06 January, 2009

Playground bullies

I think I have worked out the chicken and egg problem. It's not that my laying chickens are going rogue and heading off into the hedges. It's that the two new larger, bossier and more aggressive Marans are stopping the other five from getting into the chicken house to lay. When it's cold, it's worse. So on Sunday when it was cold and misty all day, no eggs in the house as the Marans spent all day in the run or the house. Yesterday, when the Marans decided to leave the area around the house and sun themselves next to a hedge, we had two eggs in the nesting box, and one by the roosting perch which I assume was laid when everyone was still in the house. The Marans roost on the nesting boxes so don't let anyone near them. I was watching the chickens yesterday and it is clear that the original 5 smaller chickens avoid the other two as much as possible.

So what do I do? I know I've been advised to shut them all in the run but that just seems unfair on the placid five who will end up having a horrible day or two being pecked and squawked at. And anyway if they could lay in the house, they would. Should I try to move the Marans into alternative accommodation? Rob is mentioning the pot, especially as the Marans aren't currently laying. (Don't panic, S and L - I don't think he means it!) Any suggestions?


Suzanne@ Panteg Alpacas said...

well , I think you've outlined your option s!
1. Eat them
2. Buy another house and re-home
3. Keep in a run with all of them unitl they have sorted it out
4. Give them away !

Anonymous said...

Hmm - really sorry that Sam 'n Ella are being so naughty! If you want to you are very welcome to use the Eglu - and stick them back in there? Let me know and I can drop it round - or alternatively we can try and get them rehoused? Let me know what we can do to help. They will start laying soon - and that will calm them down (and the eggs are fantastic - apparently James Bond's favourite)!!

Happy New Year - and spk soon

S & L.

Anonymous said...

Can you block them from roosting on the nesting boxes? Also, on nice days you could move the food outside so that they're not just hanging inside and eating. Other than that, well, I'd likely lock them in the run for a week and force them to sort it out. But I'm perhaps a bit too pragmatic when it comes to my hens.

Anonymous said...

Could you make another nest box for them - make it harder for the Marans to guard two places at once?

mountainear said...

I've isolated 'bullies' in the past and when they've been put back with the flock they've been less assertive.

My Marans won't perch - I wondered if if was to do with them being quite a heavy bird.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I think I would go with Laura and with mountainear's ideas - either leave them in the run and let them sort it out (won't take too long and they will work out a modus operandi eventually), isolate the bullies for a few days but not together, separately, and then put them back. another nesting box is also a good idea as it alters the dynamic!
Good luck.