Second year with chickens


Dec 25, 2020
Cadillac, MI
This is my second year having chicken on my property. I bought the large red chicken coop from Tractor Supply and added a 12' X 18' plastic covered hoop house over it to give them a protected area from the snow int he winter ou here in Northern MI. I started with 6 hens, 3 Buff Orpingtons and 3 Rhode Island Reds. They free range within a small fruit tree orchard surrounded by an electric net fence. Things were going well until one evening as I was shutting up the coop, I noticed 2 birds missing..1 red and 1 Buffy. I found the Buffy out int he orchard pretty well beat up. Never found the red. I suspect an aerial attack and that the buff fought with it. I moved her into the coop and I had always heard that hens will pick on an injured bird and eventually kill it. That didn't happen here. The rest of the flock became very protective and got between me and the buff every time I went in to check one her. She has fully recovered now but the trauma has left us with a very small number of eggs each day. One surviving red is laying, but the rest are only laying occasionally. Finding this Forum was the result of a search to find out how to correct this trauma. I have been spending more time with the birds lately and will continue to do so. I've read the thread on this subject and will see what I can do to improve the egg laying. I intended to add 6 more hens to the flock this spring and that should help.
Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
I agree with Sour about the shortened days and the age of your flock.
I would build a much larger coop before expanding your flock. The prefabs are always far overestimated for the number of birds they can house. In snow country you should shoot for 4 sq ft of coop space per bird minimum. When you integrate new birds into an existing flock, you need lots and lots of space. Flock integration can get ugly without enough resources.
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Welcome to BYC!!
Chickens will take a break in their laying in the winter season, this is perfectly normal.
Before adding more flock members, your coop will need to be remodeled to give more room for the chickens. If you can't remodel or build a bigger coop, you can sell, eat, trade the others ones... I personally don't eat my chickens but some people do.
Hello from Nova Scotia and welcome to BYC! You’ve joined a great and resourceful community! Enjoy your journey and Merry Christmas!! 🎄

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