Question for the Small Flock tenders

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheSpiceGirls, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The short version is, my BO bullies my three babies when they try to go into the hen house to roost. The babies have their own separate roost from the two adults. Beak clipping and peepers are not an option.

    I'd be willing to separate the BO for a period of time. But do I pull her out 24/7 for 4-5 days? Or can I just pull her out in the evenings so that bedtime goes smoothly for the babies and then put the BO back out in the morning? Or what other suggestions do you have?

    Here's the more detailed version. The two adults, BO and JG are 1.5 years old. The JG is the alpha. The BO was bullied by my EE and I just didn't realize how bad it was or what an impact it had on her and finally gave the EE away about 6 months ago. Since then, the JG and BO are all good and life is good at my house.

    But I wanted 4 hens. So last fall, I bought 4 more BO chicks and raised them. My hope was to keep the two who worked best with the others and give away/sell the other two. But we lost one after a week. And then there were three. And these three BO's are a tight bunch. They adore each other and I can't bring myself to get rid of one and break up the trio.

    So I modified my little hen house to add more roosting space, there's the existing 3' bar where the adults sleep and then a separate 3' bar for the babies. I have three full nest boxes and live in CA where the weather is mild and I really think it will work despite the house only being 3' by 4'.

    Introducing the babies to the adults was tough. Surprisingly, the JG accepted them pretty quickly. The but BO has gone after them from day one. Never to their face. Always to their tail. She's scared of them and doesn't ever want to be the bottom of the pecking order again. I get that.

    But the babies are now 17 weeks old and nearly as big as the BO and we've worked through all the other integration issues except getting my BO to leave them alone when everyone tries to go to bed. The babies are terrified to go into the house at night so each night I have to go out there and run interference and it's getting old.

    I'm thinking of removing the BO bully for a time but do I remove her just at dusk and for the night and put her back in the morning? Or remove her completely for 4-5 days and then try introducing her? I don't want to cause other problems by doing that. And seeing her alone in the garage for those days will break my heart.

    Looking for advice/suggestions from other small flock owners. I've read the online suggestions and books but tucking them into the house after dark DOES NOT WORK when you only have two hens. They KNOW something's up and are not buying it.

    I've even considered buying a bigger hen house but I don't think that will solve this issue of the BO pecking when she comes into the house.
     
  2. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Someone's got to have something for me? I'm desperate here. I'm really ready to pull the plug on this whole chicken thing.
     
  3. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would try taking the hen out for a day or two. I don't think it needs to be that long, just long enough that she will have to re establish herself.
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I would be inclined to remove the 'bully' hen for a longer period of time - at least a week. That might give the pullets enough time to regain their confidence. Realize in all of this that the end result might be that the three of them start attacking the 'bully'. It's the pecking order.
     
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I was going to remove her last night and just couldn't do it. She looks so sad and forlorn.

    Instead, I put my hand under her breast and PUT her up on her roosting bar. And she stayed up there. The babies could go to bed w/ out her pecking at them. So maybe I try that for a week and see if that breaks her naughty habit of pecking at them.
     

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