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Adjustments in the Crazy Coop


Crazy4Canning

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Well, the baby chickies are too big for the brooder and were moved today. I thought if they were all together outside no one would notice being big or small. WRONG. The littles are being picked on by both the middle girls and the big girls. The littles are fine by themselves but once you introduce another larger chick into the mix, it is readily apparent that the pecking order has been established and they DO NOT want it interrupted. The middle girls seem to be particularly vicious and they were Havalah's brooder mates. Yet another reminder that animals are animals and not people.

 

So, out of compassion for these birds, my dad built a 'cage' for the littles inside the big coop. The bigger birds are a little put-out because they like their space. They don't NEED it all but they like it. The little ones are off cowering in a corner in their great big world and the bigger chickens are clucking and picking on them.

 

All this still, after a day out in the yard eating tasty bugs, slugs, grasses, and spiders. You would think the chickens would be too tired to pick on anyone else, but Nooooo. For some reason they feel these littles are a great intrusion. Little Havalah the Speckled Sussex is still half the size of the middle chickens, and little Naomi is a tad smaller than her.

 

I have yet to see if we will achieve chicken harmony, but hopefully, over the next few days we will. You would think the chickens would remember what it was like to be that small, but I guess they forget. After all, their brain is smaller than half an almond.

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Pecking order! Chickens take this QUITE seriously.

 

One way to try to get them to adjust to each other is to slip the little ones in while the older ones are roosting (bedded down) for the night. Chickens get quite lethargic during that time. Sometimes when they wake up.

 

Also you can make a doorway/hole in their smaller cage that is ONLY big enough for them to get in and out, then they can come out when they're feeling brave and run in and hide when they are feeling threatened.

 

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I need to integrate my flocks soon. The chicks are in a tractor right now, but I let them out in the evening to graze with the free-roaming hens. So far no problems as long as the chicks don't try to go for the same bug as a hen.

I know it will be a different story when I finally let the little ones sleep in the coop. Closer quarters will be sure to invite arguements.

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I had to run to work with DH last night and on the way home it began to rain lightly. I dashed into the back yard to throw up the sides of the coop and stopped...rather startled that all 6 medium and larger chicks were up higher than the roost on the ledge where the screen is. They were all huddled up there, sleeping away. DH said they do this all the time, for he usually shuts up one side of the coop. The littles were snuggled down as well safe in their space. I opened the coop and only Minerva, the head Mama opened one eye for an instant. They were all tuckered out. :)

 

So...when do I let the littles out of the 'cage'? This little cage is made of hardware cloth so the medium and larger birds can't stick their heads in and vice versa.It's 2-sides of a square, up against the wall of the coop with an end...maybe I could move it away from the wall? These girls though, tend to get startled and are kept away from the food and water by the bigger ones. Maybe this is best for a while?

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