BIGGER CHICKENS PECKING SMALLER ONES

chicology

Hatching
5 Years
Aug 1, 2014
2
0
7
harford co. maryland
I have 8 four month old chickens. 3 Americana, 2 cucko marans, 2 favorelle, and 1 wyandotte. They get along great with each other.

I have 5 newer chicks that are 7 weeks old. The size difference between them is unbelievable. The new ones are matching breeds if that makes a difference.

I just started introducing them two days ago and it didn't go well. All the bigger chickens peck at them. I don't know what to do. Should I separate them longer or let them work it out.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,626
31,987
1,092
On the MN prairie.
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I think I would separate them until they are closer in size.
 

iwiw60

Crowing
5 Years
Jan 27, 2014
5,291
660
336
Central Oregon
I have 8 four month old chickens. 3 Americana, 2 cucko marans, 2 favorelle, and 1 wyandotte. They get along great with each other.

I have 5 newer chicks that are 7 weeks old. The size difference between them is unbelievable. The new ones are matching breeds if that makes a difference.

I just started introducing them two days ago and it didn't go well. All the bigger chickens peck at them. I don't know what to do. Should I separate them longer or let them work it out.
You must definitely separate the two flocks asap! Try to have it set up so that they can see each other and intereact somewhat, but cannot get at each other. This will most likely take anywhere from 3-6 weeks. When you do allow them to mingle be there constantly and watch them like a hawk. An occasional 'peck' to establish the pecking order will happen, but if it gets out of control or gets bloody, separate them once again. Once it turns bloody it's down hill from there.
 

Tripp16

Songster
8 Years
May 26, 2011
1,946
10
141
North Carolina
Hi!

Yes, definitely separate the two flocks. The problem you are having is your older hens already have a established pecking order. That pecking order does not include those new babies. They see them as smaller food eating machines who steal their food and space.

It is always difficult when bringing in new hens to other hens. Hens can be gruesome. I have a flock of Russian orloffs who would probably kill another hen if I tried to put them in there. They are MEAN.

Anyways, my advice to you is, if you have a way of separating the younger flock to where the bigger hens can see them but not touch them or harass them that would be best. After a few weeks they will be used to seeing each other and eventually won't even notice they are there. After about a week maybe 2 weeks slowly let them out with the other hens supervise them. Only like 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Eventually the older hens will get bored.

There will always be tiffs. Chickens fight like any other animal just make sure they aren't going in to kill. Generally after a while things settle down its just the first few days that are tough.

Good luck! Hope I helped out some at least.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
93,925
122,736
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:


Integration of new chickens to flock.


Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search



Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

nayeli

Songster
6 Years
Jan 18, 2014
1,988
108
196
I have 8 four month old chickens. 3 Americana, 2 cucko marans, 2 favorelle, and 1 wyandotte. They get along great with each other.

I have 5 newer chicks that are 7 weeks old. The size difference between them is unbelievable. The new ones are matching breeds if that makes a difference.

I just started introducing them two days ago and it didn't go well. All the bigger chickens peck at them. I don't know what to do. Should I separate them longer or let them work it out.
I would seperate them until they are all around the same size. The older ones can easily kill the little ones, and its not really a fair fight!
 

LanceTN

Chirping
5 Years
Aug 31, 2014
189
16
68
Wait till night and your chickens are sleeping. Then put the new birds in the coop. Make sure food is plentiful when they wake up to decrease competition. Let them work out the pecking order.
 

iwiw60

Crowing
5 Years
Jan 27, 2014
5,291
660
336
Central Oregon
Wait till night and your chickens are sleeping. Then put the new birds in the coop. Make sure food is plentiful when they wake up to decrease competition. Let them work out the pecking order.
I disagree...the younger ones are way too small compared to the established flock. What the OP has done is a good solution for now. They should be separated as she has done. Establishing the pecking order is one thing, getting attacked to being bloody is another...from there it'll be downhill all the way.
 

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