Thinned the flock, remaining chickens are hanging out in the coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by leddy, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband and I live in the city. We inherited 7 beautiful chickens that are just about 9months old. After having all 7 of them for four months, we realized that 7 is just too many! We were able to find 3 of our girls a home out in the country with a woman who has 50 acres, 10 of which is reserved for her flock to forage on at their will. The three that were re-homed were at the bottom of the pecking order except for one, which I would say she was about 2nd or 3rd in the entire flock's order. We are now left with 4 chickens who are acting sort of strange. They are hanging out in the coop rather than coming out into the run like they normally do. Is this just them adjusting since the flock changed so drasically from 7 to 4? I just want to make sure my remaining girls are ok!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You really never know with chickens why they behave the way they do sometimes. Yes, I believe it's possible the remaining four are a bit off balance with the sudden decline in their numbers. Perhaps you re-homed a few key ranking members in their pecking order, and now the ones remaining are at a loss for leadership and direction.

    They will adjust in no time. But don't be surprised if you see a bit of conflict in the near future as they hold votes for new leadership. It would be completely normal.
     
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  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that you can't know for sure why they're acting this way, but one possibility is that perceive the loss of 3 flock members as the action of an unknown predator, and they are now sticking close to home to remain safe. I've seen this reaction in my flock after both successful and unsuccessful predation attempts on the flock by hawks. They remain in the coop or huddled under the bushes in anticipation that they might be next. Usually it would take several days before they would venture back out into areas that they had free-ranged in previously.

    I suspect within a couple of days, they'll be back to using their run.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
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  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    That though occurred to me, that they may be thinking a predator got the missing members. But I thought they'd actually need to witness the predator attack to be traumatized in that fashion, if that's why they're wanting to stay cooped up.

    Maybe predator instincts are so strong in chickens, they don't actually need to see the predator to think one has been there. Aren't chickens interesting?
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Give them a week or so, they'll establish a new order(and yes, there may be some squabbles) and resume the usual chickeny activities.

    ETA: Oh and good on ya for realizing when too many is too many for space available!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If half my family just up and vanished I'd probably hang close to home for awhile, too! Seriously, they're simply adjusting, give it a few weeks and they'll be back to normal.
     
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  7. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2014
    NW Oregon
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    Thanks everyone! I'm sure they are just adjusting and their natural "chicken sensies" are kicking in. My husband picked up some heads up cabbage to give them today and I'll make flock blocks tonight to help them feel more comfortable again - and they are always oh, so happy for healthy treats! On a side note, it's amazing how much more manageable 4 is compared to 7! We had enough space, just not enough time to properly care for all of them since we both work full time - usually a lot of over time as well. It was sad to see the other three go, but I know they must be enjoying all that acreage to run around in! - PLUS, we have visiting rights whenever we'd like to visit our other girls.

    Thanks again! [​IMG]
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh well...Don't see how 7 chickens in the same coop take more time......few more turds to clean up,but other than that.....<shrug>
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    When you double the amount of chicken poop, it can seem like a lot. Same as halving it suddenly, you might feel liberated!

    I always seem to forget that one salient detail whenever I go in for four or five new chicks. Later I wonder where all the extra poop came from.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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