Cant we all just get along??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MydearWatson, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    Hi! [​IMG]

    I have 4 eight week old chicks (1 roo/3 hens) and last week I added another 8 week old hen. She obviously wound up at the bottom of the order and they are still kind of picking on her, wont let her eat, etc. Most of the time it is fine but the worst is when they go to roost at night. They are pretty mean to her. When is this going to work itself out? Will there always be pecking and squawking? The other four are brooder mates and get along fine, just a very rare little reminder peck to keep the order. They all freerange together while my newbie is kind of on her own. Is this normal? the poor little thing jumps into my arms every time I open the coop door and cant wait to be let out in the morning. Im just wondering if I should be expecting things to get better or should I just get used to it?
  2. CCFarms9559

    CCFarms9559 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2010
    Jeffersontown, Ky
    It took way longer than I thought it would. After a few weeks they were pretty much getting along - but it was months before they all treated each other the same. Hard when you add only one too - the new one get's all the grief from the others....
  3. Delta2 23

    Delta2 23 Flock Master

    Sep 4, 2008
    Oh, that's very normal: when we introduced two ducks... good grief, their heads were almost empty of feathers from the pecking, the poor things couldn't run very fast, and the chickens used to crap on them from the roosts.

    Partly the reason we set them free when they were old enough.

    Then we got the two younger chicks: good grief all over again. You would not believe the squawking that came from the coop before old evil Feathers passed on: 24/7, they would not make friends. We had to scatter food in three different places to even hope of achieving anything remotely resembling peace.

    I think it's definitely a natural thing [​IMG]
  4. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    i had 11 4-week old light sussex in my brooder, and had added several day-old chicks i pulled from the hens. they all did fine, aside from the walking through the little chicks (walking, running at an insect, doing anything like the little chick wasn't there and it would get pushed over). of course, the older guys were first at the food dish, and the day olds (i call them day olds, but i put one in each day that had hatched, they were all different ages) were standoffish and wouldn't get in there. after a couple days, they were diving under the big guys to get at the food, and had learned to walk between the legs of the big guys.

    everything was going fine, until one with some coloration was added (every one of them were sussex- light or coro; then one of the banty eggs hatched, and the banty hen is brown). the new guy had a brown spot on its head that the others couldn't resist trying to help him get off. being a smaller chick in addition to him having just dried off, it was time for the big guys to go.

    so, i put the big guys out with the teenagers (3-4 month olds). well, the bigger guys aren't bothering them too much, as they've got issues of their own to deal with (currently working out their own pecking order and testosterone issues).

    now, my old folks, the sussex rooster, hens and their banty companion/pet (the hens brood/incubate her with the eggs/chicks; all you see is her head coming out of the hen's wing) will tear one of the teens up if they're in their run/coop. BUT, if the little guys get out of their own fenced area, it's like a DMZ and a free-for-all. they'll (year-and-a-half-olds and teens) eat and graze the grass and bugs without bothering each other.

    long story short, my believe is that it has to do not only with pecking order and adding newbs in, but also with territory.

    if you were able to section a small area off just for the new guys where they were separated from the existing chickens, and left them separated for a while, i wonder if when allowed to co-mingle, if having territories of their own to retreat to, would help?

    just a theory, don't act on this and blame me when things go wrong, i have not done this myself, and have no idea what would happen. just a thought [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  5. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    If at all possible, I would try to add another pullet (or two) with her. The existing flock can be pretty brutal to a single newbie, but often do better when a few are added at a time. [​IMG]
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    N&MSchroeder :

    If at all possible, I would try to add another pullet (or two) with her. The existing flock can be pretty brutal to a single newbie, but often do better when a few are added at a time. [​IMG]

    Agreed. They will be brutal to one, but if there are 2 or 3, the abuse is evened out as they can't focus on just one.​

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