Lonely snowflake

From Orpingtons to Ostrich. Hybrids, pure breeds or just your breeds. Watermael to waterfowl. Put all your general posts here.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
wolfpup
Chick
Chick
Posts: 23
Joined: 02 Jul 2014, 08:44

Lonely snowflake

Post by wolfpup » 30 Jul 2014, 11:05

A couple of weeks ago I got 8 new girls, all from the same flock, near POL.

I have two coops - one for 6-8 hens and one for 8-10 hens (so read the smaller number on both)

The first night they all piled into one coop - then for the next few nights I noticed one hen, snowflake, was in the old coop on her own, and the other 7 in the other new one. During the day she is integrated in with the others - although most definitely the bottom of the pecking order - especially as since then four have come into lay. I felt a bit sorry for her so I started to close the new coop off when there were about 4 or 5 in it so that the other hens had to use the old coop with snowflake so she wasn't on her own. I did this for about 5 days - unless snowflake had gone into the new coop - then I shut her into the new coop with a few others, forcing the remainder to use the old coop.

I left them to their own devices for a couple of days and all 8 went into the new coop (the roosting bars are a little wider in the new coop, that is why I think they prefer it) - however for the last 2 nights I have again noticed snowflake in the old coop on her own. It is strange however that two of the laying hens lay their eggs in the new coop and two lay in the old coop.

We thoroughly cleaned the old coop before we got the new girls, although have never seen any signs of mite, and I re-sealed it inside and out with marine sealant. then thoroughly worked in DE and left the coop empty for a month before we got the new girls - I have since checked both coops and still no sign of mite.

The coop where snowflake sleeps is supposed to be big enough for 6 full sized hens - so taking that into consideration I do have room to get another 3 girls (I always have two less than the manufacturers state). Bearing in mind any new girls will automatically be lower in the pecking order than snowflake - do you think it is a good idea to get any more girls as company for snowflake in the coop - or should I just let her continue to be on her own at night - I am just worried that in the winter she will get very very cold in the coop on her own. I really do not think the other coop is large enough for 7 hens (had intended for four in each coop) - but it is their choice

I have a feeling that even when she comes into lay snowflake will still be bottom of the pecking order she is one of the Sussex stars. During the day she seems to spend quite a lot of time with the largest of the hens - an amber star, also not in lay yet. She is not being bullied that I can see - except she is one of the last to feed, even though I have two trough feeders and two waterers for 8 girls.

If I am going to get more girls - I would rather do it sooner than later to try and minimize the noise and upset to the flock. Surprisingly it is the two bluebelles that appear to be top hens with a slightly nasty streak even though only one is currently laying although the other is only days away.

User avatar
drfish
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3249
Joined: 07 Mar 2011, 12:25
Location: Head in the clouds, on a high bit in Nottinghamshire

Re: Lonely snowflake

Post by drfish » 30 Jul 2014, 11:16

Maybe she just prefers the peace of not being hustled. I personally wouldn't worry about it, nor would I worry about what you perceive as sufficient space (I had two Aylesbury drakes and 5 bantams living in a small coop for a month or so while I built a new run). Hens will usually huddle together in small groups, but in my flock, there's always one or two loners, again from the bottom of the order, that will always roost alone at one end of the bar, or on the coop floor. Winter shouldn't be an issue, I've done some monitoring of the inside temps of the coop overnight, while outdoor temps were touching -10c, and you'd be surprised at how warm they keep it just with their own body heat. A hen is wrapped in a tog 15 duvet at the end of the day, cold is generally not an issue, even without a coop.

I'd leave them be. If she wants to integrate, she will. If not, it's probably better for her in her own mind to do this.
Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy - P. J. O'Rourke (thanks Jessie)

It's amazing that people can believe everything is predestined but they still look both ways when crossing the road - Stephen Hawking

1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

And a lot of Ibuprofen.

Henwife
Dutch Bantam Cockerel
Dutch Bantam Cockerel
Posts: 8669
Joined: 31 Jan 2006, 00:07
Location: Monmouthshire

Re: Lonely snowflake

Post by Henwife » 30 Jul 2014, 14:15

I have 4 hens, 2 cocks and 6 pullets. They have a choice of 4 houses. 1hen 1 cock in the first house, 6 pullets in the next, 1 hen in the third, and 1 cock 2 hens in the 4th. The eggs are laid either in the 4th house or in an ark that nobody uses overnight. Occasionally a pullet will go into house 1 or 3 - never 4 - but the mix of adult birds varies depending on goodness knows what. I simply check that I have 12 birds - if not, I poke the absentees out of the holly tree.
Guinea fowl & a lot of surplus poultry equipment.

wolfpup
Chick
Chick
Posts: 23
Joined: 02 Jul 2014, 08:44

Re: Lonely snowflake

Post by wolfpup » 30 Jul 2014, 17:01

Cheers guys - just felt a bit sorry for her on her own but they all have the choice of which coop to roost in, particularly liked the 15 tog reference, even if it is a rather big coop for one hen to heat! if she gets cold enough I am sure she will have the sense to go in the other coop (she says hopefully).

Post Reply