Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chaos in the Coop!

Last time I posted I mentioned that Mama Charlotte hen wasn't accepting 3 chicks and these 3 poor chicks had to be raised separate from the other 7 chicks and Charlotte.  I feel bad for the 3 coutcast chicks; the mama hen tries to kill them if she has access to them.  The 3 outcast chicks love the mama hen and only want to be with her.

This is affecting the 3 chicks terribly.  They aren't eating well.  2 of them are Americaunas - the larger of these 2 is fine, she's feeding herself and developing normally.  Then there's the second Americauna - she doesn't eat as well as her sister, but she'll make it.  She's kinda listless and really wants to be with the other chicks.  Then, lastly and most sadly, is the Rhode Island Red.  She barely eats at all, is way behind developmentally, and now has developed a foot/walking issue.  She was normal when we got her. I don't think he's getting the proper nutrition.  I think she'd be fine if she'd eat.  We have started her on a drop of vitamin E in the beak at nighttime, a secret we learned that helped guinea keets when they had nutrition issues and developed walking disabilities.

For the last week we've been letting mama hen and her 7 chosen chicks out into a separate pen, giving them access to the pen and to their own private coop at will.  This gives the 3 chicks some private time without mama Charlotte and the other chicks, which is good for them.  They feel less left out when mama's not ignoring them.  They've been locked into their own private section of the coop, which is separated by a mesh fence from mama hen and her baby coop area.

Today I decided to lock mama hen into the big chicken pen, and let ALL 10 chicks together into the chick pen.  Mama hen can see the chicks through a fence, but cannot get to them.  That way all 10 chicks can be outside together.  The babies all get along, it's the mother hen that hates the 3 babies.

At first mama Charlotte went crazy being locked away from her babies.  She was hysterical.  She paced back and forth along her side of then fence.  The chicks wanted to be near her, but they still took the time to wander away from her side of their pen and check out the area.  The 3 reject chicks were so happy to be outside and also to be with the other chicks.  They naturally fit right in.  They are the happiest chicks in the world right now, they are no longer rejects.  Little Rhode Island Red started pecking and eating normally with the other chicks.

Mama hen clucked hysterically along the fence line.   The guineas, who wander totally free outside all fences, came by to see the commotion in the chicken pen.  It was the talk of the farm.  The 2 outside cats came by to see what was going on, too.  Everyone was worried to hear a mama hen screaming.

Here's an individual shot of the RIR.  She's hobbling a little with her walk, but she looks so much better, happier, now that she's with the other chicks.

Dear old Leggy rooster has kept close to the action, keeping a close eye in an attempt to make everything all better. Mama Charlotte doesn't care if a rooster is near her, but NO other hen or pullet is allowed to be near her right now.  Charlotte's in a bad mood and everyone knows.  She's separate from her babies.  The world might end.  You keep your distance, or she will attack you!

For some reason, little Dottie hen decided that Mama Charlotte needed a good butt-kicking.  Little Dottie hen is very small, she's a bantam white leghorn/Americauna mix.  But to my surprise she won the fights with mama Charlotte.  I left Dottie and Charlotte outside together, thinking Charlotte would chase away Dottie eventually, but Dottie continually came back to fight, and Dottie was winning, pinning down Charlotte and biting Charlotte's head.  I had to physically remove Dottie's beak off Charlotte's head more than once and decided that Dottie needed to be separated. 

Because we have 9 four-month-old pullets, our chicken coop is kinda busy.  The pullets are considering laying for the 1st time and spend many hours a day inside the coop, nesting and watching other birds nest.  They are trying to figure the whole egg-laying-thing out.  So the regular coop is taken.

So that left only the chick coop for Dottie's jail.  This is the coop where Charlotte and the chicks normally stay.  Today it is Dottie's jail coop.  If Charlotte only knew that Dottie was spending the day in HER coop, she'd be even more angry.  Dottie's doing ok all alone in the coop.  She's very independent and doesn't appear to mind being locked up, she's spent most of the day napping and making nests.

I took a couple of quick pics of the rest of the flock.  The left most bird in the back is a red sex link pullet (you can tell by the small comb), to the right in the far back is the red sex link shelter hen, Penny,  then there's Candie, who was named after my sister-in-law (she's the black chicken with spots), then there's Muffin (brown./black Americauna rooster with a big tail), behind Muff is Cloe (brown/white hen), the white/grey hen up front is Luna, who we rescued from Craig's List, way back in the back right with her head down is Cheryl, who was named after my sister, right up front in the center is Jade, and the tail on the left front belong to my fav hen, Lucy.

Her's my gal Lucy, trying to sneak out of the chicken pen while I'm distracted with the camera.

Jade, the small brown bird in the center, is Lucy birth daughter.  She's inherited a lot of Lucy's personality.  All the birds are looking to see if I have treats for them.


Gail said...

Lots of excitement going on. I hope it all works out well for the chicks.

Farm Girl said...

Wow I know how heartsick you must get with all of that chicken drama going on. My bantams did the same thing to one of my hen that had chicks. I thought they were going to kill her and hurt the chicks. I had to and still do keep them separate. I still can't figure out why Charlotte doesn't like those three chicks. I think keeping them like that in the pen next to her though is a good plan. Who knows maybe it will help the three lonely ones thrive.

Country Girl said...

Would love to hear the continuation of this saga! -- You are naming chickens after your family members? So funny! We have a lot of names to use in my household!!

Razzberry Corner said...

Gail - I hope so, too!

Kim - I don't understand it, either, why Charlotte didn't accept those 3 chicks. Who knows. Charlotte's an old hen, and this is her 2nd batch of chicks this year. She's tired. Randy started her sitting on eggs when she went broody when I was traveling overseas for 3 weeks, so this wasn't planned by me! I'm just dealing with it now!

Barb - you have a lot of male names in your household! Not a lot of women! I actually did name a pullet Barb, but she died! I never mentioned it to you because I was sad! I'll have to name another one Barb. Then I can name one D, too! And I plan on naming one R after our sister... I'm always trying to come up with names for the birds! The hard part is when a number of hens all look alike and I cannot tell them apart, then we end up with a number of birds being called the same name!


Ilene said...

This is great!