Some weird stuff for a new chicken owner...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dldolan, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

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    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    Let me thank you for being patient with these questions up front...!

    I brought home five ladies, all around five months old, to my henhouse and run on Sunday. 2 blue cochins, 1 amerecauna, 1 RIR, 1 light brahma. Hen house is 3 ft off the ground, so has a ladder, and dimension 4 x 6 ft, with 5 ft height to the top of the shelter. run is 18ft x 15 ft, so nice sized, and once they settle in, i'll give them run of the garden and orchard. All girls came from a nice chicken breeder local to me here in Sonoma County, CA. They free ranged during the day and were shut in old horse stalls at night, just so you get background...

    Now for the questions:

    As they are new layers, how often can I expect eggs? I had two without firm shells Monday, four nice eggs yesterday (light pink, green, two light brown--so pretty!) and none this morning!

    The RIR gets in the nest box, and out, in and out...sits for a minute, comes out to see what's up. What's this? Trying to lay but can't quite get there?

    None of the girls will put themselves in the coop for the night. They all tuck in on the storage shelf. I go out, lift them in and onto a roost, and they are happy. Why won't they go in? They come out in the morning! Well, mostly except...

    ...for the Blue Cochins who will not come out once they are in the henhouse! They sat there until noon yesterday when I had my husband bring them out so they could eat and drink. I had to do the same this morning. they just sit on the roost! Once on the ground, they act normally, though. Why won't they come out?

    And lastly, one of the Blue Cochins vomited green stuff on the day I brought them all home (I saw her do it) and now appears to be pooping dark green stinky diaharrea. She is eating and drinking, however. Thoughts? Just the move?

    Thanks to anyone to tackles helping me! I promise i'll learn!! [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DurangoCal

    DurangoCal In the Brooder

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    I can help you with the not getting into the coop problem. At dusk or gloaming go out and put them into the coop yourself. You will have to do this probably no more than 3 evenings. They will get the hint! You'll find it very easy to move them once they are settling for the night. if it were me I wouldn't worry about the ones that don't come out in the morning-they will come out eventually to eat!

    Do you have a roost in your hen house? A 2x4 or closet pole will work great and just make sure it is higher than their nesting boxes. Enjoy your sweet ladies. One good sign is that they are laying for you already. I've heard moves can traumatize or stress them and it takes them time to get back in the rhythm!
     
  3. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

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    Aug 11, 2010
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    Thanks so much! I have moved them all three nights and am fine doing it a few more as long as it's not a permanent deal. I have two roosts in the henhouse and the blues sit on the lower and the skinnier gals on the higher, but then the blues move up after the other gals leave for the morning and just sit there! Goofy.

    Well, as long as they figure it out in a few days, that will be fine. I was worried that maybe my ladder is too steep for those bigger gals...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. sheaviance1

    sheaviance1 Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Tennessee
    From the looks of it, your ladder may be a little steep, but you can put more of the little "steps" on it and that will fix that, or should, that way they can get more traction.
    You definitely came to the right place to learn, these guys are great! You may want to post in the Emergencies section about the vomiting/diarrhea thing though.
     
  5. kylara70

    kylara70 In the Brooder

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    As a new chicken owner I don't have lots of experience, but they definitely take a few days to get the hang of where to go and when. They also may stop laying eggs for a few days (even a couple weeks) so don't freak out. Mine took almost 3 weeks to finally settle into laying regularly again (although it was HOT when I got them). We are even hotter now though and they are laying REGULARLY now, so probably mostly related to stress of the move. Mine were also 5 months and newly laying.

    Be patient, they will learn in time.

    To improve the steepness of the ladder, place a rock or small cement block under the end of it. This will make it easier for them to use it. They will just hop up on the block.
     
  6. briteday

    briteday Songster

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    Everything seems pretty normal, but I would keep an eye on the one with the vomiting and diarrhea. If it doesn't resolve in a day or two, or gets worse...find someone nearby who knows more about chickens. And in the meanwhile post it here on the board for "emergencies/illnesses.

    The RIR (or any chicken) going in and out of the nest is normal. Trying it out, making the bedding "just so", taking her sweet time, doing it her way...all normal.

    Egg production will be inconsistent until they settle down a bit. I've had birds take up to one month to finally get into the swing of things. Most likely you feed different food, the water may be different, etc.

    Almost always you have to put new birds in for the night for a while. They'll learn.

    And keep putting the blues out so they can eat and drink. They may be a bit lower on the pecking order than the other birds you brought home, even from the same flock, so they may be afraid at first to be out with the higher ranking birds.
     
  7. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

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    Good info, everyone! I was happy to come home from work to three eggs! Pink, green and med. brown. And all hens look OK. The RIR is teaching them that I bring treats, so the Americauna actually ate from my hand tonight. I tried leaving the back of the henhouse open, and when I went out at dusk, they were all huddled together on the back ledge of it. Not on the roosts yet, but closer! I moved them up, and closed up shop.

    Probably the stress of move, different feed & water, etc. Am getting some eggs, so they must like it somewhat! I'll try the block idea for the ladder and see if that is better.

    The Americauna seems at the bottom of the pecking order, so don't know why the Blues were still on the roost at noon yesterday, but maybe stress. Thankfully we are having a cool spell, so I don't have to worry about that right now as well.

    Thanks so much!
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    I would ask the person you got them from what she suggests you do about the chicken vomiting and diarhhea. If it has vomited more than once, I would isolate it where you could keep a close watch on it and it wouldn't be bothered by the others. I just re-read your post and I see it is one of the cochins - the ones that don't want to come out of the coop. How are they doing otherwise? Besides eating and drinking, do they move around, scratch for bugs etc, or are one or both lethargic? I am wondering if there is a possibility they are ill and that is why they stay in the coop. Are they nervous or flighty as compared to the other birds. Maybe they are more stressed, as another bycer remarked, they may be on the low end of the pecking order and just afraid to join the others. It's hard to be a new parent.
     
  9. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

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    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    Whew! It is hard to be a new parent! The Blues are now both eating and drinking fine, and the weird poop and vomit has dissappeared. Must have been moving jitters?? I left the back of the henhouse open tonight and they all (five) were where they belonged when I went out! First time! (In the house, on the roosts.) Yippee! Four eggs today, too! I'm so proud. I guess I worried for nothing, but that seemed weird. Thanks again for the help, y'all!!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. DurangoCal

    DurangoCal In the Brooder

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    Durango, Colorado
    Quote:[​IMG] So glad everything has worked out. What beautiful eggs you have!
     

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