What would you do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheSpiceGirls, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    I need some advice from others who have been here.

    I have three hens, a JG, an EE and a BO. The BO is my FAVORITE and she's at the bottom of the pecking order. When I'm around, I seem to do a good job keeping the peace. But just returned from a week vacation and found that the other two started pecking at the BO and pulling out feathers. I think they were frustrated because the chicken sitter didn't let them out of their run which I usually do. Their run is 20' by 14' so it's not like they live in tight quarters. But they certainly enjoy getting out into the larger garden when they can. They have logs to perch on, a seed block to peck at, and a treat ball I fill w/ seeds, etc. So they have things to amuse them during the day. The EE is the instigator. She always has been.

    As we head into daylight savings, they are going to be cooped up in their run M-F and I won't let them out when I'm not out there because hawks are a real issue. I can't deal w/ the EE picking on my BO.

    I can set up a temporary pen in the garage for the EE and isolate her for a week and try to reset the pecking order. But does that really work w/ just three hens?

    I tried to get a pinless peeper on her this morning and couldn't do it. She's too feisty and was just FREAKING out and I don't want to hurt her.

    Or do I punt and give her away. I know she'll be in for a rough time being a single hen trying to integrate into a new flock. But it would probably allow the JG to bond better w/ the BO since it would just be the two of them. And then next spring I can add two new chickens to the group. Ideally, the BO would go broody and I can give her two chicks to raise.

    What would you do?
     
  2. hmmcc123

    hmmcc123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    University Place, WA
    That is tough. I have a 2 BO's and and a few Easter Eggers (along with some other chicken breeds for a total of 10 hens) and my BO's are close, if not the bottom, of the pecking order. We also have an instigator EE like you. She can be a complete pain, she even tries to pecking order us and we have to peck her back with our finger or sometimes when she is really fiesty, I have to pin her down and really show her who is boss. The thing is, someone aways has to be at the bottom, which sucks. We started with one BO and I felt bad for her because she was at the bottom and always seemed lonely. We picked up another BO friend. It's tough with BO's because they are SO sweet and docile compared to other chicken breeds so I know how you are feeling. To be honest, if that EE hen is bugging you, get rid of her because my guess is, she will always be that way to the BO. She does it because she knows she is just one away from the bottom and she doesn't want to loose her 2nd place spot. When you add to your flock, I would get another BO and consider some Black Australorps. Ours are pretty sweet to her and see to get along rather well. Ultimately, just go with your gut. It will work out in the end. [​IMG]
     
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:THANK YOU. I'm leaning towards giving the EE away. And I would DEFINITELY get another BO. If I give away the EE, I'll have room for two more so I could get two more BO's or a BO and a Barred Rocks or an Astralorp.
    It's so tough to give her away. I feel like I'm being a bad parent. But I can't be here every day to discipline her so I think your advice is good.

    And hopefully, the BO will bond more w/ the Jersey Giant who's usually pretty sweet to her.
     
  4. hmmcc123

    hmmcc123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    University Place, WA
    Quote:THANK YOU. I'm leaning towards giving the EE away. And I would DEFINITELY get another BO. If I give away the EE, I'll have room for two more so I could get two more BO's or a BO and a Barred Rocks or an Astralorp.
    It's so tough to give her away. I feel like I'm being a bad parent. But I can't be here every day to discipline her so I think your advice is good.

    And hopefully, the BO will bond more w/ the Jersey Giant who's usually pretty sweet to her.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Oh, gosh. I have to do something in a hurry. Since I just have the three I can monitor them more closely. I have sand in my hen house and I scoop up the droppings each morning. There were hardly any under the BO. She's not getting enough to eat. I'm just sick about this whole thing.
     
  6. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    I've had a somewhat similar situation. I have three hens and the Araucana was bullying the EE constantly. Has already injured her twice. I tried the pinless peeper on the bully, but she immediately shook it off. Waited five minutes and tried again; she kicked it off (!) Both times, I had her wrapped in a towel, with my DH holding her tight, and I used just my hands to put the peeper on. I had soaked it in hot water first to soften it up a bit so that I was able to spread the peeper open enough to apply it to the chicken's nostrils. However, I'm thinking that maybe it was easy to shake off and kick off because it was TOO soft and pliable.

