How do I stop older hens from pecking younger ones,: afraid to put them together

maryann momhen

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 24, 2014
118
5
76
new jersey
Hi I have 2 2yr old barred rock hens and 4, 4 mo old pullets, Brahma, Buff Orpington, Australorp, and Rhode island red, I have a huge pen that I keep gated in the middle to keep the older ones from the younger ones, until i feel th older ones will stop pecking the younger ones, or until the younger ones can stand up for themselves. I let them out in the yard together a couple times a day when i can be out with them to keep them safe from hawks. The 2 B.Rs won't stop chasing the younger ones although they are nearly the same size now. They are already kept separate , so isolating them isn't applicable, unless I create a smaller area and one at a time I put them in chickie jail. What I do now is whichever chicken chases or pecks the younger ones, I run after that chicken, kind of like, see how you like it.. she pretends to just be minding her own business and we watch her inch closer and closer to the younger ones, until she makes a sprint for them and pecks ones tail feathers. Sometimes I pick her up and put her in while the others are allowed to free range, but I really wish I could come up with a way to get them to stop bothering the younger ones. I tell her, if you don't peck the others you can all have twice the space. But they don't listen.. lol... they are not stressed, they have plenty of food, plenty of room. My next approach will be to open the gate and if they start pecking at the younger ones inside the run, then close the gate again and maybe they'll make the connection that they can have the run if they behave.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,632
32,008
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Hi I have 2 2yr old barred rock hens and 4, 4 mo old pullets, Brahma, Buff Orpington, Australorp, and Rhode island red, I have a huge pen that I keep gated in the middle to keep the older ones from the younger ones, until i feel th older ones will stop pecking the younger ones, or until the younger ones can stand up for themselves. I let them out in the yard together a couple times a day when i can be out with them to keep them safe from hawks. The 2 B.Rs won't stop chasing the younger ones although they are nearly the same size now. They are already kept separate , so isolating them isn't applicable, unless I create a smaller area and one at a time I put them in chickie jail. What I do now is whichever chicken chases or pecks the younger ones, I run after that chicken, kind of like, see how you like it.. she pretends to just be minding her own business and we watch her inch closer and closer to the younger ones, until she makes a sprint for them and pecks ones tail feathers. Sometimes I pick her up and put her in while the others are allowed to free range, but I really wish I could come up with a way to get them to stop bothering the younger ones. I tell her, if you don't peck the others you can all have twice the space. But they don't listen.. lol... they are not stressed, they have plenty of food, plenty of room. My next approach will be to open the gate and if they start pecking at the younger ones inside the run, then close the gate again and maybe they'll make the connection that they can have the run if they behave.
You're giving them WAY too much credit there! What you're seeing is the "pecking order" in action. They will continue to pick at the younger ones until they feel they have taught them their manners. Separate feeding and watering stations will help, as will hiding places within the run. Lean a piece of plywood or a pallet against the wall of the run. Leave both ends open so a chick can't get trapped by an older one. I integrated mine at 4-5 weeks old using this method. I had one hen who would go after them with purpose and try to attack, pulling out feathers and pecking. The younger ones soon learned to avoid her at all cost. It makes a huge difference when the younger one can get out of sight of an older one. Personally, I would leave them together unless they draw blood.
 

Spartan22

Crowing
Sep 2, 2014
3,672
3,512
452
NE Ohio
2x @bobbi-j. It's pretty much normal until pecking order is established as long as they can get away or hide they will be ok. I got 3 generations of hens in my flock plus 4 few weeks younger than the 3rd gens, I got a Marans that peck on younger ones that get close to her and she's not even the top hen. The top hens they just avoid. Make sure have multiple feeders and waterers.
 

maryann momhen

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 24, 2014
118
5
76
new jersey
Ok , thanks, I kind of felt I might be over protective but, that's just my nature, but thank you for the advice, I thought that maybe I should try it, but I'm just "chicken", but your advice has given me some courage. Thank you!
And @spartan22 I could see if the little ones got "in close" to the big ones, but they steer clear of them, and the big ones go out of their way to sneak up on the little ones.
 
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maryann momhen

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 24, 2014
118
5
76
new jersey
400
I've heard that heritage RIR have a better temperament and are more docile than production reds. Is there a visible difference? I'd just be interested to know which mine is. I could ask the seller, but wondering if i can tell from appearance.
400
 

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