Successfully integrated two flocks...just one problem...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by haemony, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. haemony

    haemony Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2011
    WV
    I just spent the past few weeks merging two flocks with success but the nebies had started laying early, before we could let them free range with the other
    birds and start merging. We had to add a nesting box to their small transition/brooding house. It's just a summer house to raise them in until they could be
    moved. Now it is the only box they will use. I meant to merge them before they started laying but they started early and then my main flock came down ill.

    The larger flock had to be medicated and then quarantined for awhile. That left about four weeks of the new birds laying in the temporary house so they
    developed that habit and now I can't break them of it. When the other flock was healthy, I just took the fence down that divided their pasture from the
    upper garden and let them all get used to each other. They actually pretty much merged themselves. The newbies started going to bed in the big coop on
    their own. They checked it out and seemed to want to live in there so it was no problem. They were willing to get pecked and beat up a few times.

    Now the birds are all merged into the big coop and house. The smaller flock ranges with the other birds and go in their new house like clockwork just like
    they've always been there. They go in the run when in rains or there is a hawk about. Everyone gets along fine. Pecking order is all worked out.

    However!

    They will not lay their eggs in the new house. The three of them scream to be let out in the morning so they can lay their eggs in the little hen house up the
    hill. I do mean they literally freak out and throw themselves at the hardware cloth and cry and scream. I have tried to leave them locked up in there hoping they
    will just use the nesting boxes in their new house but I worried that they would injure themselves. They just hold the eggs and whine and cry until I let them
    out. Then they beeline up the hill straight for the old house. The other birds have now learned to scream and cry to be let out when they previously could be
    kept in the run until afternoon and two of them have also started laying in the training house!

    The newbies were always checking out the nest boxes when they were introduced to their new home. They would play house in the boxes and try out the
    perches. I know they know what they are for. They see the other birds have eggs in there but they won't use them. I have even repeatedly carried them
    down the hill from the old box and placed them in there but they run out right away and back up the hill. [​IMG]

    DH keeps shutting it up so they can't get in. Oh the drama and then they run around screaming and one of them jumps up and lay on top of the nest box
    and lays her egg on the roof. Then the egg rolls off. It's ridiculous! I couldn't even believe it.

    Any ideas?

    Sorry, my post was way too long and detailed. I edited it to clean it up to the basics. No one needs to read a novella about my chicken problems!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you move that nesting box to the big coop? Maybe it would make them feel more comfortable laying there.
     
  3. laughing man

    laughing man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    westfield mass
    i have no clue what you should do
     
  4. haemony

    haemony Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2011
    WV
    Quote:It's kind of attached to the side with a lid that lifts up. DH has suggested just removing it. I suppose we could remove it and then somehow put it in
    their new house or run. Would they recognize it in detached form? Hmm. That's something to try. It really shouldn't have a nesting box on it anyway.
    Thanks. We use the little house to quarantine and then introduce new birds.
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    If you can remove it, I'd try that. If not or it doesn't work and the hens still want in the little house, then I'd lock them in their big coop until they give up and lay their egg. Chickens hate change, so it's hard to stop something once they get used to it.
     

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