    So, after a few days, I went to the hardware store and bought a snap ring plier and applied the peeper using that tool. Did NOT soften the peeper up first. DH wrapped her up and held her under one arm and held her beak firmly with his other hand. The plier put the peeper on easy as pie. And it's been on despite her attempts to shake it off or kick it off.

    Truth is, she stopped fussing at it after just a minute or two. Adjusted to walking around and finding her way around in just a few minutes. She's had it on for about one week now and SHE HAS NOT BULLIED OR PECKED OR BOTHERED THE LITTLE EE AT ALL.

    My third hen, the big black Marans, who has always been the Alpha hen (and the bully's best friend) did not like the look of the peeper at all and pecked at the Araucana a few times just cause she looked so strange, I think. But she's stopped that now. One big good change is that the little EE who always had to sleep alone off to the side of the roost, is now sleeping cuddled up to the Alpha Marans. And the Araucana is the one sleeping alone. I'm glad.

    I'm now facing a whole new kettle of fish. Two days ago, I got two BIG Delaware hens from a friend that's moving out of state and can't take them with her. She also gave me her little two-hen coop. I put all five chickens together yesterday to free range in my big grassy backyard and the Delawares towered over my old threesome. The Delawares pecked my three away from the food and the water and the dustbath hollow and the treat pan. OY !!!

    So now I'm faced with a dilemma. Should I put peepers on the two Delawares and allow them to live in my big ChickArena setup of coop and run and not use the new little coop at all?

    OR should I modify the little coop and install it in the yard with a new apron of buried welded wire? That would require running a whole new electric cord for a cookie tin heater for the water in winter and also I'd have to split the yard in two so that the two flocks could free range at the same time without being able to bother each other.

    Or instead of halving the yard, I could simply let one group out at a time to free range for a few hours without the other group.

    Or I could try installing a divider fence inside my big run and put the new little coop inside the sectioned off part. (I'd still need another cookie tin water heater.)

    My ChickArena is 9x15 feet. Completely enclosed on all four sides and ceiling with welded wire. Roofed over with clear plastic corrugated panels. With winter coming on, I installed heavy clear tarps on the outside of the four walls last week. That keeps the wind out. Plenty of ventilation, because the roof is raised high off and above the wire ceiling. Have done this for the past two winters. Works great.

    My coop is a Little Tykes kids' playhouse that's freestanding in the middle of the ChickArena. Because the ChickArena is completely enclosed and predator proof and covered overhead from rain and snow, the whole 9 x 15 foot space could actually be called the coop. So there's plenty of space for all five chickens to live together. There's about six feet of roost board in the playhouse (three feet long on one side of the playhouse and then it joins the three-foot roostboard that's on the back wall of the playhouse.)

    See the photo below. If I move the new little two-hen coop into the ChickArena, I'd remove that wooden storage table from the ChickArena.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Bay Area, CA
    Quote:Hmmm, Maybe I need to really give the peeper a chance. Maybe I can find someone local who can help me put the thing on cuz my DH and I are just freaked out about it. And something has to give. And people seem to swear by them.

    I'm sorry that you too are dealing with bully issues. Gosh, it's such an issue.
     
  8. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Can you divide your run so the BO is "with" the other chickens during the day, but they can't pick on her?
     
  9. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Quote:Not really. There are only three of them. And the EE and the JG are buddies. So they need to stay together. That means the BO would be by herself which only further isolates her. And the BO is my baby. She's the most special one. It would be tough to give away the EE but there's no way I'm giving away my BO.

    People have had success w/ the pinless peepers and I have some. I just can't get it on her. I think I'll try that next. I'm asking around my area to see if anyone could come help me do it who's done it before.
     
  10. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Here's a photo of one way to use the snap ring pliers to put the peeper on the chicken.

    [​IMG]

    The snap ring pliers that I bought at my local True Value hardware store came with three different shaped
    tips: straight and angled. The photo here shows the peeper being held by the angled tips, but I think the
    tips that I actually used were the straight tips. Doesn't matter; whatever works is perfect.
     

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