will my isolated hen lay eggs and how do I transition her back outside

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ladybuglives, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
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    Do chickens lay eggs when they are being isolated from the flock and is a dog carrier on the floor a good enough nesting box to provide them? I've isolated my 7 month old GLW, Maude, for 3 days. She is getting better after a sluggish crop incident. She's spending the nights in a smallish rabbit cage (complete with roost 1" off the ground which she perches on through the night) and then moves to the bathroom for some "free rangin" during the day. I put a dog carrier in there with towels in it in case she needed to lay an egg. This is on the floor. Her nesting boxes in the coop are up about 2 1/2'. Will she lay in there if she needs to or will she just wait to lay again until she's back in the coop?

    Also, how should I reintroduce her to the flock (5 others). She's the bottom of the pecking order already. I was thinking of grabbing the next lowest, Badger, and introducing her to the bathroom after she lays tomorrow. Having Maude and Badger inside with the window open to acclimatize Maude to the cold weather and bond her with Badger. Then bringing the two bullies Mama Pajama and Nicolette in at night (into a large dog crate I just borrowed). The next day (Wednesday) bringing Maudie and Badger out first thing in the morning to the coop where Lady Bug and Sister George will have spent a lonely evening. Washing Nicolette and Mama Pajama's poopy butts in the morning, blow drying them and then setting them loose in the garden -- opening the run door and seeing how the feathers do or don't fly. Is this idea a good one? Do you think I should bring Maude and Badger outside at night instead so they can sleep with Lady Bug and Sister George.

    Maudie is now eating and her crop was flat this morning for the first time in 3 days -- it never was WAY impacted -- just like play dough and she wouldn't eat. One day with no food, massage, ACV in H2O, yogurt and rest -- the next day with room to move in the bathroom but only 1 tsp of crumbles in late afternoon plus lots of water and grit (which really helped I think) -- today flat crop in AM with appetite not 100% but much better and showing signs of feisty behavior (caught a spider and ran across the room for some tuna) -- poops are normal, preening again, flapping the wings and shaking again. Tomorrow I want to help her transition out. Does that sound about right to you experts -- this is my first time with chickens -- I'm hooked and in love...
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Yes, she'll lay in the bathroom, or anywhere else the urge strikes her.

    Sounds like you've come up with 2 good plans. I think it's quite wise to remove the bullies, put the sick one back, and make the bullies come back as low men in the order.

    Usually people either offer treats for distraction when they reintroduce, or else do so at night on the roost. I've never had to do it.

    Good luck!

    Hope all goes well for you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  3. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
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    Well I tried to reintroduce her today. It was too early I think. It is so cold here compared to last week -- in the upper 30s and Maude is not used to the cold yet. Her comb and wattle turned pale pink and she really slowed down. I had pulled out the main bullies although everyone picks on her some. The mean girls were in a large dog crate in the shed. She was doing well with the three others and all was good until I looked at the dog crate where my biggest meanest mama was pecking the heck out of Nicky. Soooooo I moved Mama to the bathroom where Maude had been and felt so bad for Nicky that I let her have a try in getting along -- nope, she went after Maude with a vengence. So her butt went back into the shed and I tried Mama -- no go. I realize I don't have the stomach for keeping healthy chickens in an small cage. I mean how do you do it and not cause THEM problems while you're trying to heal the other one. Argh! Anyway, tonight it's supposed to get below freezing for the first time in these girls lives. I brought Maudie back in and warmed her up -- her breathing was kinda labored because she has a sinus problem (they puff out when when she breathes heavy and the air passage seems to be too narrow). She's been eating a bit of her crumbles, drinking water and enjoying treats (no on the oatmeal, no on the yogurt, yes on the tuna and bits of my beef stew lunch). I want her to get strong before I try the reintroduction again -- she just loses desire to try and eat when the others push her away so often and chase her and peck her. Poor thing! Any insights from seasoned chicken owners is very much appreciated!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You know, when there are a lot of pecking problems, very often the problem is too little space. The other common causes are boredom and a diet low in protein. Peraps if you went over these areas with us, we could pin it down better. I don't have any bullies in my flock but they free range, and even when I close them up, the coop and fenced yard they are in are quite large. There is an occasional peck but I have never seen them draw blood -- well, once, when the one being pecked was sick enough to make the rest want to kill her off to protect the flock.

