4 week olds pecking 2 week olds....awful

Erin80

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Apr 16, 2017
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I posted about this recently but need more advice. Our 4 week old silkies are in a sectioned off area in our coop, and in that area there is also a tote brooder with 4 two week olds in it. On the other side of the coop are my 10 week old barred rocks.
I am trying to integrate the 2 week olds with the silkies and it is not going well at all. The silkies immediately start pecking at the babies as soon as I let them out, and the babies screech and run away....so I put them back in their tote. Should I wait a few weeks for the little ones to be bigger and better able to defend themselves? They are Ameraucana and Icelandic....so they will eventually bypass the silkies in size.
Our silkies are also terrified of us, and peck at our hands as soon as we try to touch them. It seems like we have angry silkies! I've always heard silkies are so friendly, but so far, the barred rocks beat them by a mile in the friendliness department.
 

evemfoster

Songster
5 Years
May 6, 2014
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NE, Wa.
I posted about this recently but need more advice. Our 4 week old silkies are in a sectioned off area in our coop, and in that area there is also a tote brooder with 4 two week olds in it. On the other side of the coop are my 10 week old barred rocks.
I am trying to integrate the 2 week olds with the silkies and it is not going well at all. The silkies immediately start pecking at the babies as soon as I let them out, and the babies screech and run away....so I put them back in their tote. Should I wait a few weeks for the little ones to be bigger and better able to defend themselves? They are Ameraucana and Icelandic....so they will eventually bypass the silkies in size.
Our silkies are also terrified of us, and peck at our hands as soon as we try to touch them. It seems like we have angry silkies! I've always heard silkies are so friendly, but so far, the barred rocks beat them by a mile in the friendliness department.

You do need to keep the different ages apart. Its the pecking order thing. The only exception is chicks hatched by a hen. All ages accept them if their mama is with them.

You can use the same brooder area if you put a divider between the chicks such as a wire screen.

You will need to keep large birds away from small ones. When they are closer in size they will interrogate easily.
 

Erin80

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Apr 16, 2017
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Ok thanks. I will give it maybe a few weeks to let them get bigger and let them get more used to each other.
I don't know about these silkie birds though and their temperament with us....wait and see I guess.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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It's not about size so much as it's about acclimation...understanding chicken behaviors and society is very important to a healthy harmonious flock and pleasant experience for the keeper.

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

It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
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Thanks so much!! I'm pretty new to all this so have been reading like crazy!
 

Eckielady

Songster
Feb 12, 2017
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East Tennessee
Wow, that's definitely crazy about the silkies. I think I would be selling them and trying again with new ones. I have two silkie hens and two silkie chicks. The two hens went broody together and in all my time messing with them while they sat I only got pecked once.

They're not generally aggressive like that.
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
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They are mystery birds right now because they are only 4 weeks old....but that would be an unfortunate straight run if I ended up with all cockerels!!
 

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