day.

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