    They really can be little dinosaurs --- and cannibals.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  5. ladybuglives

    ladybuglives Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2010
    humboldt county
    I've never had this harsh of a problem before. Granted, the weather has just turned waaaay cold and my girls aren't used to it. Perhaps that was the problem. My girls free range most of the day at this time of year. They have a huge backyard to scour for bugs and such. They have a greenhouse to run to in the rain for dust baths and a fenced in run that is about 11 x 8' -- their coop is 9' x 6' and they have 3 nesting boxes. 6 girls -- 3 Buff Orps and 3 Golden Laced Wyandottes. The top is Mama Pajama (Buff). She generally just pecks anyone who gets in her way --not viciously but a hard pinch that lasts just a second. Lately though she has been pretty snarky on the roost, hammering whoever gets their face near hers. Ladybug was my runt GLW and is second -- she pecks people out of her way for food but is pretty mellow otherwise. Sister George (Buff) is next and is much like Ladybug. Then there's Nicky who can be vicious to Maude -- she will chase her sometimes and hammer peck her -- Nick gets pecked by the three above her pretty hard and I think dishes her frustrations out on Maude. Nick also was the one who started laying first and went for a month without anyone messing with her nesting box -- Maudy has the gaul to use her box consistently. Badger is second to the bottom and is like a dark horse no one is really watching. She's a GLW and is pretty okay with Maude -- she's sleeping with her tonight in the house while the other four rough it in the freezing coop (with heat lamp on but brrrrr none the less).

    Today was beyond the pale as far as Mama hunting Maude down to nail her. She has never acted like that before. They weren't even in the run at the time. They were free ranging. Maude went in the greenhouse for some dust bathing and Mama ran over to kick her out and nail her. Luckily I grabbed her before she was able to dish out the worst. The guy at the feed store suggested I may need to separate the hens in twos for two days and reintroduce everyone to shuffle up the pecking order. My thought is that Maude just isn't strong enough yet to withstand the onslaught -- she will just back down from the food and Nicky will just kick her off whichever feeder she goes to until Maudie gives up. I generally help her out at least once a day with a handful of crumbles. Sometimes Maude will just wait until no one is in the coop and she scoots in and eats until she hears that monster Nicky coming. If I'm around I distract Nicky and then hold her until Maude has gotten her fill. But right now the fight to eat is slight in Maude. Once I brought her in she ate a bunch of crumbles and was much more relaxed. When I had her out without Mama and Nick today everyone got along like regular -- no big pecking even though Maude was obviously on the bottom. It's really Mama and Nicky that give her the major trouble.

    Feed wise, the girls get Modesto Millings Organic Crumbles: Ingredients: Organic corn, organic soybean meal, limestone, organic wheat millrun, organic flaxseed, live earth humate, monocalcium phosphate, kelp meal, diatomaceous earth, Redmond conditioner (clay), Redmond salt, DL methionine, poultry vitamin & mineral premix, organic garlic, organic horseradish, organic anise oil, organic juniper berry Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein min 17%, crude fat 3.8%, crude fiber max 4.1%, ash max 16.7%

    I give them oatmeal as treats along with carrot tops and plants like broccoli gone to seed. They eat loads of greens in the yard and worm/slugs bugs etc. They get 2 tbsp of ACV in their gallon waterer and it is changed every other day. Is that okay??
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow. You really know your birds and work hard at taking care of them. I spent an hour or so reading old threads, trying to come up with something useful for you. You probably have done the same thing. Not much out there, is there?

    What is most interesting to me is that it is the Orps who are the bullies, or at least one is. Not the case here; I used to have SLW and they were awful. I reallly hope yours have not learned pecking to the point it can't be unlearned.

    Truth is, if they were mine, I'd try to find a way to shake them up, maybe add a rooster or a couple of hens with strong personalities, move them to different quarters, or someone would go in the stew pot -- but I'd guess these are not options for you. Guess the only way for you is isolating bullies in the hope that reintroducing will shake things up enough. Your feed store fellow might have a good plan.
     

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