Ruling the Roost/Solved

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gjamesi, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. gjamesi

    gjamesi Out Of The Brooder

    Several months ago I was gifted an 11 weekamericana rooster because they can't have roosters in Victoria,a hen came along to keep company. I found 2 jersey giant pullets a little younger so the rooster wouldn't be so hard on the one hen. Chicken math kicked in and I was rescuing hens that had quit laying. I now have 2 coops and runs,each with it's own rooster. My problem is that in the first coop the original 3 young pullets won't let anyone else up on the roosts, not even the rooster. I've tried moving them off the roosts, to another coop, even into a tractor but they keep trying to get back to their original coop to the point they get cut up by the chicken wire,the americana is the worst as she was always skitish. What can I do ? I don't mind getting rid of the americana hen but where I thought the other 2 were austrolorps I was going to eat,the girl I got them from who said no they are jersey giants.Since one of my roosters is also a Jersey giant I have to keep them. Confused....
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Dominant chickens get the best roosts, lower ranking members must roost elsewhere, that's why there should be multiple places to roost, chickens like things the same, so of course they won't stay anywhere else except where they are used to, it's kinda like someone taking you out of your bedroom and putting you in another room of your house, you would want to go back to your bedroom as well. You can't just move them an expect them to be happy there.

    If you have too many chickens for your setup you should lower the numbers or increase the size of your coops.
  3. gjamesi

    gjamesi Out Of The Brooder

    It's a 4'x8'x4'coop with two roost.Once those three get up there they keep everyone else off,and they aren't the dominant hens in the yard. Mind you my most dominant hen decided on the other rooster and switched coops. I free range both coops and the roosters take turns.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sounds like you threw a lot of chicken together with out any integration/introduction plans.....
    .....not even sure how many birds you have.

    Once a bird is 'homed' to a coop, it is their territory and they don't want any other birds in 'their' space.
    The 'pecking order' is usually based on territorial seniority.

    You could leave it go and let them work it out, which eventually they will, or you could manage it yourself with some forethought as to where you want each bird to 'live'.

    Make sure your enclosures are secure and safe, so they don't get hurt on stray wires trying to get out or in.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    1 person likes this.
  5. gjamesi

    gjamesi Out Of The Brooder

    There's 7 hens and one rooster with a total of 16' of roost poles. The 3 youngsters came first and the rooster and4 2 year old layers were added about a month later, the three won't let anyone else up.

    After hours of searching I found a post mentioning they put a divider up on the roost, worth a try.

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