Can't we all just get along???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ScratchesWithChickens, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. ScratchesWithChickens

    ScratchesWithChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2009
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    My girls just won't get along! Some background:

    I currently have 7 chickens. 3 of them are 6 month old OEGB x Silkie (supposedly) hens. 3 others are 4 month old pullets of different breeds. Buff brahma bantam, SLW and golden phoenix. The last and littlest is a millefleur d'Uccle pullet of an age somewhere between the two other groups. She hangs out with the younger group. My older hens still have not warmed up to the newer girls. I've had them all since they were only a few days old. We tried introducing the younger ones by putting a bit of chicken wire around a small section of the yard for them to hang out in while the older girls became accustomed to them. Their aggression did not abate. We started to suspect that keeping them apart during free ranging could be part of the problem. So we took the chicken wire down. This was when the chicks were still being kept inside while their new feathering came in. I know that the pecking order needs to be established and I'm ok with that. But when feathers and blood are drawn, I can't help but step in. I painstakingly hold off on interfering until then. They soon grew and we needed to put them in the coop with the others but the older group was still being malicious towards them. Neither my boyfriend nor I could bear the thought of going to let the chickens out and finding our precious tiny silly-fleur mangled. We put up a chicken wire partition in the coop fearing the worst and hoping that living with each other would lessen the aggression over time. So here I am, still trying to keep the peace. What should I do?
     
  2. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

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    Cross Lanes, WV
    do they have enough room? How many chickens per square foot in the coop? Are they bored, try giving them something to keep them occupied, a big pile of hay or leaves, a couple of heads of cabbage hanging etc.
     
  3. ScratchesWithChickens

    ScratchesWithChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2009
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    The coop is 4'x5', housing 5 bantams and 2 standard sized chickens. The fighting occurs when they are all out free ranging, as there is a chicken wire wall separating them in the coop. I would like to be able to take the wall out but I want to know that they will all be good to each other. There is plenty of space for the younger chickens to run away in the yard and they do, but if they venture too close or get cornered the older girls will latch onto the chicken (usually the d'Uccle or brahma) and peck them viciously. They can be relentless... Is my fantasy of one happy family just wishful thinking?
     
  4. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    They might be working on establishing a pecking order during the day when they're outside together, then when they get back in they're separated for the night, and when they go back out the next day the whole process has to start all over again.

    That's just a theory.

    I think you're right stepping in when it gets bloody, but that also means the process has to start again, and it causes a vicious cycle sort of thing.

    You might try separating them for good for a good three or four months -- outta sight, outta mind. Then try this:

    Introduce the big girls to the little girls, one at a time on the little girls' territory. That way the little girls have an advantage, and the big ones are off balance. You might try -- oh -- one intro per week. It's painstaking and time consuming, but if it works you're good.

    Good luck. I know it's heartbreaking when you want Eden and they want a war. (Kinda makes you think of what God must feel. . . .[​IMG])
     

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