BIGGER CHICKENS PECKING SMALLER ONES

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicology, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. chicology

    chicology New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2014
    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.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I think I would separate them until they are closer in size.
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    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.
     
  4. Tripp16

    Tripp16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2011
    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.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    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
     
  6. chicology

    chicology New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2014
    harford co. maryland
    Thank you, there are some great thoughts. I just wasn't sure on what to do. I sectioned off part of the pen and its working great. Hope they can mingle soon.


    [​IMG]
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Could take as long as 3-4 weeks....
     
  8. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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!
     
  9. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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.
     
  10. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    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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