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Questions about chick behaviors...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sara Ranch, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Sara Ranch

    Sara Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2017
    Some questions about the leghorns (they are 5 weeks old, got them at 3 days old)...

    1. One of my leghorns will lay down with her feet off to a side. Like she was stepped on and that's where the legs ended up. She will get up and move when I enter the chicken area. I couldn't tell her apart from the other 5 leghorns, once she's up and moving. She does not appear to have any movement issues. Or flying issues. And at night, she roosts with the other leghorn chicks as high as they can get.

    Is it normal for the chickens to lay with their feet off to the side instead of under them?

    2. I have two or three leghorns that are antisocial - often. They are in a large space, surrounded by an exercise kennel fence and have 2 branches as roosting bars. Of course, at night, all 6 leghorns are sitting/roosting on top of a box that is taller than the kennel fence. During the day, several of the leghorns will sit on the branch (top one) and keep their backs to the rest of the chickens.

    Is that normal?

    3. I have another leghorn that is antisocial. Or adventurous. She constantly leaves the enclosed area and walks the entire sunroom. She joins the ducks often. She comes up to the door to the house and knocks with her beek. She is the first one to fly up to the kennel fence and patiently wait for me to offer lettuce. She's ahead of the pack when I do "chicken" time. She appears to have NO interest in the other chickens during the day, but will roost with them at night. Lol - or rather, they will roost with HER, wherever she is. This gal starting flying our of her enclosure at 3 days old.

    Is that normal?

    4. The above mentioned adventures gal and one other leghorn come running when I have treats. The other 3-4 chicks will not. They have no interest in treats. Will not get up for them. Don't care for them. If they are already up and moving, they might go after a piece. They appear to be healthy and gaining weight/increasing in size.

    Is that normal, not to be interested in treats?

    5. I have 3 buff orpington (1 gal, 2 roosters) and 3 austrolops sharing the same space with the leghorns. These guys all step on each other and sleep on each other. I have never seen such a scaredy group! They do this when I go into their space and at night. I got them when they were 2 weeks old. Their previous living conditions were not very good. Here they have space to run around, natural daylight all day, food, water, and love.

    They are now 6 weeks old.

    Is it normal that they pile up on each other, step on each other, dig to the bottom of the pile, and seriously huddle together?

    Is this a sign that they were severely traumatized when they were in the first home?

    Is there anything I can do to help them be less scared?

    6. I started doing "chicken" time with them. I open up their space and I sit on the steps with lettuce. They LOVE lettuce. My thinking was to get them comfortable with me... one of the leghorns, often two of the leghorns, come running over to me and will eat the lettuce from my hands. The buffs are often willing to do the same, but it's usually the two roosters that do it with the girl being a little afraid to push her way to the front. If no one else is around, she will come forward and eat from my hand. Ya know, take a bite and run. Venture back, if no one else is on the steps, she'll come up, snatch a piece of lettuce, and run. Only one of the astrolops will come up and eat. The other two wait for someone to drop a piece away from me..or they chase someone with a piece of lettuce.


    7. At what point will my roosters start being protective of the hens? Initially, when I introduced the 2 week old chicks to my 1 week old chicks, the guys would separate into two piles with a rooster in each pile. Now, forget. My leghorns want nothing to do with the roosters. And the darn roosters are scaredy's as well.

    8. One of my astrolops -- she has all the signs of being a girl and she's 6 weeks old - did a very soft, cock-a-doodle-do. Seriously. It was clear as day! My roosters don't talk. They don't chirp. They don't crow. They are silent, except for the one that SNORES! Is my girl confused about her gender???? Or can chicks really crow?

    Thanks for all the feedback. I've read as much as I can, but haven't found answers to the above questions.

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    1. Normal. My girls will sunbathe with their legs to the side.
    2. Probably normal. My girls usually do not roost during the day, but I have one who likes to get up high on any perch possible.
    3. Normal. Some are more adventurous and curious than others!
    4. Normal. Your flock is still very young. It takes them awhile to get totally comfortable with running toward a human.
    5. Normal. I had 10 weeks olds once that slept in a pig pile! They will grow out of it.
    6. Normal. Some will be more scared than others. One of mine never got used to me 'til the day she died, whereas most eventually warm up and will eat out of my hands.
    7. It will take him several months. Mine probably didn't start being protective until 4 months. The hens bullied him for awhile.
    8. 5 weeks is still very young to be hearing any crowing from the roosters. I wouldn't worry that they aren't speaking yet. I haven't ever had a female crow, so my guess would be that she is a he.
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  3. Sara Ranch

    Sara Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2017
    Thank you for your reply!

