Barnyard bullies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Remudamom, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Remudamom

    Remudamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Right now in one coop I am keeping five young D'uccles with about a dozen different laying breeds that are much younger. The D'uccles terrorize the others and keep them very stressed. I've begun putting the Ds in a big pen in the coop at night and putting them out in the daytime so they'll leave the others alone.

    The layers that are being terrorized are going to be much bigger than the Ds when they grow. Will the bullying end or will the Ds continue to be the boss?

    They have to share a coop. My other coop is devoted to my silkies. This is the reason I got rid of my two guineas. I was sick and tired of their attitude towards the chickens. I only had three that would stand up to them.

    Any ideas? I'd like to keep the D'uccles but I like a peaceful coop.
     
  2. Remudamom

    Remudamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Anyone?
     
  3. toddreed

    toddreed Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Mixing adult birds with not fully grown pullets is usually a bad idea. If the younger birds are at least 5 months old, you're probably ok and will have to just let them work it out on their own.

    In general there is always some bickering between birds, especially of different ages. A little jabbing here and there is no big deal as long as you don't see blood drawn and all the birds are getting access to food water etc.

    The best thing that you can do really, is ensure that all resources your birds need are available in abundant supply so that they don't feel like they need to fight over them. They will compete over food, water, run space, roosting space, and laying boxes if any of these things are being rationed. Happy birds don't squabble much. There is "chicken math", or "chicken architectual code" for each of these categories and you should always follow the rule and with extra measure if need be.

    For example, right now, in one of my flocks I've introduced some new birds and now have 12 hens sharing 2 laying boxes and I really should have 3 or 4 boxes for that many hens (the rule is one box for 3 to 4 hens). I'm in the process of building a new coop with integrated boxes for them so for the time they're sharing close quarters. Yesterday morning I noticed one of the older, bigger birds literally attacking and pulling one of the 6 month old hens out of the laying box while she was laying an egg. Very traumatic to watch, but I'm sure the problem will go away when I have 4 laying boxes in the new coop.

    hope that helps,
    -todd
     

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