Runt Chickens Just Need A Little TLC

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by RyanAndMeri, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. RyanAndMeri

    RyanAndMeri In the Brooder

    Sep 10, 2007
    My wife and I have a small flock of Buff Orpington's which are doing very well. They're laying like crazy at 6 months and the best part is, we haven't lost any. We had two hens which were being pecked to death. But with a little intervention they're both doing very well now even after being reintroduced back into the flock.

    For a while we thought we'd lose little Bright-Eyes. She wouldn't eat in fear of being pecked. She had a mate that seemed to stand up for her (who we named Pantaloones because she looks like she's wearing funny pants,) and in just one afternoon Pantaloones had all her tail feathers pecked clean. We were upset. She was bleeding and miserable and so we separated her from the others. Then immediately after she was out of the pen, the chickens turned on Bright-Eyes, so we put her in with Pantaloones.

    I'm so glad we did that. With them out of the picture the hens stopped their aggressive behavior (keeping the lights dim helped too) and little bright-eyes and pantaloones formed a strong bond with each other. Anywhere Pantaloones went, Bright-Eyes would follow. They loved being held, and often would fall asleep on my shoulder or lap. They would coo and make very pretty whisper-quiet noises too, and they have an amazing range of tones they can use and it was rare but wonderful to hear their peacefull little chatter... however if I happened to move while they were in their comfort-zone they could get tempermental! Bright-Eyes would peck me in frustration if I moved a couple times and interrupted her beauty sleep. Pantaloones was more tolerant.

    My wife and I wondered why Bright-Eyes was always getting picked on the most, but I think we figured it out when we gave her a worm to eat. She was so excited she held it in her beak and for 15 minutes ran around squaking in excitement! The funny thing was, she was just outside the pen of the other hens and she was pacing, squaking, and showing off her worm to them! It made them so agitated that they honked and tried to get through the netting to get to her and her little treat. One hen finally got out of the pen and I thought "oh no she's going to have her worm stolen" - but little Bright-Eyes just gulped it down before the hen could touch it. If you've ever seen a kid play keep-away while saying "nya-nya, look what I've got" ... well that was our little Bright-Eyes. No wonder they picked on her, she's a little stinker [​IMG]

    After being separated for almost one month, we put them in with the other hens. They quickly established a pecking order (with them on the bottom again) but no more blood was being drawn and after a couple days they were fully integrated into the flock. She's still smaller than all the other hens but she's very happy and a great layer and she is one of a few that still love to be picked up and held.

    Don't give up on your twerp chickens [​IMG]
  2. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Good advice. Glad you found a resolution and all are happy.
  3. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Don't give up on your twerp chickens


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