Chicken Gangs vs. Pecking Order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by THeINK, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. THeINK

    THeINK In the Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2009
    So Im still kinda new to the chicken seen, my first flock was kidnapped by the neighbors cat after 1 month. My second flock was attacked by my dads dumb dog at 2 months, leaving only 1 survivor, we named him/her "solo".

    We bought 4 more chicks that looked about a month or so old to keep Solo company. Then eventually we bought 7 more chicks as hatchlings and kept them in the brooder indoors for about 3 months while the first patch stayed in the coop which kinda acted like a brooder outside.

    When we finally took the inside chicks outside the older ones pecked them all. The older flock looks to be mostly rooster 3 more than likely and 2 could go either way. The baby flock looks to be mostly pullets, maybe a roo or two.

    The older flock is really mean, they hogs all three feedrs and water bowls, and the roost!

    Among the older flock of roos there doesnt appear to be an alpha, they wrestle(fight) everyonce in awhile but nothing to serious.

    So are they mean because theyve been outside for about a month more and think they own the yard. or is it just because theyre "GUYS"? Is there anything I can do? Split them up? Keep some in the coop? Why cant they all just get along [​IMG]
     
  2. THeINK

    THeINK In the Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2009
    Oh and as far as the older flock, theyre 2barred Cochins, 1 silver phoenix, and an Minorca(if they come in bantam) and I thinka GL Wyandotte, theyre about 4 1/2 months, the minorca crows the most, and once of the cochins everyonce in awhile...but Im not sure if the cochins are roos they look identical but only one of them crows... the rest of the birds have "roo" characteristics as far as RED big combs and waddles but have yet to crow.

    I read in a post that pullets sometimes crow in the abscence of a rooster, could this have anything to do with my pecking order issue? would a pullet challenge a roo? ...there really doesnt look to be a "leader"
     
  3. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Songster

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    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    Put some obstacles in the coop that younger ones can hide behind, jump onto and run around while evading attacks from the other chickens.

    ***Always be sure no blocked-off or dead-end areas are created where chickens could get cornered.***

    Sacks of feed, buckets, additional perches, trash cans, etc. can be useful.

    Window frames (with either glass or wire in the middle) leaned against things can also be excellent for a flee-er to run behind and be protected yet be able to keep track of aggressor's travels. Window frames are even better if you can nail them so they are stand vertically and are at 90 degree angle to the wall. Then a fleeing chicken can also have the option to jump up and perch on the top edge to escape, and pursuer can't immediately chase him if he jumps down on the opposite side.

    Lower-ranking chickens also appreciate shadowy, cluttered areas where they can hang out and not be noticed as much.

    It helps to put food & water in some of these areas so less-dominant chickens still get plenty to eat and drink.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  4. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Songster

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    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    By the way, usually whatever chickens "were there first" or are oldest, will be mean to newcomers.

    It helps to let them live side-by-side (such as on opposite sides of fence or wire screen) for a while before actually putting them together. Then they can see each other, posture and squawk at each other, and figure each other out. But they are prevented from being able to be able to hurt each other. You can start putting them together after a few days or a couple weeks.

    The way I do this is by having 2 sides to my coop--each with a door to outside. I keep the old chickens on 1 side & let them out to free-range during the day, & they lose interest in staying in and trying to harass the newbies through the wire divider. After a few days, I keep the old chickens in, & let just the new ones out for 2 or 3 days to get familiar with the territory. I let the new ones out again the next day, and close to the end of the day I let the old ones out to join them. Then their first encounter is where there is lots of room to run away. Having the old and new chickens used to re-entering the coop thru separate doors seems to help minimize squabbling, too. After a few days of both groups free-ranging at same time, I start leaving the inside center door between the 2 sides of the coop open so the chickens can mix inside also, and they gradually work out a peaceful pecking order.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009

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