adding birds/ pecking order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KellyandKatie, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    so I have four banties (that I thought were sweet, now they look like rambos ) one roo and three hens ( seramas, a sebright and a banty cochin)
    I got two adult hens a maran and a australorp
    I was worried the big standard sized hens would beat up my banties- NOPE
    my banties are beating the snot of the big hens
    and are not stopping
    is this pecking order- or are they just .. ummm
    I have them separated again right now- they are just attacking the big birds heads and the big birds were just sticking their heads out the cage walls trying to escape the beating
    so.... ummm...
    what does a normal pecking order establishing look like?
    is it this brutal?
    what are some signs of normal pecking order stuff
    and what are signs of I am going to peck you to death - you are threatening my hens and I will kill you (says the banty roo- and his hens join in on the pecking)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Some pecking order issues can be brutal. As long as no blood is drawn, it is usually OK. Some things that can help.

    If you can, house them next to each other for a few days, separated by wire so they can see each other but where they cannot attack each other.

    Provide as much space as you can when you introduce them. This reduces encroachment into personal space and gives the weaker ones a chance to get away.

    You can distract them with treats when you introduce them or add toys to distract them, maybe hang something shiny for them to peck at or give them something to climb on and explore.

    Provide separate feeding and watering places. Sometimes the dominant ones will not let the new ones eat or drink.

    If you can, try to put them in the coop together at night so they wake up together. But don't leave them locked in the coop together after they wake up. You have to be there to let them out and observe.

    Watch and see who starts the fight. Usually there are one or two instigators. The others just follow. If you can introduce the new chickens to the more mellow chickens first, keeping the instigator separated, you take the dominant one down some and sometimes reduce the severity of the pecking order issues.

    No matter what you do, there will be pecking order issues.

    It's not the size of the chicken in the fight, but the size of the fight in the chicken.
  3. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    thank you for taking the time to respond- very helpful!
    I did like you said- they each have their own night boxes that they are locked up in, and then a community coop, and community huge yard that they free range in. So, they were locked up at first were they could see eachother, but not touch eachother, after a few days when the newbies could be trusted with free range, they all went out together in the big yard- plenty of room to get away, and multiple food and water sources- the two hens are sticking to themselves, and the banties still bully them away from food dishes- but I dont worry about them killing each other now-
    I think the sebright and cochins are the instigators... they might get craigslisted to restore flock harmony here- maybe they will be down further in the pecking order in someone else's flock
    thank you again for all the great tips
    I added more distractions in the community coop as well- but they spend most of their time in the yard now, and then nights in separate night boxes

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