Who ever said keeping chickens was FUN?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mylovelyladies, May 4, 2008.

  1. mylovelyladies

    mylovelyladies In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    I've only had my babes since Wednesday and I'm pulling my hair. They just aren't doing what chickens are supposed to do [​IMG] I have a Barred Rock, RIR and Columbian Rock as well as a Silkie and then I have a bantam Cochin coming tomorrow. The standards came from a commercial egg production situation so the coop, run, roosts, nests, treats, etc are all new to them. And the problems :eek:

    1. They are eating their eggs (I have another thread all about that).

    2. The RIR is picking on the Columbian and basically has her held hostage. She learned to escape the attacks by going up the roost (which the RIR hasn't done yet). However, now she's stuck up there! She's too scared to come down and when she did once the RIR chased her right back up. I put some feed up on the roost itself and she started eating right away. When she got here she was in kind of rough shape - beat up tail feathers and a bare neck and breast.

    3. I put golf balls in the nests to discourage the egg-eating and now the BR is trying to hatch it [​IMG]

    4. The door to the run is open but they won't go out.

    5. I've put treats in for them and they haven't touched them.

    6. They are sleeping in the nest boxes at night - which are at floor level and the roosts are at 1' and 2.5'.

    I'm spending my whole day running out and checking on them and feeling like I don't know what I'm doing!!!!
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Ok - deep breath! Time, time and more time... you need to give them time to adjust to this completely new, foreign, wonderful but totally free living environment. They are probably spazzing out with their new life and just need time to 'learn' how to be chickens.

    They don't know what being outside is all about -- they'll learn that in a few days and love it but may be skittish for a while.

    I would go in after dark and pick them up and move them onto the roosts. It may take a week or more of doing it every night but hopefully they will slowly get the idea that's where they are to roost. Sounds like they've never had roosts so they don't know any better than to sleep on the floor or in the nestboxes.

    Keep an eye on them but don't freak out yet.

    I'm guessing someone here has gotten older chickens from your type of situation and hopefully will chime in with things they may have done to help the chickens adjust.

    You sound like such a wonderful mommy.
  3. Bitty girl

    Bitty girl Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    I bought a trio of Samatra that some one told was egg eating. I brought them home & scrambled a few whole eggs shell & all then fed it to them & I havent had that problem they are looking for more protine it seems or just bored. Play w/them.lol
  4. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    Chirpy gave some great advice...it's nice of you to adopt!
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    The BR is trying to go broody, so just keep booting her feathery bum out of the nest box.
    The RIR is trying to prove that she's top hen...
    As for them not going out, it's a new place...and they need to feel comfortable before they want to explore.
    When I got Miss MoneyPenny, she didn't know what treats were either...but she got to look forward to them.
    I'm spending my whole day running out and checking on them and feeling like I don't know what I'm doing!!!!

    We're ALL like that. LOL
    thanks for taking these girls in...​
  6. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    They need to get used to the new scene, get used to each other, and get used to you. They will settle in and soon you will have a bunch of treat hungry monsters.
    For the egg eater... Try to blow an egg out and fill it with tabasco. One taste of that will turn her off. [​IMG] Collect the eggs as often as you can and boot that broody off her nest every chance you get. Sooner or later, she'll give up.
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Welcome to the club. By picking older birds to start with, you really jumped in! Good for you for giving them a second chance, but they will be harder to work with that a chick you grew up on your own. It will take some time for them to get used to their new lifestyle and new friends! Best of luck and really hope you start to enjoy it! It's not all bad.
  8. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    Once they get settled the problems should stop. Try chasing them out into the run or catching them and putting them out should help them figure that out. I am sorry it started out so badly hope it gets better for you.

  9. And don't run out there all frantic, exasperated, demanding, etc., that they aren't doing what you are looking forward so badly to them doing LOL, you need to relax, enjoy their company, pick them up, especially the one being picked on and when its put down and the RIR comes to boss it, YOU are the top hen and boss the RIR around a bit each time, take them outside while you are holding them, talk to them about how wonderful and interesting their new world is, they'll need encouragement such as human babies do:) When you collect eggs and clean the coop, interact w/them, too, offer tidbits by hand. They are by nature inquisitive so you'll be encouraging that to come back to the surface [​IMG]
    Pretty soon, they'll be expecting and demanding and you'll be the one not doing what they expect you should be doing HAHA
  10. mylovelyladies

    mylovelyladies In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    Well, once dh got home it ended up being one of the best chicken days ever [​IMG] The birds were still in the coop when dh got home at 3pm. He was determined to get them out into the run. I had read that the egg-eating could be caused by a lack of protein and happened to have a leftover hamburger in the fridge so I gave it to dh to break up for them. Wouldn't you know they went NUTS for it! [​IMG] It was so funny! Dh showed them a piece and tossed it out onto the ramp and the RIR went out SO fast after it. All but the Silkie ended up enjoying some outdoor time today (other than the 30 min or so that I held and carried her around the yard [​IMG] )

    It was incredibly cute to watch them scratching around the yard and my girls were digging up worms to feed to them [​IMG] I just love seeing my kids playing with their chickens.

    We also managed to get an egg!! The BR that I thought was trying to hatch a golf ball was likely just trying to lay an egg *blush* Chalk it up to new mother jitters LOL I don't think the other 3 are laying because we were outside a LOT today and there were no signs of laying.

    As far as roosting at night, we took a look and they are actually "roosting" on the small lip that leads to the nest boxes with their heads in the nest and their bottoms out in the coop. Dh tried to move one but she had a death grip and he wasn't sure how hard to try and move her.

    The RIR is still beating up on the Columbian pretty badly. [​IMG] It's better when they are outside because I know the Columbian can go and eat and drink in peace. I understand the need to establish the pecking order but RIR actually hunts out the other hen to chase and peck at her. And the BR keeps going up to the RIR and pecking gently at her beak - what's that about?? Everyone seems to ignore the Silkie.

    We tried today to interact with the Columbian, feeding her from our hand but she's VERY skittish around us. How do I boss the RIR around? We were pushing her away when she was being a bully.

    I can't wait to go hang out with my chickens tomorrow!! [​IMG] Hopefully more than one egg [​IMG]

    Thank you SO much for the encouragement [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 4, 2008

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