Roost fighting and chaos

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EllieW, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. EllieW

    EllieW Out Of The Brooder

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    Every night. They act like they hate each other. All raised together. One wants the entire top roost to herself, moves back and forth to peck on anyone who dares be on the top roost. Then the one she pecks turns right around and pecks someone else. I get it that it's chicken behavior. I have seen you tubes of roosting chicken shoulder/wing to shoulder/wing, packed like sardines. Why can't I get some well behaved chickens like that? Any ideas to minimize it a little?
     
  2. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some ideas, maybe they will help maybe not. They could be overcrowded it could be a feisty breed of chicken it could be that one of your shes is actually a he. Hard to say for sure with so little information. My jersey giants jostled and competed for the best roosting spot for almost 2 weeks before sorting themselves out in the new coop.
     
  3. EllieW

    EllieW Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, chicken chaser 9--sorry I didn't give more info. Nope, only one rooster and he's mellow and doesn't get involved in the pecking. The rest are 18 hens, the biggest offenders are 4 New Hampshires and 5 Black Stars, who have been laying for 6 months and just seem to be ornery on the roosts. That said, you may have something about the breed, especially the Black Stars. They are still pecking me if I try to gather eggs before they are off the nests. Definitely not crowded. They have 5 roosts of 8 feet so when all are up, there is lots of room.

    I wouldn't care but this time of year it's past time when I want to be in bed by time they get in there and the shuffling and knocking each other off the roosts and general nastiness slows down my bed time. Lol, you've heard the saying, "going to bed with the chickens" that's me.

    So maybe I need to get rid of the Black Stars. They are not very mellow. I'd actually prefer to teach them some manners, like, just get along! I need their eggs right now.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What you describe isn’t that strange. Mine are most brutal to each other at bedtime, jostling around and pecking lower ranked chickens, sometimes pretty brutally. From what I’ve seen it’s almost always hens, not the rooster. It is a dominance - pecking order thing.

    As long as no one is getting hurt I don’t consider it a big deal. I’m not sure how that is affecting your bedtime, but that is your business. Instead of treating all your Black Stars equally, try an experiment. Put the offending chicken in time out. Lock her in a dog crate or something, in or out of the coop, and see what happens with her out of the picture. I find there is a lot of differences in personality in individual chickens of the same breed or in her case crosses since Black Stars are not a breed. You may find you can solve a whole lot of your problem with one hen and not affect egg production that much.

    Good luck! But don’t expect the problem to totally ever go away. Any of them can get cranky at bedtime until the lights go out.
     
  5. EllieW

    EllieW Out Of The Brooder

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    Good idea to try penning the most senior and problematic hen...thanks! Can't hurt, might settle things down.
     
  6. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have the same nightly ritual here.
    They peck each other, hop on and off the roost bars, chicken swear at each other.....
    They sort it out usually in 30 minutes. Then, when you look in the windows, it's like nothing ever happened.

    OP, that's one thing I won't do is collect eggs while my hens are still sitting.
    I learned the hard way when I was about 5 years old. I got the top of my hand mangled by the head hen.
     
  7. EllieW

    EllieW Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, nice to know it isn't just my spoiled bratty girls! That last half hour is hard on me since they can't seem to find their way back to the roost in the dark. Not that I blame them for that. But that cuts into my sleep.

    While not a total deal breaker, I really like chickens who allow me to collect eggs while they're still on the nest. I even have one who lifts up to allow it. Bless her. And my leghorns are very tolerant of that. But not those Black STars. I have the bruises to prove it. When the new chicks are laying about Dec, Black Stars will be sold. Just my coop, my rules, lol!
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Breed and individual temperament dictate behaviors, and you also will get interpersonality conflicts, too, at roosting time.

    I've installed a couple of drop-down dividers stapled over the perch that can be kept hooked up out of the way when everyone is getting along, and dropped when a squabble is going on.

    Sometimes the divider curtain gets dropped by the two squabbling chickens unhooking it as they flap an fluster, instantly squelching the flareup. Convenient when that happens.

    I staple heavy canvas or Naugahyde squares to the overhead panel with a ring threaded through the bottom edge so it can be hooked up out of the way. I've also fitted old plastic tote lids to the perch to create partitions to keep battling hens on either side and unable to get a good fight going.
     
  9. EllieW

    EllieW Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for this idea Azygous! I think I can do partitions and will try it!
     

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