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New flock not getting along

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm new to chickens and went to a chicken swap meet and bought 4 young female silkies 1 Plymouth Rock hen and another grey same size as Plymouth young hen. Well the Plymouth picks on all the silkies, so the silkies hide all day and the larger 2 hens are always out walking around the coop. When I let them free range with supervision they stay away from each other and all are fine. I asked the people I bought them from and they said they should all be able to live together. I just don't think it's a very nice life for the silkies to hide all day. I'm not sure if they get to eat or drink. So I've been locking up the 2 larger hens in the hutch I have in the coop for a few hours a day when I don't have time to watch them free range. Then the silkies are all out eating and walking in the coop. It's only been a week and all are new to the coop I got them all the same day. Should I look into rehoming the Plymouth?
post #2 of 11

:welcome  Big chickens pick on smaller or weaker chickens.  Chicken society is frequently cruel.  As long as they are not drawing blood, allow them to work things out.  Provide feed and water in several locations to assure that the silkies are getting enough to eat.  Given enough time, they may work things out.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 11


I would give it more time. The Plymouth rock is wanting to be the dominant hen. They will all figure it out. They need to establish a pecking order first. As long as their is no blood shed they sound like they will be fine.

I just introduce two young pullets to my flock of nine spoiled hens and a rooster.

My two new birds are still not part of the flock but the other hens now tolerate them.

You can keep separating them but it is only dragging out the process of having them as one flock.

 

Hope this helped!

post #4 of 11
I don't know how accurate this is at all. But I read that silkies can be picked on because the hair that covers their eyes so that can't see well and are less likely to be dominate. It suggested hair trims ??? And having two silkies to be able to buddy up. I have no clue if this is true. Thought I would share.

 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

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 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

A picture is always worth showing.

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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for getting back to me!! There is no blood and everyone looks healthy. So I'll wait it out and hopefully they will all get along.
post #6 of 11


About 6 weeks ago we removed a rooster that started an early morning karaoke session.  On that day we picked up a barred rock pullet and a smaller sex link.  After about 10 minutes, it seemed like the little sex link would be killed so I took it back to the feed store and got a larger Rhode Island red.  For about 2 weeks the two new hens got their buts kicked (first week being the worst) But now they are all fine.  From what I have read, I should have isolated the new hens for a month to make sure they were healthy before introducing them to the rest of the flock.....(next time for sure)  

 

     My original hens were really nice, tame and easy going!  We put the new ones in the coop with the originals and our nice hens turned into little terrorists... chasing and doing sneak attacks, keeping the new ones from the food and water.  The existing group all piled up and slept together and would not let the new ones in for awhile.  My sweet little chickens were relentless buttheads for a couple weeks, but now they all get along fine.  From what I learned, you should introduce minimum 4-5 at a time and get birds that are approx. same size.  I know it's obvious, but I am no expert, so know that I am only sharing my experience.  Hope that helps!

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. Now I learned my lesson to get around the same size chickens. Hopefully the ones I got will get along soon.
post #8 of 11

The pecking order is more about territorial seniority than size or age or breed or anything else.

 

Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, place to hide 'out of line of sight' (but not dead end traps) and/or get up and away from aggressors all help.

As long as there is no copious blood letting and no one is getting pinned down/trapped and beaten incessantly, they will work it out just fine themselves.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks. Good to know.
post #10 of 11

It took about 1 week for my two mother hens to work things out, so a week or two of lots of drama is probably to be expected.  Just make a place where the silkies can hide.  

 

Another thought, are all your chickens laying?  I've noticed that the hens that are laying like to pick on pullets that aren't yet.  Once the pullets start laying they all integrate just fine.  I added two young pullets in with my two old chickens this spring.  They basically spent the next 2 months hiding and keeping out of the way, but once they started laying everyone got a long.

 

I had a silkie get along just fine with my bigger chickens, but she was raised with them from a chick.  

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