help needed New to chickens


6 Years
Sep 15, 2013
We bought 4 chickens today - 2 red hens, 2 juveniles - a bantam and Rhode island red - both much smaller than red hens. We put them in the pen and the red hens are terrorising the other 2 - Pulling at them, nicking them etc.. Is this normal? We are new to chickens - should we separate or will it calm down. I am worried they will get hurt/killed thanks
Welcome to BYC.
There will always be some pecking to establish a pecking order. If you have space the issues are lessened as they can get away. More space is always good when introducing new flock mates. There is also a matter of maturity between the two pairs. A separation period where they can see each other through wire is a good idea.
Here's a link that could help:
Separate them again if it gets really bad. I mean when there is blood. That's never a good thing. It can make them peck more.

Otherwise it should be much better in a few days. But pecking is normal.

If you don't want pecking in the future. Keep only chickens who hatched together. The same breed is best. Always have plenty of room at the feeding trough, and lots of room in general. And never keep more than one rooster.

There will always be a pecking order. But sometimes a look will do the trick and they wont peck, But sometimes a molt or some hen coming back from being broody can start a new fight for the hierarchy.

If your red hens are hybrids like isa brown. They are known for being friendly towards humans, but rather mean towards newcomers. Especially from another breed.
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Thanks for the replies. We bought the 4 today 2 from one breeder and 2 from another. They are all in house now settled. So tomorrow should we separate through the mesh or just leave them and see how it goes? Smaller 2 will probably be afraid to come out
How old they are make a bit of difference on what you do. If the younger ones are under 12 weeks the size and maturity difference is large when the older ones are laying age. If that is the case separation is what I would do for a few weeks.
Thanks so much I am not sure how old the smaller ones are. the older 2 have just started laying but the smaller too will lay from around december. my husband put the dog pen in to the coop today so the smaller two are separated and we will slowly integrate - over what time would be best?
By the way...

and it is called "The pecking order" and it is just there way of, well you could say ranking there self's. but if you start seeing blood i would say it is time to atach a smaller chicken yard to the side of that one and put the small ones in the little yard.
Well if the younger ones are at laying age in December then they aren't to long from the brooder, say seven or eight weeks. Give them a week or two in the crate. Then open the crate while your there to watch. Most likely they will stick near the crate at first. Since the coop is new to both pairs and they have seen each other there as part of the environment from the start there shouldn't be much trouble. If there is more then the peck tor two to tell them to their place you can put them back for another spell. If they have space to get away it goes better. Leave the crate in there for them to use as their space for a few weeks.
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