Do they need a reason to peck each other?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Knock Kneed Hen, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I'm really bothered by finding one of my two 6 week pullets pecked to the point that she was literally scalped.

    The two chicks had been integrated into the flock for 3 weeks already. They were all out together free ranging
    just prior to my putting them in. I went down about an hour later to lock the coop up when I discovered the chick.

    I have lots of places in the run that I set up for the chicks to get away from the hens if they needed to, including a
    creep. I had left the two chicks in the creep, but when I went to lock them up this one had somehow managed to

    Is this something I need to worry about every time chicks get hatched out? Makes me think I should have raised them
    indoors. Would have avoided this and the result is the same because now I have pullets in a cage in the garage.

    Still....I keep asking myself, why did they decide to go after her after they had been doing just fine together?
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    How old are the chicks?

    In my experience, integrating gets easier for both the babies and the hens each time you do it. I do have a couple of culprits that bully everyone - she comes into the coop and everyone scatters type of thing.

    Another thing I never noticed until I got rid of the main rooster in one of my flocks is that integrating with a good rooster is priceless. They help protect the babies and don't allow fighting. But I have integrated both with and without a roo.

    I did have one chick that was pecked to the point of blood - it was because he couldn't get away. I found him in the corner of the run with his head under the fence. He couldn't roost and I discovered later that he didn't see very well.

    Edited to clarify, by "chick" I'm meaning 12-13 week old.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Sadly enough they do not need a reason to peck each other-- it's chicken nature. The pecking order is an constant flux and part of the dynamics is that big chickens pick on smaller or weaker chickens. Generally it is recommended that young birds should not be introduced to the flock until they are as large as the flockmates.

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