Well, we're getting there. But it's a slow go and I'm really struggling.
The babies get the fact they are supposed to sleep in the hen house. But they don't want to because the big hens peck at them. Can you blame them for not wanting to go in there? So each night I go out at dusk to find the babies frantically pacing and crying because they don't want to go into the house.
I've tried to scoot them into the house ahead of the big girls to show them if they get into place and settled, when the big girls come on, they will just settle down and go right to sleep without much fuss. But that wasn't working so last night I tried a different approach. I left the babies outside until the adults went in and thought maybe the babies would then sneak in and go to bed.
The problem is, the babies don't get where they are supposed to sleep or they don't want to sleep there. They try to roost up right next to the adults or on their jumping block I've put in to help them get up to their roosting bar. And they get pecked by both Coco and Ginger who want to sleep in the higher positions.
I've put up a cardboard barrier to protect them so if they'd just go to their roost, they'd be fine. Sigh...
I know my house is a bit tight and in hindsight, I wish I had bought a bigger house. But in my defense, it did say it was sized for 3-5 hens and I knew I'd never have more than 5 which is why I bought this one. And I would be willing to buy a bigger house, except that I had my run built around my current hen house. So getting it out of there and a new one in, would have its own set of challenges. And even then, unless I can separate the babies from the adults, pecking is STILL going to be an issue.
I'll try a different arrangement tonight to see if that works any better.
But I will say that I'm not having much fun at this time. I was so concerned about just having the two hens which is why I eagerly added to my flock. But in retrospect, I think I might have waited until I was down to one hen and then added to the flock. Or waited till one of my hens went broody to add to the flock.
I fear that this will continue over the next two months until the babies begin to lay and everyone is on the same level of hormones. My hope is that things will then quiet down and everyone will live together in peace and harmony. I hope, I hope, I hope...