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Holding younger chicks hostage

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by High Prairie, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. High Prairie

    High Prairie Just Hatched

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    Jul 6, 2016
    Kansas
    I have three 4-month-old chicks and six 3-month-old chicks. They all share a large coop with an attached, enclosed run. I introduced the newbies by keeping them in a smaller pen inside the coop for two weeks. The first couple of days that I let them out with the three bigs were brutal, but they get along pretty well now, four weeks later. Everyone roosts together at night. The problem is that the three bigger chickens won't let the others out of the coop. If they step one foot into the run, it's an immediate attack until they high tail it back into the coop. Two of the three bigger birds are roosters, and one in particular is the one who keeps the younger chicks inside the coop. The other rooster has no interest in leading the younger ones, though he does seem to be the boss of the rooster who does control the chicks. For now, I put the younger chicks in a tractor to give them some freedom. I keep thinking that in time, they'll let the others out into the run. But it's been a month, and I'm still waiting! Is this just part of normal adjustment? The three older ones had been established in the coop for about three weeks before I began introducing the younger ones.
     
  2. Chickenmanjim7

    Chickenmanjim7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 16, 2015
    Aberdeen, Washington
    as long as there is no blood being drawn, or the other chickens are holding the young ones down it is perectly normal. Interrupting the pecking order can draw out the process. What breed are your older girls and what breed are the new ones?
     
  3. High Prairie

    High Prairie Just Hatched

    36
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    Jul 6, 2016
    Kansas
    I have a real mix! The three older ones--Barred Plymouth Rock, Copper Maran, and mystery black chicken (I'll have to get a picture of that one at some point and start a thread about what it could possible be!) The six younger ones are four Ameraucana pullets, a Buff Orpington pullet, and a Polish mystery (supposed to be a pullet, but I'm not sure at this point). They haven't drawn any blood yet in any of these skirmishes--only lost a few feathers here and there. The bigger chickens will try to hold them down if they can catch them in the run, but the little ones are quick enough now that they can get back into the coop before it gets too ugly. I'll keep being patient. As a rookie chicken keeper, it's tough to stay on the sidelines and not worry too much. But I'm learning! :) Thanks so much!
     
  4. High Prairie

    High Prairie Just Hatched

    36
    5
    14
    Jul 6, 2016
    Kansas
    I should add that it's the Copper Maran that polices the younger ones. The Barred Rock and the Black chicken aren't really interested in the youngsters at all.
     
  5. Chickenmanjim7

    Chickenmanjim7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    8
    61
    Sep 16, 2015
    Aberdeen, Washington
    She is probably the dominant hen of the group.
     

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