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Worried my 3 little ladies may be growing up in to 2 roos and only one lady...? Please advise!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Mrae, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Mrae

    Mrae New Egg

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    Hey y'all! Sorry in advance, a little long because I want to give my behavioral observations & it's my first time with chickens so I'm not sure what exactly is relevant/normal/etc....

    So about a month ago I got three darling ~8 week old chicks from a good friend of mine, who'd ordered a big batch online and did all the brooder-work for me. My stepson build a small coop/run set up, because with a baby on the way (less than month now!) I figured limiting myself to 3 would be a good starting point. One is a light brahma, one is a black australorp, and one is an ameracauna (or EE possibly?).

    I noticed right off the bat that the brahma (Tallulah, or Lulu) is a bossy b-word. I'd been thinking maybe she was just flighty, because she seems nervous about everything (breathing too hard? Oh god back in the run! Everyone! Go!), but I did see her, for no apparent reason, hunkering down and chasing my little ameracauna (Ginger) randomly, sometimes giving her a peck or two. She would occasionally, but less often, do the same to Moony (the black australorp), but Moony doesn't put up with her sh*t as much, so would move a little then go about her business. Lately things have gotten a bit more escalated. When I open up the run for them to free range, I often have to go into the coop and carry poor Ginger out, because about half the time when she tries to come out on her own (last, usually, she seems a bit more shy than the other two) Lulu will crouch down and chase her back inside. She will do the same thing sometimes even when they're already out and foraging. It's gotten so that when I sit out with them and Lu starts chasing Ginger she will run over to me and huddle near me while I try to shoo Lulu away. Ginger used to stick by Moony more, but recently Moony's been with Lu more, because she is first out the door and doesn't let Lu chase her back inside (although she does get chased around a bit outside).

    I've been worried about Lu being a closet-Roo pretty much since I got them, just based on her attitude/behavior, but figured some chickens are just mean sometimes, maybe she just wants to be really sure she's at the top of the pecking order, or whatever, so maybe not? Now a couple things have gotten me worried about Moony as well.... One, her noises are less "clucking", more long, drawn out "baaaaaaaaa, baaaaaaa", except deeper sounding? Not sure what crowing sounds like before it's an actual crow, but worried it could be a lead-up? She also has by far the reddest and largest comb and wattles. But being as they're different breeds, maybe it's breed related? Lastly I've now twice seen her and Lu "get into it" while free ranging in the backyard, where Lu will start to chase her, but Moony fights back, and they both fly up a bit and have a quick foot-fight. After today's foot-fight both of them stood about 2 feet apart, fluffed up and preening for a couple minutes. At least one was making a weird honking-like sound (I think it was Lu?).... I always assumed that was just a rooster thing, but again, first time with chickens, so I dunno?

    Today even Moony ran at poor Ginger a couple times and gave her a couple pecks. :( I love Ging, she's the only one who's ok with me picking her up (among other things, I'm worried about when/if someone gets sick, and I can only handle one of the three to investigate) - Moony will tolerate it if I can get her in a spot she can't escape, but loudly protests the whole time, and Lulu will straight up lose her sh*t and run around like a crazy I-don't-even-know-what, flapping and yelling, so I haven't held her or picked her up more than maybe twice because I'm worried about hurting her wings trying to get a hold of her. I'm a little over 8 months pregnant and have to bend over to reach into the coop (and it's a little deep) so I don't have the best access at the moment, but that would typically be where I think I have the best chance of getting at her.

    Not sure what to do, even if they are all hens... I don't like Ginger getting picked on, but she's definitely my favorite so I wouldn't want to rehome her. She actually seems like she likes me. :p Moony is cool but a bit aloof. She seems more accepting of me, or at least knows that when I come out I usually have treats, so she will come chat for a few. Tallulah I would be much more a fan of if she wasn't so mean! She is gorgeous, but I can't even reach into the bag of mealworms (yep, definitely trying to bribe them into liking me) without her freaking out and running away or trying to chase the others. It's gotten minutely better since I've gotten her, but only in the sense that she will run a few feet into the bushes rather than all the way into the run. Also really really not down with how she is constantly charging/pecking at the others. They will be just fine, peacefully pecking their way thru the grass, when suddenly Lu will crouch down and charge one. It honestly seems like sometimes she thinks she should be the only one let outside.

    And if I do have 2 roos I will have to get rid of them both (can't have roosters in town), which leaves me with just poor Ginger by herself. Do I try to tackle introducing new chickens who hopefully won't be so mean? Worried about timing with human baby coming soon too... Gah. Anyway, I know the pics are not the greatest - just cell phone pics, and the camera sound upsets Lu and makes Moony suspicious so they don't sit still real well for them... but better than nothing I guess....
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    By the pictures, I'm not seeing anything that looks overly masculine. By this age, roos should usually have quite impressive comb and wattles compared to pullets. The combs in the pictures look more like those of pullets going through "puberty." It sounds more of a case of sorting the pecking order out and Lulu is definitely asserting her spot. She'll obviously be your top hen and Moony is the more serious competitor to her (second in command). Ginger sounds to be the low girl on the totem pole. I've found this to be kind of common in my EE hens, kind of flighty, shy and lower in the order. The "baaa" sounds (if I'm thinking of the same thing you're talking about) are common hen vocalizations. Roos that have had their voices change from peeps to clucks have deep sounding vocalizations compared to females. Plus I think you'd know if it's a crow or not. They're pretty noticeable, even for roos just learning. Chest goes in, neck goes straight and a beautiful crow comes out.....most of the time. Maybe not for first timers, though. Some let out a horrible BAAAH and sound quite pathetic until they've practiced enough. Our bantam coop sounded like a chorus of dying cats when the roos were learning to sing. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Look like pullets to me. The only ? I have is this: how big is your coop? How big is your run? x feet by x feet please. Sometimes the smaller coops/runs don't have enough space for the gals at the bottom of the pecking order to move far enough away from their aggressors to satisfy social protocol. A coop that is 10 x 12 would in theory be able to house 30 hens @ 4 s.f./bird. But, if one hen is getting picked on, she can get at least 5' away from her aggressor, and perhaps can get 12' away. And if that coop has multiple levels, and visual barriers, that picked on gal can get out of sight. Not so in a smaller coop, perhaps that is only 4 x 4 that in theory will hold 4 pullets. The pickee can only move 2 - 4' away from her aggressor, and most likely not be able to get out of sight. It's good that you are able to let them out to free range. That helps a lot. IME, EE are on the timid side. But, I love them!!

    Welcome to BYC and congrats on your upcoming delivery. Hoping you have an easy delivery and adjustment period.
     
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    All flocks even small flocks of all females like yours have whats called a " pecking order". You have a lead hen then the next in charge then the lowest hen in rhe order. To establish this order they will peck, chase and even sometimes jump on one another. It usually stops once the order is established unless a higher hen is challenged. The order remains unless hens are added or taken away or ill. It seems harsh to us but its the way that the chickens keep order. As long as everyone is allowing all to eat and drink and no one is drawing blood it should be fine. Things will settle down once the order is solidly established. Remember any new birds will change the order again and changellenges will resume until a new order is figured out. Hope this helps and congratulations on the baby!!
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that your EE (the white bird) is a cockrel. Mary
     
  6. gmatson

    gmatson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They look like pullets to me too. The only one that I'm not sure about is the braham. I think pullet but not 100% sure.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    The black and brown birds are pullets.

    can we get a close comb shot of the Brahma? And how old are they?
     

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