How much do chickens learn behaviour off each other?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 10bob, May 6, 2011.

  1. 10bob

    10bob New Egg

    May 6, 2011
    At the minute we have two groups of chickens that live in different runs. Our garden can't be fenced in and between that and foxes and our neighbours cat which likes killing things, they can't realistically be left to run totally free. A few times a day we let them out for a walk so that we can keep an eye on them, but putting them back can be a pain. The first two chickens we got are brilliant, they stand still and let you put them away (or as they prefer will go running for any treats put in their run) no problems. The new(er) ones are still giving us problems though.

    We've had them almost a year now, theres two light sussex hens (about 1.5 years old?) and a pekin cockerel (less than 1 year). The cockerel was alright to start off with, he would come running to us because he wasn't very confident with the ladies and had no problems being picked up, but after we went on holiday he was a completely different character and has been scared of everyone ever since. The two hens were always nervous but we thought that after a while of us not hurting them and giving them food etc they would calm down, but no such luck. Its getting to the point now where we can't let them out because they won't even go back in for a treat. They have a fairly decent run, but its much nicer for them to be able to go out and have a dust bath etc and they really wind themselves up sometimes when we try to get them in which isn't good for them, so what to do?

    I read somewhere that chickens will pick up on each others behaviour so was thinking of introducing one of the new hens to the two that we have no problems with. Would that realistically make them any more happy around us? They all seem to get on with each other, apart from the new hens wanting to put the older ones in their place (they usually get ignored). We seem to have fluked with the first two hens and having no experience beyond them not sure what to do now. Been trying to feed them by hand etc for a while, but as soon as the foods gone they seem to forget that we're not out to get them!

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas

    They pick up each others behaviors and moods and learn from each other quite well. It's essential that they do for the safety and well-being of the flock.

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