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  1. elliotemery

    elliotemery Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2014
    How long Should the it for there to be a pecking order because when I let them back out this morning my old chicken wouldn't let the new chicken feed and the new one keeps running up to the coop
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are your chickens and how many do you have? It sounds like you may have only two.

    If all the chickens are fully mature they should work out the pecking order in a few days. Size is not important but maturity is.

    If the old chickens are mature and the new ones are immature, it can take a while. Mature chickens always outrank immature chickens in the pecking order. It is generally considered bad chicken etiquette for a lower ranking chicken to invade the personal space of a higher ranked chicken. Not all of them do it but it is perfectly normal for a higher ranking chicken to peck or otherwise intimidate a lower ranking chicken when personal space is invaded. It’s not a case of establishing the pecking order. That is established by maturity. It’s a matter of enforcing their pecking order rights.

    Another tactic to enforce the pecking order rights is to intimidate the younger by not allowing them access to food or water. When integrating, it is a good idea to have separate feeding and watering stations so the lower ranked can eat and drink without challenging the more mature chickens.

    Chickens are social animals and are drawn to be near each other. If you have a few of each age, they can be content to form separate flocks and just stay separated until the younger ones mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. If you only have one of either age they may be drawn together yet the older can still be quite vicious in enforcing the pecking order rights. They should work it out over time without serious injury but it can be pretty unpleasant for a while. That’s why it is normally a good idea to add more than one at a time, so they can have company while they are maturing.

    Good luck!
     

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