    2. The roosting during the daytime surprised me, but I wasn't worried about it. The antisocial behavior was a bit concerning.

    8. I wasn't worried that the roosters were quiet. What surprised me was the girl doing a very soft crow. I have read that some girls will crow, but never get the volume that the boys do. I think boys start getting their voice about 6 months old.

    I am so blessed that none of the chicks pick on each other. The ducks, in the next area over, are fine with my adventurous leghorn (Flyer) and tolerate her and Fluffy, who are regular visitors. They do NOT like any of my other chicks visiting.

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    Oh I see! Not sure about the antisocial thing. My roosters started crowing around 11 weeks (and he never stopped haha). I have never had a girl crow! That is good hat the ducks don't mind!
  5. ChickenFajita6

    ChickenFajita6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2017
    I can only comment on #5. I've had my chicks since 3 days old, they are 12 weeks now. They STILL sleep in a big pile. They've been in a coop for a month now and show no interest in sleeping on the roost bar. They like the far back corner, and they fight for who gets to be up in the tightest little spot of the corner. Little weirdos, lol.
  6. Sara Ranch

    Sara Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2017
    During the day, my austrolorps (sp - I really need to learn how to spell their breed) and buffs will try to get on the two branches or on the kennel fence during the day. It's just at night they stockpile in the corner and fight for who can be on the bottom of the pile. The leghorns take all the best roosting spots at night and day. Lol. Maybe they will grow out of it.
  7. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Great questions! I can tell you are really observing your flock well.:thumbsup

    Here's a little bit of my personal insight. I agree with what has been stated above also. :)

    1.) Laying with their legs outstretched is a common sunbathing pose. Or they might just do this to relax or keep themselves cool on a hot day. As long as your bird is walking normally and otherwise acting fine, then there is no need to worry.

    2.) Are the leghorns acting odd health wise? Chickens who are sick will often isolate themselves. But, it's not uncommon for leghorns, especially, to be independent and off doing their own thing. Several of my hens will roost during the day also, so as long as yours aren't constantly roosting and acting weird in other ways, then they should be fine. Another thing to consider would be that they are being bullied by another chicken and are roosting to escape...

    3.) Very normal, indeed. Most flocks have a "loner" bird.

    4.) Something unique I remember observing in my flock when they were youngsters was the fact that they never were too interested in treats either. It took them until they were pretty much adults to enjoy table scraps. So, I would, again, say there is no need to worry as long as they are still eating their normal food.

    5.) That was another odd thing I noticed my girls doing too. During their first couple weeks in their big chicken coop, they would pile on top of each other too. It is most likely because they were used to being in a small space were they could cuddle. When they were introduced to the large coop, they were overwhelmed with the spacious area and continued to do what they were used to: snuggle up and be as close together as possible. Like @IZZYBELLA said, they will most likely grow out of it.

    6.) There are two main reasons your bird is doing this: One, she is scared of you and very shy. Two, she is lower in the pecking order and is cautious to approach and eat the food for fear of being attacked and chased off by the others.

    7.) I can't accurately answer this because I have never owned a rooster... :/

    8.) I had a hen one time who crowed also. She laid eggs and was OBVIOUSLY a girl but still crowed. We had to get rid of her because we can't own roosters.:lol::rolleyes:

    Hope this helps. :)
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 7, 2012
    What has you convinced that the crowing Australorpe is a cockrel? If he's crowing, and sometimes they do start crowing early... my bet is that he is a he. My 8 week old cockrels are crowing now. All other behaviors you've mentioned are normal. Enjoy!!!
  9. Sara Ranch

    Sara Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2017
    I am confident that my crowing Australorpe is a girl, not a boy. I was just shocked to hear her crow when my two boy buffs don't make any sounds (except for the one that snores!). I had read on the internet (other places) that girls can crow, but not as loudly or as often as boys. So many people on this site share their experiences and wonderful advice, I thought I would ask here for more information. :)

    And yes, I really do have a rooster that snores. He sleeps standing up during the day sometimes, with his head tucked under his wing. When he starts snoring, the other chickens all run away from him. He's by himself and he's definitely producing the noise. Lol - of course, the wise chicken masters on here may tell me it's something else. Like he's practicing his crowing in secret. Or some other chicken is a very good ventriloquist.

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