Why are certain hens being picked on in my flock, and how can I prevent it, stop it?
Hens naturally have a pecking order they establish within a flock. Sometimes a hen is perceived as weak, or picked on for no reason at all. If you introduce younger hens into your flock this can be a problem because they are smaller and younger, and unable to defend themselves.
Generally speaking, if your flock of hens are the same age, you will have less of a “pecking order” problem. This can be hard as your flock size shifts and you might want to add new hens. Hens like routine, and when new hens are frequently introduced, it shifts the flock dynamics.
Sometimes it takes just a few days for all of the hens to settle in, and adjust. Sometimes they never adjust, and you might have to separate them in another pen or coop, or isolate them for a period of time, or ask a friend about adopting your hen.
Do roosters need to be separated from each other when they are in with pullets? If so, at what age?
Roosters that grow up together generally get along and may not need to be separated. Even if one is bantam and one is a standard they could live in harmony especially if they have a large area. It is individual however and can change with age so always keep an eye out.
When can my chicks go outside?
You should wait until they are fully feathered to put them outside. Depending on the temperature, they can go outside when they are from 5 to 12 weeks old.
Can you wash a chicken?
Yes. Show chickens are given baths often so their feathering is perfect for showing. Most people recommend Dawn dishwashing soap as it is gentle and will remove grease. Others prefer baby soap or shampoo. You can also blow dry them on low after you’re done.
What do I do with my birds in the winter?
Your birds will be fine in the winter assuming they get food and water that doesn’t freeze, and shelter. They don’t suffer from the cold like we do. They huddle close together on their perches, and their feathers are like a built in down jacket. They don’t enjoy going out in the snow, however, so be prepared to shovel them a path or small area so they can get outdoors.
How can I prevent frostbite?
Using 2 x 4 roosts, laid flat, make the chickens roost on their feet, which will keep them warm. For VERY extreme conditions, heat the coop with a ceramic or red-bulb heating light. In colder climates, is it normal for chickens to stop laying in winter? It is normal for hens to stop or slow down laying in the winter months. The shorter days trigger this slow down, rather than the temperature. In order to keep hens laying all winter, artificial light can be used to equal 14 hours of light per day