Monday, April 3, 2017

Bedtime Drama

My babies are going to be a year old this month.  I can't believe it.  When I went to the feed store, I had planned on only getting more Buff Orpingtons as they have been a good breed for me.  They are generally mellow and hadn't done too much damage to my garden.  Well, till this batch.  But that's a different blog.

While at the feed store, I heard they had Cochins and I had to have some.  So I bought a black and a partridge Cochin, Penny and Bella.  And it was clear from the beginning that they were more mellow than the BO's and would likely be the bottom of the pecking order.

But the nice thing about my set up is that I have two coops, a big one and a small one.  When I first moved the babies outside, they all slept in the small coop.  But as they grew, they eventually out grew the little coop and I moved the BO's over to sleep in the big coop.  And left the Cochins to sleep in the little coop.  And that worked out well.

But a few months ago, I realized that Bella had decided to go sleep with the big girls.  I pondered this for a while as I felt bad that Penny was all by herself.  But everyone seemed to be okay with the arrangement so I let it be.  But I was never really comfortable with the sleeping arrangement.

Recently, I've been going out at bedtime and only then realized that Bella was getting pecked mercilessly by the big hens.  She would try to go to bed first and get a spot on the high roost in the back.  But that's also where the big girls sleep.  I was surprised that she willingly went in there each night and didn't go back to the small coop.  

Well, tonight was just too much for me to bear, and I pulled Bella from the big coop and put her back with Penny in the little coop.  She really didn't protest at all.  I think she appreciated the break from the pecking.

I know I'll probably have to go out there for a few more nights and redirect her to the little coop before that becomes her new routine, but I'm cool with that.  I kind of wish I had done this sooner.  But I just wasn't aware of how much she was being bullied and that she would willingly subject herself to that abuse.

Bella is a Partridge Cochin and is a beautiful bird.  Don't you just love those feathers?

Penny is just darling.  She has these soulful eyes that just stare right through your.  When I have a rough day, I come home for a Penny hug.

I love watching Penny go to bed in her little coop as it's just her size.

This is the big coop.  Notice Bella is on the back roost with her back to everyone in her best attempt to avoid the pecking from the other hens.  My old hens get the higher roosts and leave the younger BO's to the low roost.

And Penny in her little coop on her tiny roost.  She's just so darling.



  1. I know this so well. I have a similar set up but instead of separate coops I have separate perching areas and that is working really well. Before I have seen the bullying and head pecking and it is really hard to bear. Now all is harmony at bedtime. Coincidentally I have just written a post about it but will put it out tomorrow morning as I have already put one out today about Rusty's first egg. That needed to go out as it had just happened. Your girls are beautiful.

  2. Yea, the two coop set up ha worked really well for me. I had to go pull Bella out of the big girls coop again last night. Tonight I need to be somewhere and won't get home till she's gone in so I'm not quite sure what to do. But having her sleep with her little Cochin sister is really making everyone much happier. Wish I had done this sooner.

  3. You could go and move her once you get back although I suppose by then it won't matter if she is settled and past the head pecking stage. You could just continue from the next night. With hindsight I often wish that I had done things sooner but it all works out in the end.

  4. Yea, once she's in there, the pecking will be over. And I hate for her to go through that. I'll have to noodle on how to manage that one tonight. But you are so right in that it does work itself out in the end.