Babies being bullied

Bonnieboo

In the Brooder
Apr 2, 2018
9
27
38
Hi folks I hope you can help me.
I have two chooks, one large (I mean huge) and one petite. Two weeks ago I introduced three month-old chicks and Harriet (large) continues to chase and peck at them. She was eating their food but we built a cage only they can fit into which stopped that. They are terrified of her and it seems never to end. How long will she bully them for? It's making me miserable as well as them.
 

nuthatched

It's Soup Season!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 9, 2019
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Rim Country, Az
It's part of the pecking order.
When you introduced them, did you keep the new chickens in an area so they could see each other but not touch ? Put them separately that they can see each other but not get at.
 

Bonnieboo

In the Brooder
Apr 2, 2018
9
27
38
Yes I did separate them. However I'm a bit stuck as to keeping them apart as we are coming into the Australian summer and the chook house is hot during the day.
I can only let them out into the larger, caged yard if I kick out the other chooks out to free range. I can't keep doing this and don't they eventually have to live together? Surely they need to interact to develop the pecking order but Harrriet will not stop chasing them. I'm very sad.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
What does their pen look like? How many feeders and waterers do you have? Are there places the little ones can get out of sight from the big one?
x2. Any photos of their coop and run? Having ample hiding spots for the little ones makes a big difference.

Bullying is to be expected when integrating new birds. It can be pretty brutal but as long as no one is attacked to the point of injury or stopped from eating I personally don't intervene.
 

abpatchy

Crowing
May 1, 2012
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Chicks without a mother will be bullied for a long time! You need to find a way to seperate them. Maybe in view of the adults so they can get used to them.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
Mar 15, 2010
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On the MN prairie.
Chicks without a mother will be bullied for a long time! You need to find a way to seperate them. Maybe in view of the adults so they can get used to them.
At 3 months old, the mother would typically have pushed them away by now anyway. I can actually be easier to integrate them at a younger age. I believe @aart does it when they’re 4-5 weeks old.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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howdyitsmia

Chirping
May 23, 2020
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Utah, United States
Hi folks I hope you can help me.
I have two chooks, one large (I mean huge) and one petite. Two weeks ago I introduced three month-old chicks and Harriet (large) continues to chase and peck at them. She was eating their food but we built a cage only they can fit into which stopped that. They are terrified of her and it seems never to end. How long will she bully them for? It's making me miserable as well as them.
Wait, are there three month-old chicks? Or are they three months old?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
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Yeah, I'm not sure if they are 3 one-month-old chicks or an unknown number of 1 month olds. Doesn't matter, my response will be the same either way. In Australia this time of year they don't need supplemental heat whichever age they are.

What you describe is pretty normal, at least to a certain extent. Mature chickens outrank immature chickens in the pecking order and are often not shy about enforcing those pecking order rights. What I typically see is that if their personal space is violated they often peck the chick to drive it away. It's bad chicken etiquette for a young one like that to bother its betters. Usually that is as far as it goes. The chicks pretty quickly learn to avoid the older ones.

But sometimes a hen will chase a chick as it runs away, not being satisfied with just pecking it. As long as the chick can get away, either having enough room or being able to run to a place the hen cannot follow, life is OK. How much room they have and how it is set up can be pretty important in this.

I find this to be really rare but you can have a hen that goes out of her way to attack chicks. Personally I've never seen that and I integrate chicks all the time, but enough people I trust on here say they have seen it that I have no doubt it can happen. My suspicion is that how much room they have could play into that but about anything can happen with living animals. It is not always a room issue, sometimes a hen is just a brute.

My goal in these things is that no one gets hurt. They don't have to play together or cuddle up on the roosts together, just no one gets hurt. That other stuff will come later when they all mature.

If we knew more about your space in the coop and outside, how they are set up, and when that outside space is available to them we might be able to offer specific suggestions. As it is I can only come up with generic suggestions. Housing them across wire so they can see but not touch for a week or much more is a good thing. Give them as much room as you can. Quality of what room you have can be improved by giving them places to hide under, behind, or over to break line of sight from the other birds. Widely separated feeding and drinking stations allows all of them to eat and drink. Do not enclose them in small spaces thinking they will work it out. They probably won't, not in a way you'd like. If they want to sleep in separate places and it is not a predator risk, let them. As well as you can let them work things out at their pace.

Many of us go through this all the time. For many of us it's not a big deal, we've worked out our procedures that work with our set-ups. But your situation is different from mine. What I do might not work very well for you. You just need to wok out what will work for you.
 

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