Chicken Dojo - FIGHT!


9 Years
Aug 30, 2011
Boy I tell you. And I shall!

I had my micro flock of four (a Dominque, BR, and 2 EE's) for 2 years now. We recently (August) got three new babies to add in to the flock (RIR, 2 SS). So we had our babies inside while the big girls were outside, then at three weeks, we moved the babies into an adjacent coop outside so the big girls could see them but not get at them. Peace was still common place.

So at a month old, we started doing meet and greets (something I read about on another chicken keeper's site) where I stood out there with the babies for 20 minutes as they walked around, letting the other girls see them, but not fly into an attack. The only older girl who seemed to care was the BR, who is the bottom bird and dying to show she's not on the bottom anymore.

Things seemed to go well... but as I sat outside daily with the babies, I began to notice small little things that let me know all was not the same in the original four. The bottom bird was getting a little more bold, the middle birds were arguing and necking with their chests puffed out, the top bird was getting nipped here and there... and then the clencher. My dominant hen (Dominique) charged me when I shooed her from the babies. Oh it was funny to see this little chicken think she was going to dominate me in all of the brewing pecking order chaos, so I snatched her up and flipped her to where her feet were up in the air, told her "NO" then set her down and chased her off. Of course all the other hens looked as if they had seen God come down from the sky to smite their savior. This was two weeks ago.

No one has messed with *me* since - until today. They won't mess with the babies, they know I'll come chase after them, but they've been ramping up the disagreements little by little. I come outside today and gently push my dominant out of the way of the door so I could come outside without stepping on her. Now, I have scooted her before, never been a big deal. So I'm walking along and I feel a little peck on my shoe. It's common for them to use my shoes as napkins, so I think nothing of it until a second, harder one. I look down to see the dominant puffed and ready to fight my shoe. HAHAHA! I push her back and she does her puffed up growl (you know, the pseudo pigeon sound they make when they're about to throw down).

I snatched her up again, gave her a stern what for, and gave her a great panic when I stomped and chased her down. My other ladies are there staring hard at this new pecking order being established before their eyes. If the had jaws, they would have been hanging them open... then of course gossiping. ("Did you see what just happened to Joy?" "Oh I know! She was dominated by the giant food dispenser!" "I'm just glad it wasn't me...") Of course, Joy was suddenly ultra polite and motoring to get out of my way, all while the other girls decided to test their might against Joy, too. You know, give her a little nibble on the butt to see if this was, indeed, as good as it seemed.

I love my girls, don't get me wrong. I love watching how they interact, how everyone gets along, but this is really, really something special. These four were my first, so I've never added new girls into the mix until now - it's a whole other side I had never seen. Of course Joy gets a reprieve for her moodiness since things are up in the air (though she won't be given any tolerance for fighting me), but what a thing to watch... when the pecking order is shifting and everyone is starting to jostle for position. All new for me!

For now, the babies are 1.5 months old, so we have a while to go before they're out free ranging with the big girls on a permanent basis... I imagine it's only going to get worse before it gets better.
I honestly have to say... I love chickens... even when they're slightly out of their minds.

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