How much pecking is normal?

Doorsopenat5

In the Brooder
Aug 24, 2020
7
4
11
Hi, I’ve been reading a ton about how to integrate new chicks to an existing flock, but wanted to know how much pecking really is to be expected and for how long. (ie- some pecking, not drawing blood; intermittent or consistent; over a day or does it go on for multiple days, etc?). Thank you!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
May 3, 2009
109,901
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It all depends on the temperament of the existing and to some degree on the part of the birds being integrated. Pecking to the point of drawing blood is excessive.
 

MurrayAP

In the Brooder
May 2, 2020
35
56
43
For roosters it's very difficult to have more than one. They often have to be raised together from a young age, need a lot of space, and lots of ladies to choose from or one will likely kill the other eventually.

For hens what's normal would be warning pecks, some chasing, and maybe a few feathers pulled. Usually only lasts a few days until the new birds learn their place in the pecking order.

Drawing blood is excessive, so is unrelenting chasing and stalking. If you see blood the birds should be separated immediately.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
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My Coop
Normal for me is some pecking (especially if food is involved) and intermittent, however it will continue to some degree until the chicks have matured and begun laying. Constant unending harassment, chicks being kept from eating or drinking, or injury to the point of drawn blood I would consider to be not acceptable.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,878
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My Coop
Knowing ages and genders of all birds involved would help here.
Also the more space the better, including spaces to 'hide' away from dominant birds.

How I integrate young chicks:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/

Still following.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Doorsopenat5

In the Brooder
Aug 24, 2020
7
4
11
Thank you all for replying. A couple follow up points- the original chickens are about 16 week old bantams (Mille fleur, polish, frizzle cochin, and Silkie), and the two new ones are about 9 week old standards (Australorp & Silver laced Wyandotte). They are all about the same size now. So, after the initial quarantine month, we let them see each other from afar for about a week, then started putting them in the fenced area separated by chicken wire for about 7-10 days daily. At this point, they are all out together everyday in a large fenced in area, and mostly mind their own business, and occasional chasing and pecking (a few quick times a day) by the older ones, to which the younger ones just run away. Is this behavior about right? Would this be an okay time to fully integrate them to sleep together and get locked up in the coop at night , or should I wait a little longer until there is no chasing or pecking? Also, when we got the bantams, we locked them in the coop only for about a day so they knew it was “home,” and by the second night they started going into the coop at sunset, but don’t know if we should do that with the new ones, since we would then be locking the older ones out during the day? Or just place the new ones in the coop at night? They don’t follow the older ones in, they just stand outside until we go out and bring them to their brooder.
 

jimmy07734

Hatching
Jun 13, 2020
2
0
6
i have 8 all same age all growup at same time one got sick removed from coop an run wen put back in wit the the flok thay piking on her peking at neck is this norm or not pls help ty
 

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