Cockerel won't run when hen pecked.


In the Brooder
Jun 13, 2016
So we have 2 birds 1 RIR and one barred rock both a little over a year old. We got 3 new chicks this year that are now about 8 weeks old. We introduced them to the new hens about a week ago. The adult hens were pretty aggressive and pecked the chicks pretty relentlessly so we set up an area in the coop with food and water that the chicks could get in out of but the Hens couldn't.

So of the 3 chicks 1 seems to be a cockerel. The other 2 female chicks are pretty good at running from the hens to hide under some of the debris we put in the run or just to the other end away from the hens. The cockerel on the other hand tends to just lie down and take it.

Today we found him in one of the corners of the run with a wound in his neck. We have him isolated and are working on cleaning the wound. He's walking eating, and drinking so we think he'll make it.

I just wanted to know if anyone has had similar experiences with pacifist chickens? Any advice on how to reintroduce him to the flock? Any way we can teach this little dude to stick up for himself? Any ideas are welcome.

Thanks in advance,

I am sorry, but I know they are chickens, but if they were our kids---we would NOT allow them to be chased, hurt, etc. My heart hurts for them. I seen enough of what you describing some years back and Now I never Mix the young with the old. With your situation, if it was just one hen doing all the chasing and pecking I would isolate her for a few weeks and let the young chicks have some peace then try introducing her later, but sounds like its more than one. Did you introduce them by putting the chicks in a wire pen in the coop with the older for a week or so---feeding them right at the edge of the cage------so they could see and be around each other but not together?? Some times that works. I hope they do not continue getting chased and pecked relentlessly!!!
The chicks have been in the coop with the bigger birds for about a week and a half. I set up a screened off area, with an opening too small for the bigger birds so the chicks can have respite whenever they want.

It seems to work really well for 2 of the chicks but this one just doesn't know how to run. He just panics and lays down.
Typically, with any animals really, you have to introduce slowly. I currently have two flocks that I will have to integrate later, and luckily I have the ability to have two pens, side by side. This way the birds can see each other, interact without being in direct contact. I plan on having this setup for about a week or two, and then opening the divider between the two areas. We'll see how they go at first, I may allow the younger birds to go back to what they're used to sleeping in (I'm going to use a dog kennel, since its temporary), but within a week of this, I will be making everybody go to sleep in the coop.
Its a slow process, and even though you have an area where your younger birds can get away from the older birds, I feel that you may have rushed things a little.
I feel you've handled your integration acceptably as far as it goes. However, there are two aspects of your chickens' makeup that are working against success. Also there's a possibility space may be a factor here.

One is the age of the older chickens. They are only just out of chick-hood themselves, therefore more apt to bully and terrorize younger chicks. They also have no older chickens to take cues from as far as behavior toward babies.

The other aspect working against success is the temperament of this one cockerel. There isn't much you can do to change basic temperament. He's a timid sort and probably will always lean that way. All you can hope to do is bolster his self confidence so he doesn't present himself as a victim, thus inviting bullying.

Taking these two factors into consideration, I would keep the two age groups separated for a while longer, though still in view of one another. It will hopefully give the cockerel time to become more self confident, while giving the older ones time to grow and mellow out.

Meanwhile, you need to look at your run and see if you have enough space and places where the younger ones are able to evade aggression from the older ones.
Thanks for the advice. We only have the two chickens so I thought there aggressive behavior was normal. I'll have to set up an isolated area for the little dude, once he's recovered. The other two chicks seem to be doing much better with the situation.

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