Aggression within flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Orcae, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Orcae

    Orcae Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2011
    I have 5 silkies and a silkie x serama cross that I want to live together, but they're having aggression problems. I don't know all of their genders yet. Some of these pictures are old, but I don't have more recent ones at the moment.

    Blue, a hen:
    [​IMG]

    Garth, the silkiexserama cross rooster:
    [​IMG]

    Terk:
    [​IMG]

    Halyn:
    [​IMG]

    Kiara:
    [​IMG]

    Phoenix (believed to be male)
    [​IMG]


    Kiara constantly harasses Terk, and occasionally goes after Blue as well.
    None of the others seem to have problems.

    A few minutes ago, I introduced Garth to them for the first time. Kiara immediately went for him, bit his waddle, and tried to rip it off. He's twice Kiara's size...but that wasn't a deterrence. So I removed Kiara and watched his behavior with the others. He stomped at the babies once or twice, but seemed fine otherwise. Blue seemed to be in LOVE with him, and he tolerated it, but eventually bit her topknot and pulled her around by it. I removed him after and put him back in his cage, and put Kiara back in the big cage with the others.

    My mother says they'll always have squabbles for dominance, but she said they'd stop once they established a pecking order. The 5 fullbloods have been together for weeks, and Kiara wont let up on poor Terk.
    Was Garth's aggression towards Blue a dominance thing? Where my mother would leave them alone and let them sort things out, I step in before they can hurt each other. I just cant watch them do stuff like that.
    When they're big enough, the silkies will go in the big outdoor enclosure with my two polish hens and one polish roo. If Garth doesn't get along with them, he'll have his own outdoor enclosure. If Kiara doesn't stop his/her harassment, s/he will have to be rehomed, because we don't have enough room outside to make too many more individual enclosures. [​IMG]
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Your mother is right. They will squabble and fight until each bird knows its place in the hierarchy. This is important for a flock to become the cohesive unit that it must become. By constantly inserting yourself into the birds' business you are preventing this from happening. You need to stay out of pecking order issues. The only thing that interfering does is prolong the fighting. Try to stay uninvolved as much as possible. Only step in if someone is bleeding. If someone is bleeding then the fighting is getting out of hand, and then you need to start separating birds.

    Good luck.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I KNOW it's hard to watch, but I agree that unless feathers are being ripped out, or unless a comb/wattle is made to bleed, that it's usually best to let them try to work things out. If possible, let them free range (even if that's in a fenced yard) together for an hour or two a day. That way there's not a territorial issue. But if it's a case of a few of them being cockerels, that may be another issue.
     
  4. Orcae

    Orcae Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2011
    Well, I talked to my mother about it, and she said I shouldn't have even introduced Garth to them. [​IMG] I don't know how she expects them to ever be able to live together if I don't introduce them, but I guess it doesn't matter.

    What of Kiara's aggression? How long does it take for them to sort things out? I've never had a chicken harass another one for so long before. Its been weeks, and Kiara still attacks Terk several times a day without fail.
     
  5. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Madison, CT
    Quote:This is very common and every flock goes through the "pecking order".
    There are things you can do to help introduce them. Like putting one in a wire cage in a pen so they can see each other, get use to each other, but not hurt each other.
    Integrating chickens is always difficult and hard for us to sit through.
    Like many people are saying its normal and has to be established so stay out of it as much as you can unless one is bleeding or injured.
    Once they see blood they will peck the victim to death.
    Sometimes it takes 1-2 weeks to establish pecking order, but once its establish the squabbling is thin to none.

    You also may want to consider that some of your other silkies may be roo's (silkies are notorious for being hard to sex/tell the gender of) which can cause some problems like fighting or overbreeding with the hens.
    If you see a chicken trying to jump on another chickens back and/or grab a feather from the top of its head, its probably trying to mate, which can look like aggression.

    There are lots of helpful threads on "Integration", you should check out.
    You can do this by typing in the search bar in the top right corner.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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