Better to break up fights or let them sort it out?


11 Years
Dec 13, 2010
We're getting closer to the time we'll have to integrate our 15-week-old new group (4 pullets and 1 cockerel) with the 11 1-year old hens in the main coop. We've introduced them a few times on "neutral ground" free ranging out in the yard. There were a few squabbles, in particular between the dominant hen in the older group and the rooster in the younger group. One fight looked like it was getting serious, but then the hen stopped and squatted for him (he's too young to know what to do next!). It sounds to me like that's exactly how it's supposed to work, but I'm still very new at this! I don't want any of the girls (or boy) to get hurt, but I understand they need to establish the new pecking order. Should I step in and stop every fight, or only if it looks like someone's at risk of an injury?

Thanks very much! Don
You are on the spot and will have to make that decision. I almost always let them go unless they draw blood. I have a lot of room, basically free range, so the loser can run away if he/she wants to. I do think lots of space helps.

Some people hang around with a water hose and squirt the aggressive one. Some people get really upset at any aggression whatsoever, but they call it the pecking order for a reason. You can expect some pecking. It is very possible there will be fights. Usually they sort it out withiout any getting seriously hurt, but occasionally it does get out of hand. Each flock is different. It sounds like yours was not going too bad.

Good luck!
Well THAT'S a good sign, that your lead hen did submit to the young roo. I agree that it's better (although harder - for me at least) to not interfere unless blood is drawn. Wishing you a smooth integration
Good luck! I hope it goes well for you, I'm going to be having the same issue someday and am very nervous about the whole issue. Please post on how it goes!
I also have a question on new rooster squabbles. I have 6 meat birds I hatched out around July 4th. They free ranged today for the first time. They are now back in their hutch and run locked in for the night and I noticed 3 roosters (I assume) getting into a fight. I've never seen a 3 way fight before. It doesn't look like any 1 is getting picked on but they are all fighting each other. From reading the posts I should let them sort it out unless I see blood. I was planning on having the chickens processed at 16 weeks. They are mixed heritage laying breeds - barred rocks, americauna, speckled, austrolorps. I'm not able to separate them as I already have a flock of layer birds in another area. If you have any advice on 3 way rooster fights please let me know. thanks - I'm new to hatching out chicks and new to raising meat birds.

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