Pullets Afraid of Hens...not eating!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hokankai, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 13 week pullets (and a cockerel) that were added to my flock of 7 hens. The chicks along with their "foster mother" have kind of formed themselves into their own little flock at this point. As they've gotten older they've gotten more flack from the hens and are now afraid to go into the coop when any of the hens are in there. It's raining outside and they're still just sitting at the end of the run getting wet. They've been in there since they were day olds, and now they're too afraid to assert themselves and get something to eat.

    My concern is that they are not eating enough. I can't put another feeder in there because they're afraid to go inside because they'll get chased out, and I can't have them depending on me to give them their own feeding time and keep the hens away. They eat when I let them out for supervised free range time, but I can't let them out when I don't have time to watch them.

    What do you do about this kind of thing? I feel like the babies are just gonna be hungry until they assert themselves and get some food. They are pretty close in size to the hens now so they can put up a pretty good fight.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  2. juliaaa

    juliaaa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sort of noticed the same thing with ours when we introduced a 6 new ones to our 4. What we did to sort of help out was added a second feeding dish (we first used an old cake pan on a block and then used an old tin cookie container) and filled it up and put it on the other side of the coop. The big ones would go for one and the others would go for one. We had the problem for a while where the hens wouldn't let the pullets inside or more like the pullets were too "chicken" to go inside. For a few days in a row I'd kick the hens out and lock the pullets in and let them eat and whatever. Then after a little while I'd open the door and let them do their thing. It seems to have helped to a point where now they eat in flocks instead of 3 hens eating at one feeder and the other hen being a jerk eating at the other feeder so the pullets couldn't eat...

    I hope you get some better answers from some more experienced people. I just wanted you to know that you weren't alone on the whole thing [​IMG] Good luck!!!!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    People get hung up on the size thing and size is not really that important. With chickens asserting themselves, maturity and the spirit of the chicken is what really counts. In a flock of mature hens, it would not be unusual at all for a bantam hen to dominate over some full sized hens. And it is not that unusual for a bantam rooster to dominate over a full sized rooster. It is the spirit in the chicken that counts a lot more than size.

    13 week old chickens are not going to have the maturity to challenge mature hens. Your young rooster might in the next few wekks, but really don't expect the pullets to for several weeks, regardless of size. The younger chickens will avoid the mature hens because they will get pecked if they invade the older hen's personal space. The older hen is just enforcing her pecking order rights. It has nothing to do with integration. That is something else.

    I suggest you find a way to feed the younger ones in the run. Water also. Find some way to keep the feed dry and put it where it is available to the younger birds. When I have a mixed age flock, I keep at least three feeding stations and two watering stations set up and spread out so the younger ones can get to them. And don't be too surprised if you set up a feeding station in the run that the older hens seem to prefer that one, even if it is the same food. Mine seem to take great pleasure in eating whatever I set up for the young chicks, but as long as there are a few options, the chicks do get to eat.
     
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm I suppose I'll have to try and figure something out then. I don't have a second feeder and our run ceiling is chicken wire, so I don't know how I'm going to set that up and keep it dry [​IMG] . Luckily their water station is in the run already (poultry cup waterer), and there are two cups so they are able to drink if they need to. I haven't seen them chased away from the waterer unless everyone gets thirsty at the same time.

    When is this whole thing going to sort itself out? They roost in the coop with the hens (on the opposite end, of course) and they're eventually going to have to share nest boxes. I do not want to have to deal with civil unrest for the rest of our chicken-keeping experience! [​IMG]
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Another feeding station, another coop/run or find them a new home. Don't think starvation is a viable option. This whole thing will start to sort out once they are as large as the other chickens and can hold their own. The pecking order is a constantly evolving situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens don't care what a feeder looks like. I know some people are in a situation where appearance is important, but that is a people thing. Make or get a waterproof box of some sort, wood, plastic, or metal, with the front open and set a dog bowl in it. It's kind of temporary. They should have this sorted out in another 6 to 8 weeks, though I hesitate to use numbers because each chicken and each flock is different. You really can't tell exactly how any of them will behave, just go for generalities that are true most of the time.
     
  7. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any ideas on how to make something that'll stay dry from the rain? We're planning on putting a roof on the run (well, my dad will be the one doing it) but he's out of town and I am severely challenged in the carpentry department.
     
  8. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Alright, I'll have to rummage through my dad's shop and find something until he gets back.

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  9. KMHunter

    KMHunter [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Cr

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    I used a tarp over my run to keep an area dry for another feed and watering station. I have 3 feeding stations and two watering stations. I integrated my younger ones in around 13-14 weeks and they are now 21-22 weeks and things are fine, but the older ones remind them frequently that they are bottom of the pecking order. My Cockerel still hasn't stood up to them yet. But I can see that coming in the near future. Clear plastic, a small tarp, anything to create a dry area and you can set whatever you use as a feeder on a cynder block or something like that, if you want it off the ground. It's usually only for a little while, like a couple of months, then they all work it out.

    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  10. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Perfect, I'm sure we have a couple tarps laying around and I'll just throw them on the roof. Now I've got to find something big enough to feed all of them since they eat so much now. Actually, I think we might have a big old cat feeder I can use if I can find it. I have no idea where it was shoved after we moved in...time to explore the shop! [​IMG]

    Thanks again
     

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